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house Bill H.R. 5528

Simplifying the Application for Financial Aid

Argument in favor

This bill would help families complete applications for financial aid sooner, allowing schools to avoid getting backlogged with financial aid requests.

Michael's Opinion
···
07/10/2016
Good lord where do I begin... the FAFSA process itself is not that difficult. Enter your tax into and they do the rest. The PROBLEM is the "verification" process. The verification process is supposed to be "random," however I was selected 6 years out of 6 without fail. The issue with verification is that it is usually not communicated to the students adequately, and so the forms are usually turned in too late and then the school doesn't deliver financial aid on time and you get dropped from your class and the entire process is a huge mess. Financial aid is essential for a lot of students, and making them jump through hoops to get the meager help that the government provides is simply wrong. To be honest, simplifying the process isn't enough, but that's an entirely different issue.
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Bryden's Opinion
···
07/10/2016
FAFSA is far too complex and difficult to navigate for 18 year olds. We should make it easier to apply so students aren't discouraged from applying.
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···
07/10/2016
I'm a high-achieving student who reads the fine print and follows instructions to a T, and receiving financial aid for the last 4 years has been a complete nightmare. Something always goes wrong with the application and it has taken 3 or 4 phone calls every year to get everything set straight, due almost every time to administrative errors. This process should be dead simple, especially for 18 year old kids who have no idea what's going on and don't have parents present to guide them.
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Argument opposed

The bill uses $3 million but one of its major provisions is already happening, and otherwise it would just make it a little easier to fill out a form.

Cathy's Opinion
···
07/11/2016
You can already link tax docs to FAFSA. A bigger problem is that students are being held accountable for the costs of college, yet the level of grants/loans are dictated by their parent's income. Spend more time to address the real problems.
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Mark's Opinion
···
07/10/2016
Cost to much to implement. Don't dumb down the system. We've filled out using the current process for years. If you are smart enough to fill out the current method, maybe you are smart enough for college.
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Samantha's Opinion
···
07/10/2016
FAFSA is relatively easy to fill out currently
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
  • The house Passed July 11th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
    IntroducedJune 20th, 2016

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What is House Bill H.R. 5528?

 This bill would make it easier to apply for financial aid when entering college. Students would be allowed to use their family’s tax data from two years before the application to determine their eligibility for aid. Under the current system, students can only use tax data from one year prior, which can sometimes delay the process of determining whether a student is eligible to receive aid.

The bill would also making filling out the 108 question Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA) less time-consuming. Students would be able to link their FAFSA form to their family’s tax data through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which would allow students to automatically fill some of the questions on the FAFSA form. Additionally, the Dept. of Education would be required to create an app for mobile phones for filling out the FAFSA form.

Impact

Incoming college students applying for financial aid and their families; financial aid administrators at colleges; the Dept. of Education; the IRS.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5528

$3.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $3 million between 2017 and 2021 due to changes in administrative requirements and app development.

More Information

In Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Joseph Heck (R-NV) explained in a press release that the bill would make the financial aid application process less confusing and time-consuming:

“As the father of a current college student, I know just how difficult the student financial aid process can be. This bill makes the aid process simpler and easier to understand so that students and their families have the information they need to make an informed decision when choosing a college."

However, the bill may be partially redundant. As Rep. Heck’s press release points out, the Dept. of Education already has the legal authority to allow students to use tax data from two years prior to their financial aid application.

Of Note: Rep. Heck has introduced similar legislation before. In June 2015, he introduced H.R. 3177, which, like this bill, allowed student to use tax data from two years before the application for financial aid. However, the previous version of this bill didn’t contain the provisions about autofilling questions on the FAFSA form and making a mobile app. The previous version of the bill never made it to a vote on the floor of the House.

Media:

Summary by: Chris Conrad

(Photo Credit: Flickr user 401(K) 2013)

AKA

Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act

Official Title

To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to simplify the FAFSA, and for other purposes.

    Good lord where do I begin... the FAFSA process itself is not that difficult. Enter your tax into and they do the rest. The PROBLEM is the "verification" process. The verification process is supposed to be "random," however I was selected 6 years out of 6 without fail. The issue with verification is that it is usually not communicated to the students adequately, and so the forms are usually turned in too late and then the school doesn't deliver financial aid on time and you get dropped from your class and the entire process is a huge mess. Financial aid is essential for a lot of students, and making them jump through hoops to get the meager help that the government provides is simply wrong. To be honest, simplifying the process isn't enough, but that's an entirely different issue.
    Like (78)
    Follow
    Share
    You can already link tax docs to FAFSA. A bigger problem is that students are being held accountable for the costs of college, yet the level of grants/loans are dictated by their parent's income. Spend more time to address the real problems.
    Like (29)
    Follow
    Share
    FAFSA is far too complex and difficult to navigate for 18 year olds. We should make it easier to apply so students aren't discouraged from applying.
    Like (35)
    Follow
    Share
    I'm a high-achieving student who reads the fine print and follows instructions to a T, and receiving financial aid for the last 4 years has been a complete nightmare. Something always goes wrong with the application and it has taken 3 or 4 phone calls every year to get everything set straight, due almost every time to administrative errors. This process should be dead simple, especially for 18 year old kids who have no idea what's going on and don't have parents present to guide them.
    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
    Cost to much to implement. Don't dumb down the system. We've filled out using the current process for years. If you are smart enough to fill out the current method, maybe you are smart enough for college.
    Like (13)
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    As a former high school counselor, I see a huge benefit to this!! Some states have such an early deadline to be eligible for their particular grants, therefore, it would help tremendously! Oklahoma's Tuition aid grant is tied to the fafsa app and the deadline is March 1st. Many parents haven't even filed at this point, much less received their return.
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    FAFSA is relatively easy to fill out currently
    Like (10)
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    This bill does virtually nothing and is a waste of taxpayer money. To really address the financial aid difficulties of students would require much, much more.
    Like (8)
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    Sounds like a good idea. Let's face the facts, students applying have nothing, just a desire to further their education. My Dad would say "don't have a pot to piss in." Therefore, student loans are/would be given by local institutions where they are better equipped to evaluate local students academics. But Mr Oboze removed local loans and moved all college loans to a Federal basis, knowing that government would write students loans off as a loss or offer foreign service, like pumping wells in the Arabian desert. ↩️ Colleges raised tuition costs because the Feds didn't care graduate are flunking, it's only taxpayers money. And thus the cycle begins. Colleges make boku cash, professors get high salaries and studies can make it to Florida for spring break. Students flunk, loan goes unpaid so taxpayer pickup the balance. Almost a life cycle in biology. But big socialist government can say we tried and we paid. Flunked out students become snowflakes seeking their patients basement or a place to hide. Catching at small paycheck with BLM or at a local burger joint. So who is the failure, taxpayers, government, professors or student? Time for self introspection.
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    It's not that hard to fill out the forms. Let's save some money on this one.
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    We need to make education more accessible and at 18, the FAFSA confused me. The process needs to be simplified and streamlined, as well.
    Like (4)
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    $3 million wasted. 4 years to implement. The process is fine, it covers all bases and it just takes time for the parents or students to complete.
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    No this is a awful bill America is already in a lot of debt this bill would definitely not help that. America has great colleges and we let anyone go to them contrary to other countries. That should be it we should not have to pay for students who don't work hard enough. If anything we should be making it a little harder like using a gpa average that you need to be above to get financial aid. This is ridiculous.
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    Seems like the cons(more debt), outweigh the pros(easier form to fill out)
    Like (4)
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    College should be available for everyone not just the wealthy, or go into debt for the rest of their lives
    Like (3)
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    So folks not only want free money they want it just handed to them and not be bothered with the process? How about you work your way through college like many of us did? Nothing in life is free or easy - might as well get used to it!
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    Having an additional year's data can help give a clearer picture of a family's ability to afford college. I also believe that having more than one child in college should help determine a family's eligibility for aid!
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    The fafsa already links to tax data from the irs. It's really not that difficult if one takes the time to actually read the instructions before clicking on something. I wonder if the people supporting this have filled out a fafsa recently.
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    One commentator noted that the 'nays' came from grumpy old men who haven't been in school recently enough to appreciate the problem. That may well be. But perhaps we should consider *why* we have the problem at all, if the process was so much easier in the days of GOM. It is precisely because government has since steadily taken over the financial aid business, absolving schools from making their own assessments and decisions. And that includes decisions about how onerous their aid application should be.
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    The process is extremely complicated for many individuals and simplifying the process is very important for expanding opportunities for everyone. I fully support this. Financial Aid is the most important factor for many applicants and simplifying the process should be considered with Locke's principles of Inherently Natural Rights for any citizen.
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