Every year, thousands of college-bound students lose out on financial aid by not filing the FAFSA. Many are intimidated by the complex questions they encounter on the FAFSA. If you’ve filled out a FAFSA even once, you can empathize. It can be confusing and yes, intimidating too. It is especially cumbersome to new filers.
Given the rising cost of college, most students rely on some sort of financial aid to help fund their degree. The FAFSA is a vital part of that. This is why the form underwent a recent update, to modernize it and make it simpler.
Here’s what you should know.
The Importance of Updating the FAFSA
Most students filling out this application for the first time need help answering some of the FAFSA’s more complex questions. Even students filing a second or third time also need some assistance. Unfortunately, many students don’t have access to the necessary guidance. Frustrated with trying to figure it out, they eventually give up. In doing this they forfeit access to any financial aid they may have been eligible for.
There were some changes made to the FAFSA in recent years that helped simplify some of the more challenging sections. Integrating with a tax upload tool is one such example. This tool helps to answer questions regarding family income and the previous year’s tax return information. However, that just made it easier to answer one section. There were several others that students still struggled with.
Recognizing the challenges students faced with the FAFSA, Senators Lamar Alexander and Doug Jones worked together to change things. The FAFSA Simplification Act of 2019 is the result of their efforts.
The Simplification Act strives to make the FAFSA easier and more user-friendly for all students. This is especially beneficial to first-generation college students.
Highlights of the FAFSA Simplification Act 2019
The Simplification Act eliminates some questions about Selective Service and drug-offense related topics. Additionally, it streamlines other questions. It requires families to only answer questions regarding their overall household income. This simple elimination may positively impact those students who thought college was out of reach because of financial or social constraints.
This important piece of legislation aims to help thousands of lower-income students to get much-needed financial aid. It will also help them get funding via Pell grants, scholarship opportunities, and other forms of financial aid such as general grants that they may not otherwise be aware of.
Students and their families can now easily access the Pell Grant via a lookup table. This makes it easier for them to quickly see at a glance where they may qualify for grants and scholarships.
File the FAFSA
The simplified FAFSA opens up a world of opportunities for those in underserved and lower-income communities. Everyone deserves to discover and enhance their full potential to become a success, and the FAFSA Simplification Act of 2019 may be the solution these students and their families need.
Even if it’s intimidating, the struggle is well worth it. Good luck!
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