Applying for Federal Financial Aid will be Easier and Quicker
House of Representatives approves Rep. Polis’s bill to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Washington, D.C., July 11, 2016: The House of Representatives approved Rep. Polis’s bill to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) today. The Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act (H.R.3177) modifies the application process by:
·Allowing students to fill out the FAFSA as early as October, as opposed to January. Students could fill out the early FAFSA using family income tax returns from two years prior, rather than one year prior.
·Making a mobile-version of the application available for students to apply on their smart phones.
·Linking required data on the FAFSA with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data retrieval tool, so information can populate automatically in the FAFSA form.
“I am happy we were able to cut red-tape today to make it easier and quicker for students and their families to fill out the FAFSA. It makes sense that students should be able to fill out the FAFSA on their phones, using data that they have already provided to the IRS,” said Rep. Polis. “The FAFSA is an instrumental tool in making sure that all students have access to affordable education beyond high school.”
The University of Colorado at Boulder and Colorado State University - both of which are located in Congressional District 02 - have expressed support for the bill.
"Simplifying the FAFSA and using two-year old tax information to complete the form go hand in hand with Colorado State University’s commitment to access and breaking down the barriers students and families face when making decisions about college,” Tom Biedscheid, Director of Student Financial Services, said. “This legislation would allow us to align both the admission and financial aid applications and literally provide months of time for our counselors to work with students and families, and we thank Congressman Polis for his work to move this bill forward.”
“We want to make sure the process of verifying tax information does not stand in the way of deserving students receiving the financial aid they need to go to college,” Ofelia Morales, Associate Director of Financial Aid at the University of Colorado Boulder, said. “Therefore, CU Boulder is very much in support of using prior-prior year tax data, and we thank Rep. Polis for his work to advance this important policy.”
Rep. Polis joined Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), and Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) in introducing the bill, which currently has 15 cosponsors. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for approval.
Rep. Polis is a senior member of the House Education and Workforce Committee and a former Chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education. He is also the founder and former superintendent of a network of charters schools in Colorado and New Mexico serving immigrants and English-language learners.
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