College students who rely on financial aid to help pay for school deserve a fair and thorough system for determining just how much they need.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is out of date and is no longer an accurate method for determining a student’s need.
One of the primary problems with the FAFSA is that it assumes income earned from a previous year will be the same or higher in the year the aid is distributed. In these times, there’s no reason to assume that income will be going up from year to year. And while it is possible to update the form to apply for additional aid in the event of a significant income drop, people often find the process too complicated or confusing. The FAFSA should be simplified for people who need to make changes and modified in response to the current state of the economy.
Additional problems with the current way the FAFSA is set up also negatively affect the amount of aid a student receives.
It doesn’t take car payments, house payments or pre-existing debt into consideration. But those aren’t the only problems.
It also requires students to report their parents’ income or their spouse’s with no way of knowing if those people are actually contributing to the student’s education.
The FAFSA is too complicated and too inaccurate to fairly determine who deserves aid – not to mention how much. The form should either be given an overhaul as soon as possible or be replaced with something more competent. Now more than ever, students and families are depending on it.
Sports editor Michael Carroll for the editorial board.