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After years of complaints and prodding, President Barack Obama on Monday unveiled a new streamlined process for college students and their parents applying for financial aid, reports CNN Money.

The change gives families an earlier and more exact forecast for their anticipated financial aid and college costs, according to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, which for years has urged the administration to make the change, the report says.

From CNN Money:

Starting next year, students can file the free nationwide financial aid application (known as FAFSA) as soon as October 1, using tax data from the previous year. The FAFSA determines whether a student is eligible for federal aid — like Pell grants and loans — as well as scholarships from their state and school. It’s based on a family’s income and how much the school costs.

Currently, students have to wait until at least January to file, and they must “base their answers on income information that will be submitted on tax forms due in the coming April,” which requires stressful guesswork, says CNN.

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An estimated 2 million students “who are currently enrolled in college would be eligible for a Pell Grant, but didn’t get the aid because they never filed the FAFSA” due to the deadline.

SOURCE: CNN Money | VIDEO SOURCE: NDN

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