Official Comments on FAFSA Simplification
Earlier this week, we sent the Department of Education our comments on the draft 2009-2010 FAFSA, which is up for a full review under the Paperwork Reduction Act. Our detailed recommendations focus on making the form easier to understand and use, especially for low-income students and their families. In addition to a range of short-term fixes, we make the case for long-term simplification by prepopulating the form with IRS data. The recently reauthorized Higher Education Act paves the way for this approach, which we first proposed in early 2007.
The Department is accepting public comments on the draft FAFSA until October 28: if you want to weigh in, send your comments to FAFSA.Comments@ed.gov.
Take Action for Private Loan Disclosures in CA
A bill to ensure that California students get accurate information about the risks and costs of private student loans is awaiting Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature. California residents, please tell the governor that he should sign SB 1355 without delay - the budget crisis is finally over, and this bill has no significant costs associated with it.
SB 1355 requires all public and private colleges and universities in California to explain the differences between private and federal student loans in their financial aid materials. Schools that include private student loans in their financial aid offers have to disclose details about the amounts and variability of interest rates, fees, and other important terms. The bill is supported by Consumers Union and the California Student Aid Commission, among others.
New Resources for Community Colleges
Building on our ongoing research into financial aid policies and practices, we have developed two documents to encourage discussion and advocacy on California's community college campuses.
Our Student Action Guide encourages students to record and evaluate how their college's financial aid office serves its students by answering five basic questions.
The Top 10 Student-Centered Approaches to Financial Aid Services offers key principles for financial aid administrators to use in assessing and designing community college services.