The Institute for College Access & Success

Grantee-College-Access-Success

THE INSTITUTE FOR COLLEGE ACCESS & SUCCESS

 

ISSUE:
FAFSA and program simplification

TOTAL AWARDED:
$75,762

PROJECT PERIOD:
June – October 2016

ADVISORY COMMITTEE VOTE:
Yes-7 / No-3 / Maybe-0 / 2 absent

Grantee/Project Background:

An independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) focuses on how financial aid policies and practices can better support college affordability, enrollment and completion for low-income students, nationally and in California.  For this project, we will raise awareness of and advocate for reducing the added “verification” paperwork that delays or prevents some eligible students from receiving available aid after having filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  TICAS will partner via subgrant with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) and the National College Access Network (NCAN) to engage and elevate the voices of financial aid officers and college access practitioners who work directly with students. The primary advocacy activities will be collecting new survey data, storytelling, and policymaker education.

Advocacy Activities:

  • Design and implement a NASFAA member survey
  • Conduct a focus group of financial aid administrators at annual NASFAA conference
  • Conduct structured conference calls with NCAN members and a meeting at annual NCAN conference
  • Produce an issue brief showing how the seemingly technical issue of FAFSA verification affects the lives of students and those who work directly with them in the federal financial aid process, and how it factors into FAFSA simplification
  • Develop a communications strategy to share compelling practitioner and student stories and disseminate the survey findings and issue brief Hold an open Capitol Hill briefing — featuring practitioner voices — for congressional staff and others interested in FAFSA simplification

Timeline:

June – July 2016

Design and implement NASFAA member survey

Conduct focus group of financial aid administrators at NASFAA conference

Conduct conference calls with NCAN members

 

August – October 2016

Conduct meeting with members at NCAN conference

Produce and disseminate issue brief

Hold Capitol Hill briefing