SIX EASY STEPS
In 2009, President Obama called for a simplification of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), resulting in the average family completing the FAFSA in 20 minutes. Yet, during the 2013-2014 college application season, nearly 900,000 Pell Grant-eligible high school graduates did not complete the FAFSA, leaving $2.9 billion in Pell Grant funds unclaimed (Sen-Gupta, 2015). Subsequently, researchers have investigated the hurdles of FAFSA completion, however, no extant research has examined whether institutional financial aid application instructions are readable, an element of the application process which seems logical to scrutinize. This study examines financial aid application instructions of 300 randomly-selected U.S. institutions to answer the primary research question, “At what reading comprehension level do institutions compose financial aid application instructions?” Findings indicate 75% of financial aid application instructions are unreadable by high school graduates of average reading comprehension ability, with 41% of instructions written at or above a 14th-grade reading comprehension level. Implications for practitioners and future research are addressed.
Taylor, Zachary W.
"Six Easy Steps: Do Aspiring College Students Understand How to Apply for Financial Aid?,"
Journal of Student Financial Aid: Vol. 48
, Article 1.
Available at: https://ir.library.louisville.edu/jsfa/vol48/iss3/1