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January 9, 2015   |   by Michael Bennet

President Obama supports simplifying the FAFSA: “Make life easier for millions of families”

In our travels around Colorado to talk to students, parents, financial aid counselors, and school administrators, we've heard countless stories about how much people dread filling out the FAFSA. It's a painstaking process that has resulted in a lot of lost time, money, and energy. We're working with Senator Lamar Alexander and several other Republican and Democratic senators to simplify the process by cutting the 108 questions down to just two for most students. This week, we introduced a bill to do just that.

Today, President Obama said he will work with us to shrink the form and make life a little easier for millions of families. At an event in Knoxville, Tenn. with Senator Alexander, President Obama said, "It shouldn't be that hard to apply for aid for college." He called our plan a bipartisan idea that we can get done this year. I couldn't agree more.

Many of the questions on the form are probably well intentioned, but we've learned that they're just not necessary. If that's the case, we shouldn't be asking them. Students would be a lot better off spending their time figuring out what college they want to attend and what course of study they want to undertake than they are spending their time with this bureaucratic nightmare. We're trying to fix that with our bill.

Not only will our bill simplify the process of applying for and receiving federal financial aid to attend college, but it would also allow year-round use of Pell grants, streamline grant and loan programs, discourage over-borrowing, and simplify student loan repayments. The bill has the potential to transform the federal financial aid process.

In Colorado alone, thousands of students fill out the form as part of their college application process. But less than half of them high school seniors complete the FAFSA. Passing this bill will encourage more Colorado students to seek federal aid for higher education and open up countless opportunities for their futures.

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