NCAN Supports "Prior Prior" Year FinAid Bill in Senate

May 14, 2014

NCAN is proud to support the "Simplifying Financial Aid for Students Act of 2014," introduced in the U.S. Senate today by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). "This bill will make financial aid a reality, rather than a promise, to students when they are applying to college, allowing them to make informed decisions," NCAN's Executive Director Kim Cook said.

The legislation would put in place a number of financial aid policy changes that will help more low-income and underrepresented enter and complete postsecondary education. 

The text of NCAN's letter of support appears below.

Senator Booker:

The National College Access Network is pleased to support your legislation the Simplifying Financial Aid for Students Act of 2014. Simplifying student aid is a priority for NCAN, a non-profit organization with almost 400 members dedicated to helping low-income and first-generation students, and students of color pursue their educational dreams. The Simplifying Financial Aid for Students Act of 2014 is a step forward in helping these student populations finance their postsecondary education.

Allowing the use of the second preceding tax year information in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will allow students to complete this crucial form earlier in the college application process. Students will know their eligilbility for federal student aid before college application deadlines, which for many low-income students could be the difference in attending college or not.

Additionally, many low-income students currently must complete the verification process following the completion of the FAFSA. Using the second preceding tax year information means that a larger portion of students can use IRS data retrieval, which will decrease the chance of the students facing the barrier of verification.

Returning the automatic level at which a student receives a zero dollar expected family contribution (EFC) to $30,000 will also simplify the financial aid application process for students. The majority of students between the current automatic EFC level of $23,000 and the proposed $30,000 receive the full Pell Grant, but must complete many more FAFSA questions and frequently must complete the verification process. Ensuring that our poorest students an easily access a full Pell Grant as well as other important aid is a benefit for students.

Thank you for your work on behalf of students.

Sincerely,

Kim Cook
Executive Director
National College Access Network




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