Tenn. lawmaker Lamar Alexander pushes to simplify FAFSA

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WASHINGTON DC (NEXSTAR) – Twenty million families fill out the free application for federal student aid every year, but one senator from Tennessee said many more give up because the form is too complicated.  

According to the Institute for College Access and Success, two million college students are eligible for federal student aid but aren’t getting it.  

“That’s because it is so complicated and difficult for students to prove their eligibility. This is a real roadblock on the way to college,” said Institute for College Access and Success President, James Kvaal.  

Kvaal has spent years lobbying Congress to change the free application for federal student aid.  

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, a former university president and education secretary, has led the push to simplify the FAFSA form by reducing the number of questions it asks.  

“Making it simpler and easier to go to college,” Sen. Alexander said.  

While Education Secretary Betsy Devos supports the idea, some colleges and universities are concerned that eliminating too many questions will make it harder to determine which students actually need financial help.  

Kvaal argues the majority of the questions have very little impact on grant eligibility.  

“It’s possible to do this simplification and it doesn’t have cost implications for the federal government. It doesn’t make it harder to get aid to students who need it,” he said.  

Kvaal added Congress can’t open up the FAFSA to more students without making sure the money to help them is also there. 

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