A More Simple FASA Form!?

Written by Theresa Rose on March 11, 2019

Iowa College Aid executive to testify in D.C.

U.S. Senate committee considers simplifying financial aid application

Iowa College Aid Executive Research Officer Dr. Mark Wiederspan will testify before a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday, March 12, about simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as the FAFSA.

The Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) invited Dr. Wiederspan to speak at a hearing titled “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Simplifying the FAFSA and Reducing the Burden of Verification.” Committee member Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) has proposed slashing the number of questions on the FAFSA from 108 to no more than 24. The FAFSA is the required application for nearly all forms of college financial aid, including federal and state grants and scholarships, federal Work-Study and federal student loans.

Prior to his arrival at Iowa College Aid last year, Dr. Wiederspan had published a series of papers examining the feasibility of simplifying the FAFSA. His findings suggest that a reduction in the number of FAFSA questions would have little impact on determining students’ eligibility for financial aid. Earlier this year, he authored a brief that found FAFSA verification—a process of additional documentation for which about one-third of FAFSA filers are selected—is a “significant barrier” for low-income students.

The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. Central time and can be viewed live at https://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/reauthorizing-the-higher-education-act_simplifying-the-fafsa-and-reducing-the-burden-of-verification.