Democratic Lawmakers Aim to Help Students Without Access to Parental Information Complete the FAFSA – NASFAA
The FAFSA Fairness Act of 2019—a bicameral bill that would offer some of the country’s most vulnerable students a streamlined process for completing the FAFSA when they cannot provide parental information—was introduced Thursday in the Senate by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and in the House by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
The bill would allow students who are unable to provide parent information because of situations such as parental abandonment, abuse, or neglect, and would be likely to meet the criteria for a dependency override, to submit their FAFSA after answering a single screening question, as a “provisionally independent” student. The student would receive an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) and estimated Pell Grant award amount based on the provisional independent status. The student’s Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) would indicate the provisional status, and schools would be required to reach out to admitted students to discuss the next steps for applying for a dependency override. Currently, a FAFSA submitted without parent information would be rejected, and the student would receive no EFC or Pell eligibility information on the Student Aid Report (SAR).