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Dynarski's FAFSA-on-a-postcard proposal gaining traction says LA Times

January 7, 2015

The "FAFSA-on-a-postcard legislation is gaining traction," writes LA Times reporter Carla Rivera in the January 6 article,"Move to simplify federal student aid application form gains traction."

In the coming days, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) are expected to reintroduce a bill designed to streamline the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the 100-plus question form students and families must fill out to determine their eligibility for loans and grants.

The proposed act--the Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency Act--would cut the form down to two questions:"What is your family size?" and "What was your household income two years ago?" This approach is drawn from the paper, "College Grants on a Postcard: A Proposal for Simple and Predictable Federal Student Aid," published in 2007 by Ford School ProfessorSusan M. Dynarskiand colleague, Judith Scott-Clayton (Columbia).

Rivera writes that U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan noted that nationwide, "more than 1 million high school seniors each year don't fill out the FAFSA form, most of whom would be eligible for Pell grants, which are specifically designed for low-income students." Streamlining the application form, she writes, "increases the likelihood of low-income students seeking higher education."

Dynarski's work on student loan reform has appeared in several other news outlets in the last year, including aNew York Timesop-ed columnby Senators Alexander and Bennet, aBusiness Insiderarticle, and more.

Susan Dynarski is a professor of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and a professor of education and economics at the University of Michigan. She is co-founder of the Ford School'sEducation Policy Initiative,which engages in applied, policy-relevant education research designed to improve overall educational achievement and outcomes, and has advised numerous Obama Administration officials.