Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success

The federal financial aid application process is a significant barrier to getting to and through college. Under the current system, as many as two million students who are likely eligible for aid don’t even apply.

Today’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is unnecessarily complex and redundant. The good news is there are pragmatic steps we can take to fix the FAFSA. By removing unnecessary questions and tailoring the application to the complexity of the student’s financial situation, more students will be able to apply and receive the aid they need.

Meeting the nation’s economic needs will require better outcomes for all students—especially those most at risk of not making it to or through college: students from low-income backgrounds and students who are the first in their family to attend college. Drawing on the work of partners through the Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery (RADD) initiative, the foundation developed a roadmap for fixing the FAFSA so that all students who seek the opportunity have access to financial aid dollars to help complete a high-quality, affordable postsecondary education.  Some of the report’s recommendations have already been implemented, but there is more work to be done.

Partner Resources:

National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

FAFSA Working Group Report

National College Access Network

FAFSA Completion Tracker

FAFSA Completion Challenge

Urban Institute

Simplifying Federal Student Aid: How Do the Plans Stack Up?