On January 7, US Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), the new chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, introduced the Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency (FAST) Act. The FAST Act, cosponsored by US Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), was also introduced last summer. It is intended to simplify the federal financial aid system, improve transparency, and increase access.
The FAST Act would eliminate the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), replacing it with only two questions (family size and household income). It would also establish a one-grant/one-loan program eliminating the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program, subsidized Stafford loans, and the Federal Perkins Loan program. It would restore the year-round Pell Grant, prorate loans based on enrollment status, and reduce repayment plans to either an income-based or a 10-year plan. Finally, it would offer aid administrators the authority to limit loan amounts with thorough documentation.
More information about the act is available on the US Senate HELP Committee’s website.