Feds to Streamline Infamous Financial Aid Form

Government hopes trimming FAFSA will get more aid to those who need it
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2009 5:49 AM CDT
Advisers at Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. took a record number of calls as families filed the federal student aid application known as the FAFSA this year.   (Photo: Business Wire)
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(Newser) – The White House today will unveil its plan to make it easier for students to get federal aid by cutting the fiendishly complex application down to size, the New York Times reports. The FAFSA—Free Application for Federal Student Aid—is notorious for being harder to fill out than a tax return, leading many parents to pay professionals to fill out its 153 questions, and an estimated 1.5 million students to simply give up.

While Education Secretary Arne Duncan's plan doesn't go as far as his predecessor's, he will nonetheless move to cut more than half the form's questions and allow parents to import information directly from their tax returns—a middle-of-the-road approach many believe will be easier for Congress to swallow. The Obama administration will roll out some changes itself, but is seeking congressional approval for the multi-stage plan.
(Read more Arne Duncan stories.)