A few months ago I wrote about how the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) was being prepared for a major revision under the new administration. Well, I received an e-mail the day before yesterday from The Institute for College Access and Success talking about some of these changes for the FAFSA.
“Starting in January of 2010, some students will be able to electronically pre-populate the FAFSA with their own IRS data. The Institute for College Access & Success has long advocated for this practical approach to simplification, which will make the aid application process easier, more accurate, and more secure.
“Students are not the only ones who will benefit from simplification. Colleges currently spend an estimated $432 million a year verifying the information on completed FAFSAs, including collecting and combing through hard copies of applicants’ tax forms. With IRS pre-population, financial aid offices could spend more time working directly with students and families.
I think that it’s a pretty good decision to link already processed tax forms with the FAFSA. Sure, there is an element of “big brother” involved with this type of commingling of information, but I wonder how deep that really goes in reality. Plus, as the quote above suggests, there is a gigantic waste of money involved with processing the FAFSA.
This is good news for federal student loan borrowers and a general step in the right direction!