"Congress recently approved a handful of measures aimed to make the process of paying for college easier," Money reports.
T"he changes were tucked inside two big funding bills President Trump signed into law in the final days of 2019. None is the sort of sweeping, exciting proposal—such as eliminating public college tuition or canceling student debt—that has made waves recently. But advocates for each say they are concrete steps that will help families saving for college, applying for financial aid, and paying off loans.
Here are the details for each of the changes, including who can benefit and when they’ll take effect.
Families have been able to use the IRS’ Data Retrieval Tool to assist with inputting their tax data into the FAFSA form for years. But the recent change takes that a step further by allowing the IRS to share information directly with the Department of Education. It will also eliminate up to 22 questions on the form.
The new data sharing should capture a larger share of the people applying for financial aid as well, says Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. That’s because there are some families who can’t use the existing Data Retrieval Tool, including married couples who file separately, people who file as head of household, and parents who earn too little income to file a tax return.
Simplifying the FAFSA has been a goal of advocacy groups and lawmakers from both political parties for years, and there have been series of improvements over the past decade. Three years ago, in one of the biggest changes to the process, the Education Department made it easier for families to complete the form by allowing them to use older tax information. This cooperation between two federal agencies is the next step in that series, Draeger says.
'It’s not the end all be all,' he says. 'It’s not the complete FAFSA simplification picture. But it is a major step in that direction.'"
NASFAA's "Notable Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Articles included under the notable headlines section are not written by NASFAA, but rather by external sources. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.
Publication Date: 1/17/2020