Obama eyes earlier student financial aid applications
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President Obama is changing the federal grant system to allow college students to apply for financial aid earlier, the White House announced on Sunday.

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Students applying for aid in 2017 will now be able to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as October 1, 2016. Under the old system, students would have had to wait for January to submit the FAFSA.

Students will also be able to electronically retrieve tax information filed for an earlier year, instead of waiting until tax season to complete their applications.

The administration estimates there are 2 million current college students who would be eligible for a Pell Grant but have never applied for aid.

The White House hopes the changes will allow more students to qualify for grants.

The president will announce the plan at a meeting with high school students in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday.

The announcement comes on the heels of the Obama administration’s new College Scorecard, a program that allows students to search for the right university based on a number of return-on-investment metrics, such as average starting income upon graduation.

Obama has made higher education reform one of the staples of his second term in office.

He recently traveled with Vice President Biden’s wife, Jill, to tout a plan to subsidize community college.