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H.R. 5528 (114th): Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 20, 2016.

Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act

This bill amends title IV (Student Assistance) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require the Department of Education (ED) to use tax information from the second preceding tax year (the "prior, prior year") to determine a student's financial aid eligibility. It requires data sharing between ED and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), pursuant to taxpayer consent.

The bill revises the annual adjustment percentage calculation used to determine the total maximum Federal Pell Grant award by measuring inflation over the most recent fiscal year instead of calendar year.

ED must develop and maintain a consumer-tested technology tool to allow a federal financial aid applicant to complete and submit electronic forms (e.g., the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) using a mobile device. Additionally, ED must make every effort to use IRS data to automatically populate the electronic forms with tax return information.