Center for American Progress

Simplifying the Federal Financial Aid Application Process

Simplifying the Federal Financial Aid Application Process

Policymakers should make allow students and families to determine their eligibility for federal student aid using old tax returns, as well as notify them of their eligibility at an younger age.

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idea_bulbThere is a new catchphrase in the higher education policy arena: prior-prior. The term is shorthand for a simple reform to ease the federal financial aid application process for both students and families. Congress fully supports the concept: Prior-prior has bipartisan, bicameral, and broad-based support the likes of which Washington has not seen in years. And lawmakers are spot on in backing the policy—prior-prior is a valuable idea that should be implemented immediately. But they also must recognize that prior-prior should only represent the first step in rethinking the financial aid application process.

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