With college acceptance letters beginning to arrive, Rep. Peter Welch today announced legislation to ease the burden of applying for federal financial aid for Vermont students and families.
"Students and families face enough barriers when trying to piece together the finances to pay for higher education. Struggling to fill out onerous and unnecessary financial aid paperwork shouldn't be one of them," Welch said. "There is much more we need to do to make higher education more affordable, but this is a step in the right direction."
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) -- the form that determines current and potential college students' eligibility for financial aid such as Pell Grants and Federal Student Loans -- currently consists of 48 income and asset questions. Thirty-one of those questions require information already collected by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on various tax forms. Welch's Student Financial Aid Simplification Act would simply allow the Department of Education to collect that information from the IRS, reducing the number of questions of the FAFSA by 31 and greatly simplifying the process for students and families.
Welch announced his legislation at the Vermont Student Assistant Corporation (VSAC) alongside VSAC President and CEO Don Vickers, VSAC Executive Director Scott Giles and student Ethan Lee from Lincoln Vermont.
Welch has been a leader in Congress fighting to make college more affordable, writing legislation to curb college tuition costs and successfully fighting to block a doubling of interest rates on Stafford Student Loans.
The FAFSA deadline for Vermonters is June 30, 2013. For more information on the form or to begin filling it out, Vermonters can visit www.fafsa.ed.gov.