Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success

The current process of applying for federal financial aid is one of the biggest barriers to a postsecondary education. Under the current system, as many as 2 million students who are likely eligible for aid don’t even apply.

The current FAFSA is complex, redundant, and poorly timed. The good news is there are pragmatic steps we can take to fix the FAFSA and help many more students make it to and through college. By removing unnecessary questions and tailoring the application to the complexity of the student’s financial situation, using already submitted tax data, and having students submit tax information from a full year earlier, more students will be able to apply to get 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. “Better for Students: Simplifying the Federal Financial Aid Process” is a commonsense proposal—informed by the work of diverse partners and leading experts—to fix the FAFSA and help ensure all students who seek the opportunity have access to financial aid dollars to help complete a high-quality, affordable postsecondary education.


“Better for Students: Simplifying the Federal Financial Aid Process” Report Summary

“Better for Students: Simplifying the Federal Financial Aid Process” Full Report

“Simplifying Federal Student Aid: How Do the Plans Stack Up?” Overview and Full Report by the Urban Institute

Infographic: Why We Need to #FixFAFSA

Fix FAFSA infographic