From our good friends at NACAC (hat tip to Alicia Ortega):
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced a new streamlined Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) just in time for students and families to complete the 2010-11 application. Improvements include a much more user-friendly online format and a large reduction in the number of questions asked. A total of 22 questions are eliminated, representing a 28% reduction in questions, and 17 screens are eliminated, a reduction of 65% of web screens.
These updates are in addition to those announced in August 2009. The full list of the most recent improvements can be found in the Simplification Update form from the Department of Education. Here are a few highlights:
â€¢ Student and parent sections are clearly identified with side tabs.
â€¢ Status indicators guide applicants through web modules, such as demographics, basic eligibility, and dependency status.
â€¢ The display of the help text and instructions, which takes up much of the web screen on the 2009-10 form, is enhanced by the use of help text that disappears when you are no longer in a particular section.
â€¢ Students with low incomes will no longer be asked for asset information, which is not used to determine their aid eligibility.
â€¢ Questions regarding additional financial information and untaxed income are presented in a simplified keyword “check box” format on one page.
Later this month, students applying for aid for the spring semester using the 2009-2010 FAFSA will be able to retrieve and import their tax data from the IRS. In the summer of 2010, students applying for aid in the 2010-11 year will also be able to apply for aid using their tax data. In this process, a link to the IRS will display in the income section of the FAFSA with a message that students may access the IRS site to retrieve income information to complete the application.
Dr. Jill Biden blogged about the new FAFSA on the White House Blog. Be sure to check out the NACAC Admitted Blog post on the FAFSA updates, which also provides links to helpful financial aid information.
2010-11 FAFSA Available
The final version of the 2010-2011 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available in English and Spanish. The PDF documents, among the FAFSA filing options available online, can be downloaded by schools and students to complete for submission. Corresponding FAFSA on the Web Worksheets are also available to assist students and families in completing the FAFSA.
PLEASE NOTE: the correct and free FAFSA website is a .GOV site NOT a .com website.