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The Department of Education is temporarily changing its federal student aid verification process to focus only on identity theft and fraud during the 2021-22 application cycle. This change is designed to help alleviate the challenges faced by students in obtaining financial aid and increase enrollment of students of color and low-income students.

Generally, the department requires some federal student aid applicants who are eligible for Pell Grants to submit additional documents—such as income tax returns, W-2 forms, and 1099 forms—to verify that their income and other information are reported in their Apply for Federal Student Aid for free.process Tends to add extra burden In the process of financial aid, and disproportionately affect low-income students and students of color, because non-Pell grant recipients are not selected for income verification.

“We need to ensure that students have the most direct way to obtain the financial assistance they need to enter the university and continue to study for a degree,” said Richard Cordray, Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid. In release“In this assistance cycle, we will focus verification on identity theft and fraud to ensure that we meet the immediate needs of students, continue to protect the integrity of the Federal Pell Grant Program, and reduce barriers to entry for underserved students.”

Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, pointed out in a statement that the verification process affected groups of students who were also affected by the pandemic, which emphasized the need for temporary changes.

“This unique behavior of the Ministry of Education provides students and schools with comprehensive relief when they need it most, and will provide rapid financial assistance to students who are trapped in bureaucratic red tape,” Dräger said.

Kim Cook, executive director of the National College Attainment Network, emphasized how simplified FAFSA verification can help students, faculty and staff.

Cook said in a statement: “This relief also helps our consultants and school counselors to better focus their time on outreach and support students to achieve their higher education goals.” “This is especially important. , Because we seek to recover from the historical decline in college enrollment of students from low-income backgrounds by more than 10%.”

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