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Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, Education

Publication Date: March 2004
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Page Numbers: 10438-10439

Notice of announcement of simplification study.

Posted on 03-05-2004


Federal Register: March 5, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 44)]
[Notices]              
[Page 10438-10439]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr05mr04-65]                        

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance

AGENCY: Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, Education.

ACTION: Notice of announcement of simplification study.

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SUMMARY: The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance has
been charged by Congress to conduct objective, nonpartisan, and
independent analyses on important aspects of the student assistance
programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. In addition,
Congress expanded the Committee's agenda in the Higher Education
Amendments of 1998 in several important areas: access, Title IV
modernization, distance education, and early information and needs
assessment. Specifically, the Committee is to review, monitor and
evaluate the Department of Education's progress in these areas and
report recommended improvements to Congress and the Secretary.
    The FY 2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2673), which was
signed into law on January 23, 2004, directs the Advisory Committee to

[[Page 10439]]

examine the Federal financial aid formula and application forms in
order to simplify and streamline the programs to make the system
easier, more responsive, and fairer for students and families. The
Advisory Committee is well suited to conduct this study, drawing upon
the expertise of its 11 members and its experience conducting other
broad studies on financial aid issues. The Advisory Committee also has
the particular mission of examining the impact of these issues on low-
and moderate-income students, a specific goal of the study.
    The legislative charge to the Advisory Committee calls for the
study to be conducted in two phases resulting in an interim report and
a final report. In executing the study, the Advisory Committee will:
    Examine options to simplify forms and reduce
data elements;
    Address the student work penalty;
    Make recommendations on ways to measure the
burden of state and local taxes on Expected Family Contribution (EFC);
    Discuss ways to provide students with an early
notification of eligibility.
    The interim report will be complete six months from the enactment
of the bill and will focus on legislative recommendations. The second
phase of the study, which will yield a final report one year from
enactment, will address regulatory and administrative solutions to
financial aid simplification. The Advisory Committee will consult with
a wide range of interested parties, and will also consult a forms
design expert.
    The Advisory Committee initiated the simplification study with a
hearing on February 5, 2004. At this hearing, the Advisory Committee
heard from Congress, the Department of Education, members of the higher
education community, and representatives of the early intervention and
outreach community about their perspectives on simplification.
    The Advisory Committee has two regional field hearings scheduled to
gather additional feedback about financial aid simplification. The
Advisory Committee will conduct hearings at the University of Illinois
at Chicago (UIC) on March 30, 2004, and at the Fashion Institute of
Design and Merchandising (FIDM), Los Angeles Campus, on April 15, 2004.
    The Advisory Committee invites the public to submit written
comments and recommendations to the following e-mail address:

ADV_COMSFA@ed.gov
. Information regarding the simplification study will also
be available on the Advisory Committee's web site,
 http://www.ed.gov/ACSFA


Study Questions and Goals

Can Federal Need Analysis Be Simplified and Improved?

    Can the methodology used to calculate the
expected family contribution (EFC) be simplified without significant
adverse effects on program intent, costs, integrity, delivery, and
distribution of awards?
    Can the number of data elements, and,
accordingly, the number and complexity of questions asked of students
and families, used to calculate the EFC be reduced without significant
adverse effects on program intent, costs, integrity, delivery, and
distribution of awards?
    Are the procedures for determining the data
elements used to calculate the EFC, including determining and updating
offsets and allowances, the most efficient
, effective, and fair means
to determine a family's available income and assets?
    Is the methodology used to calculate the EFC,
specifically the consideration of income earned by a dependent student
and its effect on Pell Grant eligibility, an effective and fair means
to determine a family's available income and a student's need?

Can Federal Student Air Delivery Be Streamlined and Improved?

    Can the nature and timing of the FAFSA,
eligibility and award determination, financial aid processing, and
funds delivery be streamlined further for students and families,
institutions, and States?
    Is it feasible to allow students to complete
only those limited sections of the FAFSA that apply to their specific
circumstances and the State in which they reside?
    Can a widely disseminated printed form, or the
use of an Internet or other electronic means, be developed to notify
individuals of an estimation of their approximate eligibility for
grant, work-study, and loan assistance upon completion and verification
of the simplified application form?
    Can in formation provided on other Federal forms
that are designed to determine eligibility for various Federal need-
based assistance programs be used to qualify potential students for the
simplified needs test?
    This document is intended to notify the general public

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before April 23, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Send all comments about the simplification study to the
Advisory Committee using the following email address:

adv_COMSFA@ed.gov
.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Brian K. Fitzgerald, Staff
Director, Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, Capitol
Place, 80 F Street, NW., Suite 413, Washington, DC 20202-7582, (202)
219-2099.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the
Simplification Study

    On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or
print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs
assistance to review comments or other documents. Although we will
attempt to meet a request we receive, we may not be able to make
available the requested auxiliary aid or service because of
insufficient time to arrange it.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: To ensure that your comments have maximum
effect in developing the final recommendations to Congress and the
Secretary of Education, we urge you to identify clearly the specific
study questions and goals that each of your comments addresses and to
arrange your comments in the same order as indicated in the study
announcement.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public
comments about the simplification study at Capitol Place, 80 F Street,
NW., Suite 413, Washington, DC between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., eastern
time, Monday through Friday (excluding Federal holidays). You may also
view comments on the Advisory Committee simplification study at http://www.ed.gov/ACSFA
.

 

    Dated: March 1, 2004.
Dr. Brian K. Fitzgerald,
Staff Director, Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance.

Last Modified: 03/18/2004