Lawmakers look to simplify process of applying for student aid

National

The federal student aid application is long and complicated with more than 100 questions.

Students seeking loans to pay for college must fill it out every year and college administrators say thousands of students have to drop out or postpone college because of the difficulties of applying for grants and loans.

Kristina Scott is Executive Director of Alabama Possible, a Birmingham non-profit that works to reduce education barriers.

She testified during a Tuesday Senate hearing, that the application should be much shorter around two dozen questions should do it.

“Really honing in on the very important questions would be a big help for the families that we work with,” said Scott.

Alabama Democrat Senator Doug Jones is also pushing the effort.

“I think its a huge impediment people just quit and when they don’t get the financial aid, they don’t go to college,” said Senator Jones. 

Another big complaint from financial aid applicants is having to submit the same information to multiple government agencies. Even the slightest discrepancy can lead to loans being frozen.

That’s another part of the process that committee chair, Republican Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, is trying to fix.

“You can just take the information you’ve already given to the IRS and let the Education Department use that,” said Senator Alexander.  

Alexander is hoping to include the reforms in a larger higher education bill due for a vote later this year.

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...