Educators, advocates, Hill staffers, and students gathered in Washington, DC, earlier this month to learn more about efforts by the National College Access Network (NCAN) to simplify the Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA).
For example, on one track, once a student has confirmed that their family earns a means-tested benefit such as SNAP (food assistance) or TANF (cash assistance), they are automatically sent to the signature portion of the form.
Scraping up enough money to purchase textbooks weighs heavily on the minds of many college students, according to staffers at New America.
The Washington, DC-based think tank convened students and parents this fall for a series of focus groups. The gatherings offered participants the opportunity to share their opinions about higher education and student success.
“Students and parents alike had a lot to say about the cost of tuition and the institutions themselves, and offered policy ideas they believed could alleviate some of the things that weren’t working,” New America staff members Ernest Ezeugo and Manuela Ekowo wrote in a recent blog post. “But when students were asked what they thought the most problematic aspects of college were, it was the cost of textbooks that most animated the room.”