The Free Application for Federal Student Aid form has gotten a lot of media attention lately regarding needed improvements, but it’s not reasonable to expect any government program to run efficiently.
The university’s director of financial aid, Michael Scott, said in a Skiff article Tuesday this week that there were problems with the length, redundancy and inefficiency of the FAFSA system.
When I first read this story, I thought, “Whoa, we have an administrator named Michael Scott? How cool is that?”
The second thing that came to my mind was that even though students and financial officers have said that we need to make changes to the FAFSA to make it more efficient, the truth is that it’s never going to happen.
First, I point to other government things that are inefficient. Tax return forms, traffic, our public school system, the post office, the Department of Motor Vehicles and countless other things. Almost anything the government touches, seems to become unbearably inefficient. We should not be surprised that the FAFSA follows the exact same route.
Second, the government has no incentive to make these programs better. Sure, we could vote the people in charge out but we have done that for decades now and nothing seems to change.
My parents have as many waiting-in-line stories as I do about the DMV. The FAFSA may be improved for a while but then it will get out of date again and people will begin to have more complaints.
It’s great that the government provides this service to campuses around the nation to determine how much a student’s family can contribute. Something can also be said for the fact that it helps some families pay for college. However, I do not believe most people are getting a good deal with the FAFSA.
My family’s income hinders me from getting scholarships, but what the FAFSA fails to consider is that I have a disabled brother who requires a lot of medical attention. I am sure other students are in a situation like this as well. It’s insane that the government gets to decide who is more worthy to get money to go to school simply based on a few numbers.
Government is a good resource when it serves its intended purpose of protecting citizens’ rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness like the Founding Fathers thought it should. It’s only when government tries to force its happiness on us that things really get messed up.
Let’s stop looking at ways that we could fix government and government documents and re-evaluate whether we need government to provide these services at all.
Michael Lauck is a freshman broadcast journalism major from Houston.