Coming Soon! A New Way to Apply for Financial Aid
Every year more than one million students do not complete the form to apply for federal financial aid (FSFSA). Research proves that many of the students who do not complete the form would be eligible to qualify for financial aid and enroll in college.
Why? The form is ten pages long and includes 108 questions. Some families simply cannot or will not take the time to answer all the questions.
In July two senators, introduced a bill that would replace the FAFSA with a simpler two-question form. The Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act would allow families to use income data from two years prior to the date of the FAFSA. This would allow students to apply earlier for financial aid and better plan as to how they will meet college costs. The act also establishes a link between the online FAFSA form and income tax data stored by the IRS. This will allow income information to be automatically input into the FAFSA form and reduce the amount of time it now takes for families to complete a FAFSA.
Others have suggested sending potential college students text messages about applying for financial aid. Some recent experiments have proved successful when students received messages on their phones either to apply for financial aid or to renew their application for aid.
I think it is safe to predict that when the Higher Education Reauthorization Bill is passed, significant changes will be made to the current system. This is a good thing.
BUT there is a better way to calculate whether or not you and your family can afford a particular college or university and in The New College Guide: How to Get In, Get Out, and Get a Job, I recommend getting an estimate of your financial aid package before ever completing an application for admission.