Deep in the heart of President Obama’s address Monday in Austin, Texas, was a quip that ought to crack up anyone who has ever filled out a FAFSA.
While outlining his administration’s efforts to make college more accessible during a stop at the University of Texas, Obama touched on a nightmare for many college applicants and their parents: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
“… We’re simplifying financial aid forms by eliminating dozens of unnecessary questions,” according to a recount of the speech including audience reaction on the White House’s website. “You should not have to take — you should not have to have a Ph.D. to apply for financial aid. (Applause.) You shouldn’t have to do it. (Applause.) I want a bunch of you to get Ph.D.s, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t want you to have to do it for your financial aid form. (Laughter.)”
Examples of streamlining:
“… If you’re married, for example, you don’t need to answer questions anymore about how much money your parents have made. If you’ve lived in the same place for at least five years, you don’t need to answer questions about your place of residency. Soon, you’ll no longer need to submit information you’ve already provided on your taxes. And that’s part of the reason why we’ve seen a 20 percent jump in financial aid applications, because we’re going to make it easier and make the system more accessible. (Applause.)”
Related: The Hechinger Report, MinnPost’s partner in coverage of higher education, looks at the president’s theme that education is the key to economic recovery.