When Simplification May Be Too Simplistic

ACADEME BLOG

On August 27, the Denver Business Journal ran an article on proposed legislation that will dramatically overhaul the application for federal student aid. The article opens with the following two paragraphs:

“Several Colorado universities are getting behind a recent bipartisan bill zeroing in on speeding up the financial aid application process.

“The bill—proposed by Sens. Michael Bennett, D-Colorado, and Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee—would cut down the current 10-page, 108-question Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to a single-page, two-question form.”

The university leaders who are endorsing the bill make the indisputable point that a 10-page form that includes 108 questions is almost certainly keeping some students from applying for federal student aid and therefore from applying to or enrolling in their institutions. Furthermore, the form is likely to be most intimidating to those prospective students who need to aid the most in order to enroll—students from…

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