Federal Aid Application Simplified

The U.S. Department of Education has revised and simplified the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application for the 2010-11 academic year, making it easier for students to apply for financial aid.

Among the changes to the newer FAFSA application is the implementation of “skip logic,” a mechanism that recognizes which questions a particular student needs to answer, and eliminates all unnecessary questions.

In addition, low-income students will no longer be required to answer questions about assets, since these questions do not affect their aid. Different sections of the application will also be separated by color, making it easier for users to navigate.

Over 34,000 students applied for federal financial aid using FAFSA in the 2008-2009 school year. According to Jake Stillwell, communications director for the United States Student Association, the new application should boost the number of students applying for federal aid.

“Studies have concluded that reducing the number of questions will encourage more students to apply, because the sheer number of questions have previously deterred students from completing the form,” Stillwell said.

The UCSD Financial Aid Office is also optimistic about the new application. According to associate director Vonda Garcia, the streamlined application process will encourage students to apply for grants and loans.

“I’m happy to see the 2010-11 FAFSA has been simplified from over 20 screens down to nine,” Garcia said. “Students will find it easier to complete.”

The deadline to fill out the FAFSA is March 2.

Readers can contact Victoria Bañuelos at [email protected]

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