[Federal Register: November 2, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 211)]
[Page 59171-59172]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Notice of Proposed Information Collection Requests

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Proposed collection; comment request.


SUMMARY: The Secretary of Education requests comments on the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that the Secretary proposed
to use for the 2001-2002 year. The FAFSA is completed by students and
their families and the information submitted on the form is used to
determine the students' eligibility and financial need for financial
aid under the student financial assistance programs authorized under
Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (Title IV,
HEA Programs).

DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before
January 3, 2000.

ADDRESSES: Written comments and requests for copies of the proposed
information collection requests should be addressed to Patrick J.
Sherrill, Department of Education, 600 Independence Avenue, SW, Room
5624, Regional Office Building 3, Washington, DC 20202-4651.
    In addition, interested persons can access this document on the
    (1) Go to IFAP at http://ifap.ed.gov.
    (2) Click on the ``Bookshelf'' or on ``Current SFA Publications''.
    (3) Scroll down and click on ``FAFSAs and Renewal FAFSAs''.
    (4) Click on ``By 2001-2002 Award Year''.
    (5) Click on ``FAFSA Form/Instructions''.
    Please note that the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software, version
3.0 or greater, is necessary to view this file. This software can be
downloaded for free from Adobe's website: http://www.adobe.com.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patrick J. Sherrill (202) 708-8196.
Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339
between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 483 of the Higher Education Act of
1965, as amended (HEA), requires the Secretary, ``in cooperation with
agencies and organizations involved in providing student financial
assistance,'' to ``produce, distribute and process free of charge a
common financial reporting form to be used to determine the need and
eligibility of a student under'' the Title IV, HEA Programs. This form
is the FAFSA. In addition, Section 483 authorizes the Secretary to
include non-financial data items that assist States in awarding State
student financial assistance.
    The Secretary requests comments on the draft 2001-2002 FAFSA that
has been posted to the IFAP website (see above). In particular, the
Secretary seeks comments on the following changes under consideration
to the 2001-2002 FAFSA. References to the current FAFSA are to the
2000-2001 FAFSA.
    * Revision of ``dependents other than a spouse'' question.
Applicants who have dependents other than a spouse are considered
``independent,'' and are therefore not required to report parental
information on the FAFSA. ``Dependents other than a spouse'' includes,
(1) children supported by the applicant, and (2) non-children
dependents who live with and are supported by the applicant. The
current FAFSA asks for both of these categories of dependents in a
single question. In order to make the application easier to understand,
the Secretary is considering splitting this into two separate
    * Business and investment farm net worth. As part of the
continuing effort to simplify the FAFSA, the Secretary proposes to ask
for business net worth and investment farm net worth in a single
    * Two untaxed income worksheets. The current FAFSA collects
untaxed income information through Worksheet A (and a separate earned
income credit (EIC) question on the form itself). Some states and
schools have indicated that the current Worksheet A is not useful for
identifying particularly needy students. Some untaxed income is an
indicator of need (e.g., welfare benefits, social security benefits)
and some untaxed income is not (e.g., payments to tax-deferred pension
and savings plans, tax exempt interest income). For 2001-2002, the
Secretary proposes to split the current Worksheet A into a ``non-
needy'' untaxed income worksheet

[[Page 59172]]

(Worksheet A) and a ``needy'' untaxed income worksheet (Worksheet B).
The EIC question on the current form would be incorporated into the new
Worksheet B. The current Worksheet B, which collects income exclusions,
would become Worksheet C.

    Note: A school suggested grouping untaxed income items by
whether or not they had a tax form reference. The Secretary solicits
comments on this suggestion in light of the proposed change to the
current Worksheet A, above.

    * Grade level. A school suggested that we add an additional
code to the grade level question to differentiate first-year graduate/
professional students from continuing graduate/professional students.
The Secretary seeks comments on this proposed change.
    In addition to comments on the draft 2001-2002 FAFSA, the Secretary
requests comments on the following issues related to the FAFSA:
    * Special circumstances. We received a suggestion to add a
``check-off block'' to the FAFSA to indicate special circumstances
(e.g., reduced income or dependency issues). The Secretary solicits
comments on this suggestion.
    * Net worth of assets. In the redesign of the 1999-2000
FAFSA, separate value and debt questions about assets were combined
into single net worth questions. The Secretary invites comment on any
effect that this change has made on the delivery of student financial
    * Single identifier. The Secretary is considering switching
from the current, six-digit ``Federal School Code'' to a single, eight-
digit identifier in the ``school codes'' section of the FAFSA (Step
    The Secretary is publishing this request for comment under the
provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et
seq. Under that Act, ED must obtain the review and approval of the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before it may use a form to
collect information. However, under the procedure for obtaining
approval from OMB, ED must first obtain public comment of the proposed
form, and to obtain that comment, ED must publish this notice in the
Federal Register.
    In addition to comments requested above, to accommodate the
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Secretary is
interested in receiving comments with regard to the following matters:
(1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the
Department, (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely
manner, (3) is the estimate of burden accurate, (4) how might the
Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information
to be collected, and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden
of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of
information technology.

    Dated: October 28, 1999.
William E. Burrow,
Leader, Information Management Group, Office of the Chief Information

Office of Postsecondary Education

    Type of Review: Revision.
    Title: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
    Frequency: Annually.
    Affected Public: Individuals and families.
    Reporting and Recordkeeping Burden:

      Responses: 11,134,376
      Burden Hours: 7,073,050

    Abstract: The FAFSA collects identifying and financial information
about a student applying for Title IV, Higher Education Act (HEA)
Program funds. This information is used to determine the student's
financial need. The information is also used to determine the student's
eligibility for grants and loans under the Title IV, HEA Programs. It
is further used for determining a student's eligibility for State and
institutional financial aid programs.

[FR Doc. 99-28640 Filed 11-1-99; 8:45 am]