Families Paying for FAFSA Assistance, Obama Calls for Change

Most everyone agrees that something is very wrong with the six-page federal form (FAFSA) for families seeking help with college costs.

Created in 1992 to simplify applying for financial aid, it has become so intimidating — with more than 100 questions — that critics say it scares off the very families most in need, preventing some teenagers from going to college.

Then, too, some families have begun paying for professional help with the form, known as the Fafsa, a situation that experts say indicates just how far awry the whole process has gone.

“We’re getting thousands of calls a day,” said Craig V. Carroll, chief executive of Student Financial Aid Services Inc., whose fafsa.com charges $80 to $100 to fill out the form. “Our calls for the month of January are up about 35 percent from last year. There’s been a huge increase in the desperation of families.” Read more at New York Times.

You can also read more about this topic in an op-ed piece at the LA Times. In which Karin Klein explains:

The form is so complicated (and repetitious) that President Obama has promised to eliminate it, parents pay $80 or so to have a company fill it out for them, and people with more money than most of us pay $1.500 to have really smart people fill it out really well, money they should then be forced to match in the form of a donation to the university of their choice.

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