Margaret Spellings and her staff clearly haven’t started packing up their offices just yet.
In a speech tonight at Harvard University, the U.S. education secretary will unveil a proposal to greatly simplify the process by which students apply for federal financial aid. Under the plan, which flows from a set of ideas floated by Under Secretary Sara Martinez Tucker at an Education Department summit in July, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid would shrink from more than 100 questions now to 26, and students would find out, before their senior year of college, how much federal financial aid they would qualify for.
“This all flies under the rubric of needing to make this process much much less burdensome,” Spellings said in an interview in her office Monday. “Right now, it’s like we’re trying to keep people out of college, not get them in…. The whole thing is, ‘You want to go to college? Here are seven pages of bureaucracy, and here’s what you’re going to have to do to get it.’ As opposed to, ‘Here’s a simple way to do it, and here’s what we’re going to do for you, so you can get it.’ It’s the whole psychology.” Read full story. (Inside Higher Ed)