Education Department Launches Effort to Simplify Aid Formula

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CHICAGO

The U.S. Department of Education is hunching an effort to reform and simplify how college students apply for and receive financial aid.

The federal student aid form needs to be cut down from 100 to nine questions and the aid formula should be revamped and more closely tied to adjusted gross income and the number of dependents, said Under Secretary of Education Sara Martinez Tucker. She spoke last month at a national summit addressing affordability, accountability and accessibility in higher education.

"I want federal aid to create hope, not extinguish it," Tucker said in an interview with Diverse. "Yes, the financing of higher education is complex, but that doesn't mean that the relationship between the Department of Education and families and students has to be complex."

One plan would be to zero out other types of aid, such as the state opportunity education grants, and direct that money to the Pen Grant Program. An estimated $1.7 billion could be directed into Pell Grants and increase the maximum award amounts to each student. …