The new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is easier to fill out. FAFSA is easier not only because the application itself is shorter, but also because students can take advantage of volunteers available to help with FAFSA. According to U.S. News & World Report:
Volunteer financial aid experts will be stationed at more than 800 YMCAs, churches, colleges, schools, community centers, and other locations around the country in January and February for College Goal Sunday events. The aim of the nonprofit events: to help students and parents get their aid applications in on time. Originally, College Goal Sunday events were held the Sunday after the Super Bowl. The program has grown so much in the past few years that many states now have several events on various days throughout January and February, says Marcia Weston, director of the program, which is funded by the Lumina Foundation and operated by the YMCA.
The online version of FAFSA is much simpler this year but, as the article points out, “the Department of Education did not simplify the paper version of the FAFSA, which is still longer and more complicated than a standard 1040 tax form.”
The education department encourages everyone to use the online version, which is much easier for the department to process. Low-income families, those most likely to take advantage of College Goal Sunday, often don’t have access to computers, making the FAFSA simplification irrelevant.