Dr. Bucshon Introduces Bill to Streamline Student Aid Process
Washington, DC, July 11, 2014
Representative Larry Bucshon, a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, joined Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA), John Tierney (D-MA), Tim Bishop (D-NY), and Jared Polis (D-CO), to introduce H.R. 4982, the Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act. H.R. 4982 streamlines the student aid application process helping student make timely financial decisions about their education.
“I grew up in a small town of 1,400 people. The opportunity to pursue an education is what allowed me to achieve my goals and pursue the American dream,” said Rep. Bucshon (R-IN). “Unfortunately, filling out the FAFSA and applying for financial aid is a daunting and scary task for many students. Having discussed with my wife the process of helping our two sons navigate the college loan process over the past few years, I know this all too well. To make it easier on students, our bill helps streamline the confusing FAFSA process allowing for an earlier notification period. This will undoubtedly help students make better financial decisions about their educational opportunities. I thank my colleagues for their work on this bipartisan bill on behalf of our nation’s students.”
Chairman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Rep. John Kline stated:
“I want to thank all of my colleagues for their hard work crafting these commonsense proposals, and am pleased to see bipartisan consensus starting to emerge,” said Chairman John Kline (R-MN). “We are committed to strengthening America’s higher education for students, families, and taxpayers. The legislation introduced today will begin to help improve a system that is too bureaucratic, too costly, and outdated. I look forward to continuing to move this process forward in the coming weeks as we look to keep the dream of postsecondary education within reach for all Americans.”
For many students and families, federal financial aid makes a postsecondary education possible. The time when a family begins the process of applying for financial aid is critical to ensuring students access the full range of assistance available to them. Unfortunately, the current process is not serving the best interests of students and families. A student’s application process starts when he or she submits the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who wish to enroll in fall classes are encouraged to begin applying for aid in January. However, the FAFSA relies on income tax data from the previous year that is not readily available at the time students should start filling out their applications.
This flawed process results in significant delays in the submission of FAFSA forms, which leaves financial aid administrators little time to put together aid packages for incoming students. More importantly, students do not learn in a timely manner what their financial aid packages will ultimately be, which makes it more difficult to plan for the cost of their education. Some students may even miss opportunities to receive state and institution-based aid as these limited resources are often awarded on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Further complicating matters is an overly complex FAFSA form. The current application runs 10 pages long and includes 108 questions on topics such as income, expenses, family size, and assets. Some families are so overwhelmed they fail to apply, which disqualifies students from aid they may otherwise be eligible to receive.
As part of an effort to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, the bipartisan H.R. 4982 will help streamline and improve the student aid application process and help students make timely financial decisions about their education.
SIMPLIFYING THE APPLICATION FOR STUDENT AID ACT WILL:
The Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act (H.R. 4982) will help students access the full range of federal financial aid to turn their dreams of a postsecondary education into reality.
Full text of H.R. 4982 can be found here.