Choosing a college and applying for aid is complicated — so much so that many smart, low-income students don’t make it past the initial hurdles. But last week, the federal government streamlined and simplified the Fafsa(the Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which is the gatekeeper for all federal aid for college, including Pell grants and Stafford loans.
The new approach also opens the door to eventually eliminating the Fafsa altogether.
Under the current aid rules, students planning to attend college next September can’t file a Fafsa until January. They will probably apply later, since the Fafsa requires information from their family’s 2015 tax return, which is due in April.