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Abstract

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a complex form completed by millions of postsecondary students each year to apply for federal financial aid. A significant number of completed forms contain errors that necessitate multiple submissions. The article describes some cognitive psychology principles and methods that have allowed researchers to describe how people understand text and complete forms. Suggestions are offered for how these methods might be applied to the redesign of the FAFSA in order to decrease completion errors.

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