Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, introduced a bill on Monday that would dramatically simplify the federal student aid application process for certain students.
Scott announced his intentions for the File Once FAFSA Act of 2016 (H.R. 5784) bill during an address to some 2,500 financial aid administrators at the NASFAA National Conference last Monday. The bill would allow dependent undergraduate students who are Pell-eligible to complete a FAFSA only once. The resulting expected family contribution (EFC) would carry forward to the student’s remaining years, until completion of a baccalaureate.
In lieu of a FAFSA, the student would need to submit a certification that shows he or she is still a dependent student, and that asks whether his or her need and eligibility for aid have changed substantially. This process would not preclude professional judgment adjustments. Also, a student could opt to file FAFSAs annually.
“The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) applauds Scott for this important first step towards improving the federal financial aid application process for our nation’s lowest income students,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “Our focus should be on getting low-income students and families the funds they need to successfully enroll and succeed in college, instead of asking them to continually prove their poverty. We look forward to working with him to make sure we’ve identified the right students to benefit from this vital proposal.”
While not the exact same proposal, NASFAA’s FAFSA Simplification Working Group recommendations offer similar reprieve to low-income students who are, or whose parents are, already recipients of certain means-tested programs. For those applicants, the working group recommends requiring only basic demographic information on the form even the first time it is filed. The working group did not address the necessity of filing even a modified FAFSA in succeeding years.
Publication Date: 7/18/2016