FR Doc E8-19918[Federal Register: August 28, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 168)]
[Notices]               
[Page 50785-50786]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr28au08-36] 
      
               


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Notice of Proposed Information Collection Requests

AGENCY: Department of Education.

SUMMARY: The Secretary of Education requests comments on the Free 
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that the Secretary proposes 
to use for the 2009-2010 award 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).
    The Department acknowledges the recent passage of the Higher 
Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 and its instruction to the 
Department to simplify the Federal Student Aid application process, to 
reduce the number of questions on the FAFSA form, to create a FAFSA-EZ 
form, and to revise the form so that it contains consumer friendly 
language as well as take other measures to streamline the process of 
applying for federal student aid. The Department is committed to 
improving the federal student aid application process for individuals 
completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We 
were challenged to incorporate each of the changes required to satisfy 
the intent of Congress in implementing the College Cost Reduction and 
Access Act (CCRAA) and the recently passed post 9/11 legislative 
changes while not losing focus on our customers' need for a simple, 
straightforward application.
    Because 99 percent of student applicants opt to apply 
electronically, much of the Department's recent improvements have 
focused on the FAFSA suite of products. The most heavily used 
application, FAFSA on the Web, maximizes the use of `skip logic' and 
previously submitted FAFSA data, to dramatically reduce the time-to-
complete benchmark for returning customers. New customers have the 
benefit of answering specific questions up front that determine if, for 
example, the student needs to provide additional asset or parental 
information. Students that are eligible to skip asset and/or parental 
questions complete a shorter, more streamlined FAFSA. During 2007-2008, 
the Department launched the use of a `real-time' PIN that enables every 
applicant to electronically sign their FAFSAs during their on-line 
session; eliminating the time consuming process of separately 
requesting, and waiting for the delivery of, a PIN. For the one percent 
of FAFSA applicants that complete the paper FAFSA, the Department has 
simplified the application process by grouping like questions together, 
incorporating previously supplemental worksheets into the application; 
improving the layout of the form; and clearly delineating between 
student and parental questions. For those students that prefer to 
submit a paper FAFSA but don't have access to a pre-printed FAFSA form, 
the Department has created a FAFSA PDF that can be downloaded from the 
Internet and completed, either on a PC or by hand, and mailed to the 
Department. In addition, the Department has created numerous on-line 
and paper sources to assist students with the FAFSA process. The Web 
site Student Aid on the Web (http://www.studentaid.ed.gov) provides a 
vast array of student-centric information on researching colleges, 
finding scholarships, preparing academically, and applying for federal 
student assistance. The FAFSA4caster Web site 
(http://www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov) enables students to obtain an early estimate 
of their eligibility for federal student aid while increasing their 
knowledge of the financial aid process. FAFSA4caster users that opt to 
provide demographic information about themselves can later `pre-
populate' a FAFSA, thereby shortening the application completion time. 
Working with customers, stakeholders, partners and Congress, the 
Department will continue its commitment to further streamline the 
experience for FAFSA applicants into the future.

DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before 
October 27, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted electronically through e-mail to 
FAFSA. Comments@ed.gov. Interested persons can access this document on 
the Internet:
    (1) Go to IFAP at http://ifap.ed.gov.
    (2) Scroll down to ``Publications''.
    (3) Click on ``FAFSAs and Renewal FAFSAs''.
    (4) Click on ``By 2009-2010 Award Year''.
    (5) Click on ``Draft FAFSA Form/Instructions''.
    Please note that the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software, version 
4.0 or greater, is necessary to view this file. This software can be 
downloaded for free from Adobe's Web site: http://www.adobe.com.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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 procedure for obtaining 
approval from OMB, ED must first obtain public comment on 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

[[Page 50786]]

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: August 22, 2008.
Angela C. Arrington,
IC Clearance Official, Regulatory Information Management Services, 
Office of Management.

Office of Postsecondary Education

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

Responses: 17,123,392. Burden Hours: 8,341,867.

    Abstract: 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 for financial assistance * * *'' 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.
    Requests for copies of the proposed information collection request 
may be accessed from http://edicsweb.ed.gov, by selecting the ``Browse 
Pending Collections'' link and clicking on link number 3804. Written 
requests for information should be addressed to U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202-4537. 
Requests may also be electronically mailed to ICDocketMgr@ed.gov or 
faxed to (202) 401-0920. Please specify the complete title of the 
information collection when making your request.
    Comments regarding burden and/or the collection activity 
requirements should be directed to the e-mail address 
ICDocketMgr@ed.gov. 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.

[FR Doc. E8-19918 Filed 8-27-08; 8:45 am]

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