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Applying for Financial Aid Just Got Simpler

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  • Tip Bones

If you've ever applied to receive a federal scholarship, grant, or loan for education expenses, then you're familiar with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, as it's also known. You also know that it can be a paperwork nightmare, and one mistake can cause errors and delays that can cost you hundreds of dollars.

According to new changes approved by Congress this week, the IRS will be able to share information directly with the Department of Education, who manages FAFSA applications. What does that mean for students? It means less questions in the application, for a start. Without the need to reference prior tax returns for income calculations, about 20 questions will be removed from the FAFSA application. And because there is always a chance for error on those taxpayer-completed returns, there will hopefully be more accurate reporting to FAFSA, and less wait time to confirm their accuracy with the IRS.

Possibly the best part is that students no longer have to update their income every year: it will be reported to the Department of Education automatically each year by the IRS. It might also make income-based repayment possible for more students.

Photo: Flickr