Simplify the FAFSA

It is a chore to complete the FAFSA.  The Atlantic argues that it could be easier to complete which in turn might spur college enrollment.

Why Are So Many College Students Turning Down Free Money?
The FAFSA is the first step toward receiving Pell grants. As its name implies, the application is free—and, for the low-income students who are deemed eligible, the money it generates is free, too. Unlike loans, students don't have to pay off the aid. With the maximum Pell Grant amount valued at $5,775 per student for the 2015-16 year, the FAFSA alone doesn't always make a huge dent in tuition for students, especially those attending expensive private colleges. But for many it could cover the majority of the tuition at many public two- and even four-year colleges. 
The amount of paperwork required complete the application could explain why so few people complete it. Filling out the lengthy form is a laborious process—and the Department of Education doesn’t try to hide that. In fact, the FAFSA "FAQ" page prominently displays the time requirements for each portion:
  • 55 minutes to complete and submit an initial application
  • 45 minutes to complete and submit a renewal application
  • 10 minutes to make FAFSA corrections
But those could be extremely conservative estimates, according to one 2007 study, which calculated the form takes as many as 10 hours to fill out—roughly five times the amount indicated by the feds. The study’s analysis factored in the time it would take to source the relevant financial documents, verify the information, fill out the forms, and revise for errors. In many cases, completing the FAFSA is more tedious than filing taxes.


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