An Opinion About How To Increase FAFSA Participation

I am about the furthest thing from a FAFSA guru there is but sometimes I can puzzle out a solution to a problem. It didn’t take much time while scanning the FAFSA worksheet to realize that a tremendous amount of that same information is required to complete most college applications. If we want every student applying to college to complete the FAFSA, doesn’t it make sense to align it more closely with the standard applications?

I’m not saying that it should become a supplement to applications that are accepted at multiple universities, although that would solve a lot of problems, but the information that is common to both the college application and the FAFSA form be pointed out to the student and given to them in a meaningful format. A final page in the application that gathers FAFSA-specific information that can be downloaded or printed out or queried to extract FAFSA information from the application would encourage the student to complete the scary form; it’s really not all that scary – confusing is a much better word.

If you sat down and read through the FAFSA form, it would become clear to you that completing it is not all that confusing. The confusion has more to do with, who in the “h-e-double-hockey-sticks” knows what all those programs are and who wants to sift through all the numerous relationship possibilities that come with having a blended family. Of course, the blended family situation presents its own set of problems… I just think that if the student is rewarded for completing the college application by being given a head start on completing the FAFSA that a lot more of them would follow through and fill the thing out.

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