Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (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. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.
The determination of need and eligibility are for the following Title IV,
Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education (hereafter “the Department”), subsequently developed an application process to collect and process the data necessary to determine a student's eligibility to receive Title IV, HEA program assistance. The application process involves an applicant's submission of the
The Department seeks OMB approval of all application components as a single “collection of information”. The aggregate burden will be accounted for under OMB Control Number 1845-0001. The specific application components, descriptions and submission methods for each are listed in Table 1.
This information collection also documents an estimate of the annual public burden as it relates to the application process for federal student aid. The Applicant Burden Model (ABM), measures applicant burden through an assessment of the activities each applicant conducts in conjunction with other applicant characteristics and in terms of burden, the average applicant's experience. Key determinants of the ABM include:
The total number of applicants that will potentially apply for federal student aid;
How the applicant chooses to complete and submit the FAFSA (e.g., by paper or electronically via FOTW);
How the applicant chooses to submit any corrections and/or updates (e.g., the paper SAR or electronically via FOTW Corrections);
The type of SAR document the applicant receives (eSAR, SAR acknowledgment, or paper SAR);
The formula applied to determine the applicant's expected family contribution (EFC) (full need analysis formula, Simplified Needs Test or Automatic Zero); and
The average amount of time involved in preparing to complete the application.
The ABM is largely driven by the number of potential applicants for the application cycle. The total application projection for 2013-2014 is based upon two factors—estimates of the total enrollment in all degree-granting institutions and the percentage change in FAFSA submissions for the last completed or almost completed application cycle. The ABM is also based on the application options available to students and parents. The Department accounts for each application component based on web trending tools, survey information, and other Department data sources.
For 2013-2014, the Department is reporting a net burden reduction of 3,398,000 hours. The reduction is a reflection of the effects of simplifying FAFSA on the Web, which is utilized by the majority of applicants who apply for aid. Simplification of the application is demonstrated by (1) the average completion times for initial submissions and; (2) fewer corrections being made to the application.
The projected average completion times for initial submissions has decreased by 11 minutes for 2013-14. In data reported in the 2012-2013 supporting statement, first-time filers using FOTW would take approximately 1.30 hours (78 minutes) to submit an application. The data from 2011-12 indicate that the same user would be able to submit their application in 1.12 hours (67 minutes), reducing their burden by .18 hours (11 minutes).
Corrections are also projected to decrease by 760,696 responses for 2013-14. Fewer corrections mean that more comprehensive and accurate data was captured in the initial submission of the application. Updated completion times were calculated for each component and have been used to estimate the burden, excluding the change in the applicant volume. The results demonstrate that the burden for all applicants would have decreased by almost 13 percent or 3,758,702 hours, if the application volume had remained constant.
If the Department had not simplified the application process, thus reducing the time required to complete the FAFSA, the new burden estimates would only need to account for the change in applicants. The 1.43% increase in applicants would result in an increase in burden of 347,945 hours.
Accounting for both the increase in total applicants and the decrease in individual applicant burden, the net change is an overall decrease of almost 12 percent or 3,398,000 hours. The following Table shows the net burden change and total cost for applicants. The change in total annual responses is also listed in the Table. Total annual responses include the original FAFSA submission and corrections.
The Department takes pride in the continued efforts to simplify the FAFSA submission process and the continued decrease in burden associated with the application process, even as the Department serves more students each year. The results confirm the significant improvements that have been made to the application process. The Department