Alexander advocates for simplification of student loan application

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said his recent proposal to streamline federal student loan applications from 108 questions to two would help prevent processing errors by the U.S. Department of Education.

Alexander, the senior Republican on the Senate’s Education Committee, made the proposal with Sen. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.). 

Recent errors caused the education department to reprocess more than 340,000 forms, delaying aid for students. Last week, around 160,000 applications showed incorrect income data, which the department needs to revise in order to determine eligibility. This follows a wave of 180,000 applications with similar problems that caused a delay in July.

“It’s hard enough to go to college without having to wade through answering 108 questions, 106 of which are unnecessary, and then have to waste time and money redoing the application forms because the department itself can’t keep up with the complexity,” Alexander said. “Our proposal to cut the federal form from 108 questions to two would help prevent the errors that may delay financial aid to 5,000 Tennessee families.”

The bipartisan proposal seeks to reduce the application to a simple postcard with just two questions. It is hoped that the simplified process would allow for financial aid to be received year-round, discourage over-borrowing and simplify repayment.