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Putting Pen to Paper on Student Aid Accessibility: FAFSA Bill Removes Barriers to Funding and Empowers Families with Full Information

October 15, 2019

***Press Release***


October 15, 2019

Contact: Kate Stotesbery



Putting Pen to Paper on Student Aid Accessibility: FAFSA Bill Removes Barriers to Funding and Empowers Families with Full Information

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), joined by 59 original cosponsors, introduced the Equitable Student Aid Access Act. The legislation substantively simplifies the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, used by more than 13 million students per year. The bill would also increase direct access to financial aid and empower students and their families to make financially-informed decisions about the cost of college.

“After a decade of seeking a more streamlined financial aid process, I still find FAFSA too complicated, confusing, and underutilized,” said Congressman Doggett. “With the student debt crisis reaching $1.6 trillion—and millions of students missing out on available financial assistance—this legislation would remove obstacles and bolster financial support to reduce the burden faced by too many college-going students. Simplifying FAFSA becomes all the more important as some states, like Texas, have enacted laws to mandate FAFSA completion for all high school graduates.”

FAFSA complexities remain a major hurdle for students seeking the financial aid needed to attend college. In 2018, high school graduates missed out on $2.6 billion in free assistance for college because they did not submit a FAFSA. With the ever-rising cost of college—which further aggravates inequality of opportunity—this aid is needed more than ever. The Equitable Student Aid Access Act both increases the number of students who qualify for the full Pell Grant and makes it easier for those students to access aid.

Specifically, the Equitable Student Aid Access Act would:

  • Allow students whose families receive certain public benefits to complete a simplified FAFSA form and to automatically qualify for the full Pell Grant.
  • Increase the income threshold that automatically qualifies a student for the full Pell and protects future students by indexing that amount to inflation.
  • Direct the Secretary of Education to create standardized language and formatting to be used by all higher education institutions on their financial aid offer letters, allowing for easy comparison and more financially-informed college decisions.

The legislation is endorsed by the National Association for College Admissions Counselors (NACAC), National College Access Network, and College Forward, and currently has 59 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.


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