UNCF Applauds Obama Administration's Announcement to Streamline Federal Student Financial Aid Process

Media Contact:
Ashlei Stevens
UNCF Communications


(WASHINGTON, DC) — Today, President Obama is announcing significant improvements to the process of applying for federal student financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students seeking federal aid for the 2017-18 school year will now be able to apply starting in October 2016 using 2015 family income data, instead of waiting until January 2017 to apply using 2016 family income information.

UNCF has long advocated that the federal government should simplify the complex and confusing federal student financial aid process, which is a barrier to boosting college attendance for low-income students and students of color. According to the U.S. Department of Education, approximately 2 million students who otherwise would qualify for Pell Grants do not receive this vital college financial assistance each year because their families do not complete the 108-question FAFSA.

“UNCF commends today’s announcement by President Obama, which will enable students and families to determine their federal financial aid eligibility earlier and easier,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. “Streamlining federal college assistance programs not only helps low-income college students, it also helps our country and the economy as a whole. This is a significant step in investing in Better Futures for those students who most need a higher education, at a time when college degrees are more essential than ever.”

Individuals with just a high school diploma earn roughly half of what college-educated workers earn, largely consigned to poorly paid jobs that do not provide a path to prosperity. College graduates earn more, save more, pay more taxes  and are unemployed less frequently, making fewer demands on the public purse.

UNCF looks forward to working with the Obama administration and the Congress on additional ways to improve and expand the federal investments needed to ensure that more low-income students of color can complete college.


About UNCF 
UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 21 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.