A little over half of all students who were eligible for the Pell Grant were selected for verification in 2015-16.
The procedure, which requires students to submit additional paperwork to prove their income, inserts an extra step into the financial aid process. And in an op-ed published by The Hill this week, Justin Draeger—president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators—voiced concerns that verification keeps some students from attending college.
“The National College Access Network estimates that more than 1 in 5 low-income students selected for verification will experience ‘verification melt’ and never complete the process, effectively preventing them from obtaining the necessary funds to pursue a college degree or certificate,” Draeger wrote.
His suggestion? Fix the FAFSA by importing tax and other information from sources that have already been verified by the federal government.
“Low-income students already face incredible challenges when it comes to preparing for and being accepted into college,” Draeger wrote. “Securing the financial means to pay for that education should not be one of them.”
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