Wednesday, June 24, 2009

FAFSA Reform

by Andrew Gillen

The papers this morning are abuzz with news about new plans to simplify the FAFSA. These proposals are a welcome development, but, in my opinion, they do not go far enough.

As fate would have it, I’ve done a chapter on FAFSA reform as part of a Lumina Foundation funded project that we’ve been working on for the past year. My favorite line: “Our mounting irritation morphed into dejected resignation as we slogged through the next dozen or so screens.”

This isn't the final draft (comments welcome), but feel free to click here to read more.


Practitioner said...

Before there is too much celebration over simplifying the FAFSA, even significantly, let's remember Dynarski's and Scott-Clayton's research showing that fully ninety percent of the FAFSA questions could be thrown out with "virtually no change in the distribution of the Pell." And that's before the FAO starts to fill in enrollment management yield cells in the aid packaging process, which can (often intentionally) undo the other ten percent.

Complicated or simplified, the FAFSA has become, throughout much of 4-year postsecondary education, meaningless compliance paperwork to support a federal fiction that it is linked to increasing access. All discussions of FAFSA reform need to keep that in mind.

Cowboy said...

I think it is very bold and considerate that the FAFSA is free. I think it just goes to show how obsessive and agressive our government and higher ed institutions are in containing cost.