ICYMI: New FAFSA Form, Financial Aid Overhaul Senator Murray Negotiated to Go Live by End-of-Year

New FAFSA form could make financial aid application a 10-minute process

Changes Murray fought for to help 1.5 million more students receive the maximum Pell Grant—including over 23k students in Washington state

Senator Murray: “This is a significant overhaul that will mean fewer headaches over paperwork and more aid reaching more students.”

Washington, D.C. – In case you missed it: on Wednesday, the Biden administration announced that the new, simplified, and streamlined Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form will be available to students and families by the end of the year and other reforms that Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) negotiated will take effect—helping 610,000 more students from low-income backgrounds receive Pell Grants and 1.5 million more students access the maximum Pell Grant.

As the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), in 2020, Senator Murray successfully negotiated—and got signed into law—bipartisan legislation to reform the financial aid application process, simplify the FAFSA form for students and parents, and significantly expand eligibility for federal aid. Now, the changes are taking effect—making the financial aid application process easier to navigate for families and getting more federal support to more students.

“The financial aid process has long been too complicated and cumbersome. The Biden administration’s announcement that the new FAFSA form will become available before the new year is an important step in implementing the reforms I negotiated, which are going to make a big difference for students and families in Washington state and across the country,” Senator Murray said of the announcement. “While I wish it could have been rolled out sooner, the new, streamlined FAFSA form will make it quicker and easier for students and parents to apply for aid. This and the changes I fought to get signed into law will significantly expand access to aid—including by helping 1.5 million more students receive the maximum Pell Grant.”

“There’s a lot more we must do to put a higher education within reach for every student, but this is a significant overhaul that will mean fewer headaches over paperwork and more aid reaching more students—and as the Department works to implement these reforms, it’s critical it continues to communicate clearly and ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible,” she added.

Here are some highlights of what the changes will mean for students and families across the country:

CNBC: The new FAFSA rolls out soon—and 1.5 million more students will have maximum Pell Grant eligibility

Yahoo! Finance: Over 610,000 more college students will qualify for crucial grants after key changes to financial aid form

ABC News: Overhaul of widely used college financial aid form could make it a 10-minute process

New York Times: “The federal government will expand eligibility for federal aid in the biggest overhaul in decades.”


The bipartisan FAFSA Simplification Act that Senator Murray negotiated was signed into law in December 2020. In particular, Senator Murray secured policies that, among other things:

  • Restore Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated individuals, students who have been defrauded, and students with drug-related offenses;
  • Significantly expand who is eligible to receive Pell Grants and the maximum award; simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);
  • Make the financial aid process easier to navigate for students experiencing homelessness and students formerly in foster care.

Learn more about the changes Senator Murray secured HERE.