Momentum for FAFSA Simplification Builds

Gates Foundation report makes recommendations to help make it easier for students to apply for federal aid.

A report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has sparked new discussion about simplifying the process of applying for federal student aid — a move that could eliminate redundancies in college financial-aid offices and encourage as many as 2 million more students per year to attend college.

“Today’s process is complex, redundant and does not allow much time for students and their families to complete their applications and make important decisions,” the report argues. “This leads many students … to avoid or abandon their aid applications,” while countless others never even begin the process.

The foundation calls for federal officials to make the 108-question Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) “simpler, more transparent and better timed for students and their families” by removing seldom-answered questions, using existing tax data and matching the required information to the complexity of students’ financial situations.

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