Summary: The Secretary of Education requests comments on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that the Secretary proposes to use for the 1999-2000 award year. The FAFSA is completed by students and their families and the information submitted on the form is used to determine the students' eligibility and financial need for the student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (Title IV, HEA Programs).
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[Federal Register: February 24, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 36)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Notice of Proposed Information Collection Requests
AGENCY: Department of Education.
ACTION: Proposed collection; comment request.
SUMMARY: The Secretary of Education requests comments on the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that the Secretary proposes
to use for the 1999-2000 award year. The FAFSA is completed by students
and their families and the information submitted on the form is used to
determine the students' eligibility and financial need for the student
financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher
Education Act of 1965, as amended, (Title IV, HEA Programs).
DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before
March 26, 1998.
ADDRESSES: Written comments should be addressed to the Office of
Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attention: Danny Werfel, Desk
Officer, Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street, NW., Room
10235, New Executive Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20503. Requests
for copies of the proposed information collection requests should be
addressed to Patrick J. Sherrill, Department of Education, 600
Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 5624, Regional Office Building 3,
Washington, DC 20202-4651. In addition, interested persons can access
this document at the following website: ``http://www.ed.gov/offices/
OPE/Professionals.'' Once at this website, the reader should go to the
``What's New'' area to locate the 1999-2000 FAFSA.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patrick J. Sherrill (202) 708-8196.
Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339
between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 483 of the Higher Education Act of
1965, as amended (HEA), requires the Secretary, ``in cooperation with
agencies and organizations involved in providing student financial
assistance,'' to ``produce, distribute and process free of charge a
common financial reporting form to be used to determine the need and
eligibility of a student under'' the Title IV, HEA Programs. This form
is the FAFSA. In addition, section 483 authorizes the Secretary to
include on the FAFSA up to eight non-financial data items that would
assist States in awarding State student financial assistance.
In a notice published in the Federal Register of March 18, 1997,
the Secretary noted that the Department of Education was reengineering
the FAFSA and looking anew at all the questions on the form. The
Secretary asked for comment on questions that applicants were not
required to answer in order to have their eligibility and need for
Title IV, HEA Programs determined. The Secretary also requested comment
with regard to which of the questions were integral to State student
In addition to requesting comments in that notice, in May and June
of 1997, the Secretary convened public meetings in New York, St. Louis,
San Diego, and Washington, D.C. for the purpose of receiving comments
on early drafts of the reengineering FAFSA. Further, at the invitation
of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Officers (NASFAA),
in July the Department conducted a forum on a later draft of the
reengineered FAFSA at NASFAA's annual convention in Philadelphia.
The Secretary revised the FAFSA that was disseminated for comment
based upon the suggestions made by the commenters in the Spring and
Summer of 1997, and in the Federal Register of November 24, 1997, 62 FR
62568-61570, the Secretary published a notice requesting additional
comment on this latest revised FAFSA. In that notice, the Secretary
described the changes in the FAFSA from the previous disseminated
As a result of the November 24, 1997 Federal Register notice, the
Department received comments and suggestions from over 80 commenters.
These comments and suggestions related to the following substantive
<bullet> Student's ``permanent'' telephone number. Many comments
objected to the deletion of this item from the form. Many institutions
indicated that they used the student's telephone number in ways helpful
to students. Other institutions indicated that the number was useful in
keeping track of borrowers under the Federal Family Education Loan
(FFEL) and Federal Direct Loan Programs. Although very little is
``permanent'' about a student's telephone number, the Secretary has
agreed to add this item back on the form for the reasons stated by the
<bullet> Untaxed income and benefits. Many commenters objected to
the deletion of specific questions about untaxed income. The commenters
felt that the accuracy of information would suffer if the form just
requested the total of such income. In particular, commenters objected
to the elimination of the item for earned income credit. We again
request earned income credit on the FAFSA. Space would not allow the
addition of other items.
<bullet> The inclusion of additional questions on the form would
have required the form to expand beyond the current four pages. The
Secretary believed that it was important to keep the actual FAFSA
application to four pages in order to minimize any changes to the
automated processing system which will begin to process these new forms
in January of 1999, and to meet the requirements of scanning
technology. The Secretary also believed that expansion of the form
would have been inconsistent with goals of simplifying and clarifying
the current form. As a result, it was not possible to
include on the form all the questions relating to nontaxable income
that the commenters thought should be specifically included.
The Secretary is publishing this additional request for comment
under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C.
Secs. 3501 et seq. Under that Act, ED must obtain the review and
approval of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before it may use
a form to collect information. However, under the procedure for
obtaining approval from OMB, ED must first obtain public comment on the
proposed form, and to obtain that comment, ED must publish this notice
in the Federal Register.
To accommodate the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the
Secretary is interested in receiving comments with regard to the
following matters: (1) is this collection necessary to the proper
functions of the Department, (2) will this information be processed and
used in a timely manner, (3) is the estimate of burden accurate, (4)
how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of
the information to be collected, and (5) how might the Department
minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including
through the use of information technology.
Dated: February 18, 1998.
Deputy Chief Information Officer, Office of the Chief Information
Office of Postsecondary Education
Type of Review: Revision.
Title: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Affected Public: Individuals and families.
Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping Hour Burden: Responses:
9,998,997; Burden Hours: 6,274,770.
Abstract: The FAFSA collects identifying and financial information
about a student and his or her family if the student applies for Title
IV, Higher Education Act (HEA) Program funds. This information is used
to calculate the student's expected family contribution, which is used
to determine a student's financial need. The information is also used
to determine the student's eligibility for grants and loans under the
Title IV, HEA Programs. It is further used for determining a student's
eligibility and need for State and institutional financial aid
[FR Doc. 98-4615 Filed 2-23-98; 8:45 am]
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