House Passes Measure to Simplify Student Loan Applications Through Use of Earlier Tax Information

CCH Tax Day Report

The Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Bill (HR 5528) passed the House by voice vote on July 11. The bipartisan bill was approved by the House Education and Workforce Committee on June 22. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The bill, sponsored by Reps. Joe Heck, R-Nev., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., would require the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to allow tax information from the second preceding tax year, otherwise termed as the “prior, prior year,” to determine a student’s financial aid eligibility. The bill would make permanent President Obama’s executive action on September 13, 2015, Rep. Mark Pocan, D- Wis., said in support of the measure.

Under the bill, the IRS would share data of a consenting taxpayer with the ED for completion of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications. Additionally, ED would be required to maintain a technology tool or “app” to allow applicants to complete and submit electronic forms using a mobile device.

Student aid applications can be “confusing and too complex for many students and families to complete,” including questions requiring complicated tax information, Heck said on the House floor. Allowing students to use tax data from two years prior will permit students to complete student aid applications faster and “empower them to make timely financial decisions about their education,” he added.

By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff

Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act, HR 5528

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