Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who was in Memphis on Thursday, said he wants greater access to financial aid for college students.

Sen. Alexander hosted a forum on simplifying the process for applying and receiving federal aid. He said the long form is too complex and discourages students.

In June the senior senator from the Volunteer State proposed the fast act or financial aid simplification and transparency act. Its two questions are focusing on family size and income reported to the IRS.

"It's 95-percent of what we need to know in order to provide grant for aid for students to go to Southwest Tennessee Community College or to any of the other nine public or private colleges in Memphis and Shelby County," he said.

Almost 80,000 Shelby County students apply for financial aid every year.