In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about some of the hurdles students and families face when completing the FAFSA. In Part 2, I examined the pros and cons of some of the proposed changes to FAFSA. In Part 3, I provide suggestions for how schools can help students and families complete the FAFSA today.
With so many identified problems and proposed solutions, there is much hope on the horizon. Until any simplification proposals are made reality, institutions are looking for ways to be of better service to their students. Here are some suggestions:
- Providing FAFSA filing workshops at the institution or at local high schools is a wonderful opportunity for administrators to answer on the spot questions and guide applicants through the process.
- Encouraging students to refer to commonly used terms on the FAFSA is also a great way for applicants to be self-sufficient in completing the form. The Department of Education updates their FAFSA glossary every time a new term is used or redefined at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/glossary.
- If the institution’s student information system is sophisticated enough to run intricate reporting, Financial Aid Offices could identify the most common FAFSA errors and verification corrections from the previous year. Identifying those issues would allow the office to draft and distribute targeted communication to students, ultimately reducing the reoccurrence of those issues in the upcoming aid year.
- Using a remote verification service can help simplify the FAFSA process for your students. With HEAG’s VERIFY TM, documents are reviewed and processed remotely within a quick turnaround time by HEAG’s Verification Specialists, increasing student service, providing quality assurance, and ensuring the review completed by compliance experts.
While we are waiting for the Department of Education to finalize their decisions regarding simplification of the FAFSA, implementing these suggestions today can provide schools with enhanced student services and promote increased application completion.