United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Aug 12, 2020

§ 1087ss.
Simplified needs test
(a)
Simplified application section
(1)
In general

The Secretary shall develop and use an easily identifiable simplified application section as part of the common financial reporting form prescribed under section 1090(a) of this title for families described in subsections (b) and (c) of this section.

(2)
Reduced data requirements
The simplified application form shall—
(A)
in the case of a family meeting the requirements of subsection (b)(1), permit such family to submit only the data elements required under subsection (b)(2) for the purposes of establishing eligibility for student financial aid under this part; and
(B)
in the case of a family meeting the requirements of subsection (c), permit such family to be treated as having an expected family contribution equal to zero for purposes of establishing such eligibility and to submit only the data elements required to make a determination under subsection (c).
(b)
Simplified needs test
(1)
Eligibility
An applicant is eligible to file a simplified form containing the elements required by paragraph (2) if—
(A)
in the case of an applicant who is a dependent student—
(i)
the student’s parents—
(I)
file, or are eligible to file, a form described in paragraph (3);
(II)
certify that the parents are not required to file a Federal income tax return;
(III)
include at least one parent who is a dislocated worker; or
(IV)
received, or the student received, benefits at some time during the previous 24-month period under a means-tested Federal benefit program as defined under subsection (d); and
(ii)
the total adjusted gross income of the parents (excluding any income of the dependent student) is less than $50,000; or
(B)
in the case of an applicant who is an independent student—
(i)
the student (and the student’s spouse, if any)—
(I)
files, or is eligible to file, a form described in paragraph (3);
(II)
certifies that the student (and the student’s spouse, if any) is not required to file a Federal income tax return;
(III)
is a dislocated worker or has a spouse who is a dislocated worker; or
(IV)
received benefits at some time during the previous 24-month period under a means-tested Federal benefit program as defined under subsection (d); and
(ii)
the adjusted gross income of the student (and the student’s spouse, if any) is less than $50,000.
(2)
Simplified test elements
The six elements to be used for the simplified needs analysis are—
(A)
adjusted gross income,
(B)
Federal taxes paid,
(C)
untaxed income and benefits,
(D)
the number of family members,
(E)
the number of family members in postsecondary education, and
(F)
an allowance (A) for State and other taxes, as defined in section 1087oo(c)(2) of this title for dependent students and in section 1087qq(b)(2) of this title for independent students with dependents other than a spouse, or (B) for State and other income taxes, as defined in section 1087pp(b)(2) of this title for independent students without dependents other than a spouse.
(3)
Qualifying forms
In the case of an independent student, the student, or in the case of a dependent student, the family, files a form described in this subsection, or subsection (c), as the case may be, if the student or family, as appropriate, files—
(A)
a form 1040A or 1040EZ (including any prepared or electronic version of such form) required pursuant to title 26;
(B)
a form 1040 (including any prepared or electronic version of such form) required pursuant to title 26, except that such form shall be considered a qualifying form only if the student or family files such form in order to take a tax credit under section 25A of title 26, and would otherwise be eligible to file a form described in subparagraph (A); or
(C)
an income tax return (including any prepared or electronic version of such return) required pursuant to the tax code of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or Palau.
(c)
Zero expected family contribution
The Secretary shall consider an applicant to have an expected family contribution equal to zero if—
(1)
in the case of a dependent student—
(A)
the student’s parents—
(i)
file, or are eligible to file, a form described in subsection (b)(3);
(ii)
certify that the parents are not required to file a Federal income tax return;
(iii)
include at least one parent who is a dislocated worker; or
(iv)
received, or the student received, benefits at some time during the previous 24-month period under a means-tested Federal benefit program as defined under subsection (d); and
(B)
the sum of the adjusted gross income of the parents is less than or equal to $23,000; or
(2)
in the case of an independent student with dependents other than a spouse—
(A)
the student (and the student’s spouse, if any)—
(i)
files, or is eligible to file, a form described in subsection (b)(3);
(ii)
certifies that the student (and the student’s spouse, if any) is not required to file a Federal income tax return;
(iii)
is a dislocated worker or has a spouse who is a dislocated worker; or
(iv)
received benefits at some time during the previous 24-month period under a means-tested Federal benefit program as defined under subsection (d); and
(B)
the sum of the adjusted gross income of the student and spouse (if appropriate) is less than or equal to $23,000.
An individual is not required to qualify or file for the earned income credit in order to be eligible under this subsection. The Secretary shall annually adjust the income level necessary to qualify an applicant for the zero expected family contribution. The income level shall be adjusted according to increases in the Consumer Price Index, as defined in section 1087rr(f) of this title.
(d)
Definitions
In this section:
(1)
Dislocated worker

The term “dislocated worker” has the meaning given the term in section 3102 of title 29.

(2)
Means-tested Federal benefit program
The term “means-tested Federal benefit program” means a mandatory spending program of the Federal Government, other than a program under this subchapter, in which eligibility for the program’s benefits, or the amount of such benefits, are determined on the basis of income or resources of the individual or family seeking the benefit, and may include such programs as—
(A)
the supplemental security income program under title XVI of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1381 et seq.);
(B)
the supplemental nutrition assistance program under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.);
(C)
the free and reduced price school lunch program established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.);
(D)
the program of block grants for States for temporary assistance for needy families established under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.);
(E)
the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children established by section 1786 of title 42; and
(F)
other programs identified by the Secretary.
(Pub. L. 89–329, title IV, § 479, as added Pub. L. 99–498, title IV, § 406(a), Oct. 17, 1986, 100 Stat. 1472; amended Pub. L. 100–50, § 14(23)–(25), June 3, 1987, 101 Stat. 352; Pub. L. 100–369, § 7(c), July 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 837; Pub. L. 102–26, § 11, Apr. 9, 1991, 105 Stat. 129; Pub. L. 102–325, title IV, § 471(a), July 23, 1992, 106 Stat. 604; Pub. L. 103–208, § 2(g)(10)–(15), Dec. 20, 1993, 107 Stat. 2472; Pub. L. 105–244, title IV, § 477, Oct. 7, 1998, 112 Stat. 1731; Pub. L. 109–171, title VIII, § 8018(a), Feb. 8, 2006, 120 Stat. 174; Pub. L. 110–84, title VI, § 602(a), Sept. 27, 2007, 121 Stat. 804; Pub. L. 110–234, title IV, § 4002(b)(1)(A), (B), (2)(N), May 22, 2008, 122 Stat. 1095–1097; Pub. L. 110–246, § 4(a), title IV, § 4002(b)(1)(A), (B), (2)(N), June 18, 2008, 122 Stat. 1664, 1857, 1858; Pub. L. 111–39, title IV, § 406(a)(4), July 1, 2009, 123 Stat. 1948; Pub. L. 112–74, div. F, title III, § 309(b), Dec. 23, 2011, 125 Stat. 1100; Pub. L. 113–128, title V, § 512(n)(2), July 22, 2014, 128 Stat. 1710.)
cite as: 20 USC 1087ss