AUSTIN, Texas — A total of $2.6 billion in financial aid was left on the table because the application forms were too complicated to fill out, according to Congressman Lloyd Doggett, who represents part of Austin.
Rep. Doggett and other community leaders – like Austin ISD Trustee Arati Singh, Gilbert Zavala with the Austin Chamber of Commerce and Austin Buchan with Austin Forward – want to make the financial aid process more accessible for students.
They gathered for a press conference on Saturday at Akins Early College High School in South Austin to promote Doggett's bills aimed at simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process.
The Equitable Student Aid Access Act makes it easier for low-income students to qualify for Pell Grants, ensures more students can receive those grants and ensures that students can compare information about college cost and financial options.
Right now, Doggett and other community leaders say the Pell Grant process is 10 pages long and hard to fill out. That's why the Austin Chamber of Commerce asked the congressman to get involved a decade ago.
"It's a multi-page – many, many questions. I'm trying to shorten that and fill in many of the answers before you start, like getting these agencies to share. You ought not have to go to college to be able to complete the college application," Doggett said.
Doggett hopes to get the bills passed and into effect by the 2020 school year.
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