Washington, D.C. — Today, Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06) announced the introduction of H.R. 4245, the HOPE for FAFSA Act of 2019, which amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to reduce the complexity and length of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) joined McBath in introducing the bill, which has been endorsed by the National College Access Network (NCAN), National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), Young Invincibles, and Excelencia in Education.
“Every hardworking American deserves a chance at an affordable education,” McBath said. “Students and their families spend long hours navigating the over-complicated financial aid process. The HOPE for FAFSA Act will simplify that system and make it easier for our kids to get the financial aid they need. I’m proud to support this legislation to make the college application process easier for American families.”
“Navigating the college application process is hard enough, particularly when you’re the first in your family to attend. Applying for the financial assistance that students in our communities need should not be an added burden, but too often it is. Congress should tear down the barriers that prevent students from applying for financial aid to ensure college accessibility and affordability for everyone. The Hope for FAFSA Act will simplify this process and give more students the opportunity to attend college, including many without the ability to do so otherwise,” said García.
The HOPE for FAFSA Act creates three pathways in the FAFSA application. A student would fall under one of the three based on the family’s or the student’s income level.
- Pathway 1
- These are applicants who received a benefit from a Means-Tested Federal benefit program within the last 24 months, as well as students from families with an adjusted gross income of $34,000 or less.
- Students who fall into this category will have an expected family contribution (EFC) of zero.
- Pathway 2
- An applicant in this category is defined as one who is not required to file any lettered schedule with their federal income tax return, and whose adjusted gross income is less than $60,000. Individuals who file only a Schedule R and/or Schedule EIC are also eligible for Pathway 2 if they meet the income threshold.
- Students in Pathway 2 do not have to answer asset questions on the FAFSA, significantly simplifying the aid application process. The EFC for students in Pathway 2 varies based on the income information they provide for their FAFSA application.
- Pathway 3
- An applicant will be categorized under Pathway 3 if they do not fit into either Pathway 1 or Pathway 2. Income levels of students – or in the case of a dependent, their parent(s)/guardian(s) – for this category will be greater than $60,000.
- The Secretary of the Department of Education will use available asset and income information from the student’s FAFSA to determine their EFC, creating a more efficient process