Projected Changes for the 2010-2011 Academic Year
"Simplifying the FAFSA is another significant action in our quest to keep a college degree within the reach of every person who aspires to higher education...." Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan (June 24, 2009)
Guiding Principles Behind the Changes Proposed by the Department of Education
- Federal Student Aid Programs should target the neediest students.
- Families applying for aid need reliable information that allows them to understand how aid programs work .
- Families who submit information should be able to receive "real-time" results and feedback .
- The Department's applications should request pertinent information that is easily obtainable and verifiable .
- The Department's applications should only ask questions necessary to determine eligibility for aid and award levels.
Changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid("FAFSA")
- Since May 2009, the Department of Education has provided instant estimates of Pell Grant and student loan eligibility, rather than forcing applicants to wait weeks. Links to the Department's "College Navigator" site provide information on graduation rates and other college information.
- Available summer 2009, enhanced skip-logic used in the new web-based FAFSA will reduce user navigation for many applicants by more than half;
- Starting in January 2010, students applying for financial aid for the 2010 spring semester will be able to seamlessly retrieve their relevant tax information from the IRS for easy completion of the online FAFSA. The Department of Education and the IRS will be working together to examine the possibility of expanding this option to all students in the future. (The projected start date for the 2010-2011 academic year is July 2010).
The following are sample screens that families will see with this new process
- Simplifying the Financial Aid Process (July 2009)
- Application Processing Systems Update (July 2009)
- Need Analysis: The EFC Formula Beyond 2010 (December 2009)
- Press Release from the Department of Education
- Fact Sheet from the Department of Education
- Simplifying Student Financial Aid : The Case for an Easier, Faster, and More Accurate FAFSA (September 2009)
- Going to the Source: A Practical Way to Simplify the FAFSA from The Institute for College Access and Success
Changes to the Federal Stafford Student Loan Program
On March 21, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the The Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 ("HCEARA" - H.R. 4872) by a vote of 220-211. This bill makes major changes in several federal student aid programs and now heads to the Senate where further action is expected this week. On March 25, 2010, the Senate approved the bill (with a few minor revisions).
- Learn more about our transition to the Direct Loan Program for the 2010-2011 year . No new federal Stafford, PLUS, Grad PLUS or Consolidation Loans may be disbursed through a private lender effective July 1, 2010.
- Currently enrolled students with Federal Stafford, GradPLUS or PLUS loans should pay particular attention to the option to consolidate all of their prior federal loans into a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011.
- Questions & Answers on the Transition to 100 Percent Direct Lending (from the Department of Education's website)
- Federal Direct Loan web site (general information for students and parents) . The Department of Education will unveil a new, redesigned web portal, StudentLoans.gov , on March 27. 2010.
Changes to the Federal Perkins Loan Program
President Obama also proposed significant changes to the Federal Perkins Loan Program. However, these changes were not included in the final version of the Reconciliation Act of 2010.
But the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) contained a provision that recalls the Perkins Loan revolving fund in 2012. Therefore, the Perkins loan program will be extinct in 2012, unless efforts are made to save this program. The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities , which formed the original Perkins Loan working group, will regroup once again to work on preserving Perkins Loans.
Additional Consumer Disclosure Requirements
Updated March 28, 2010