Colleges Are Facing an Enrollment Nightmare


For years, Senator Lamar Alexander was known for theatrically unfurling a paper document so long that he could hold it above his head and still see it drag along the chamber floor. It was the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, a form that every college student and their family must complete to be eligible for federal grants and student loans. Detractors argued that its length (more than 100 questions) and complexity (experts joked that you needed a Ph.D. to complete it) deterred students from getting aid and attending college. In December 2020, on the eve of Alexander’s retirement, Congress finally passed legislation to simplify the form, with implementation ultimately scheduled for the high-school class of 2024. It was a rare win for bipartisan, commonsense governance: less paperwork, more kids going to college.



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