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Higher Ed in the News

Obama administration moving to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid

June 26, 2009

Every year, millions of students and families must fill out the FAFSA form to apply for Pell grants, Stafford loans, Perkins loans, work-study programs, and much state aid. But many are scared off by the form.

In January, when next year’s form goes online, about 20 percent of the questions will be eliminated, mostly by avoiding redundancies.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan plans to create an easy process for families to click on their online application to automatically fill in the financial data they have already filed with the Internal Revenue Service as part of their tax returns.

While the Education Department can proceed with some of the changes, Congressional approval will be required for Secretary of Education's plan to eliminate more than half of the form’s financial questions, which often seek data not on the federal tax form.

Federal authorities estimate that about 1.5 million students probably are eligible for Pell grants but have not applied for them.

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Read more from the New York Times and USA Today.