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Hickenlooper, Colleagues Urge Department of Education to Address FAFSA Rollout Issues 

Feb 21, 2024

WASHINGTON – Recently, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, and Patty Murray, along with 35 other senators, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona urging the department to urgently address the significant delays and operational issues with the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form that impacts millions of students across the country.

“We write today to ask for more clarity on how the Department plans to communicate any further delays in FAFSA processing, and how the Department intends to minimize the potential impact on students and families so they can make the most informed decision possible about their futures, including through providing prompt, clear timelines,” wrote the lawmakers.

In December, the Department of Education released a new FAFSA form – almost three months later than normal. Due to the delayed FAFSA forms, the Department won’t begin notifying the 17 million students who are expected to fill out the FAFSA forms until March, instead of the typical January, which puts schools in a difficult situation when determining the financial aid for students. Some colleges have already pushed back their decision deadlines as a result.

“Any delays in financial aid processing will most impact the students that need aid most, including many students of color, students from mixed status families, students from rural backgrounds, students experiencing homelessness or in foster care, first-generation students, and students from underserved communities,” continued the lawmakers. “…it is imperative that we all work together to ensure no student falls through the cracks or faces unnecessary challenges in accessing the aid they are due.”

Every year, about 17 million students fill out the FAFSA form to access the financial aid needed to help manage the skyrocketing costs of higher education. In 2020, Congress passed the bipartisan FAFSA Simplification Act to make the federal student financial aid process more efficient and straightforward. As a result, the 2024-2025 FAFSA form will ensure 610,000 more students from low-income backgrounds will be eligible to receive a federal Pell Grant, and 1.5 million more students will be eligible to receive a maximum Pell award.

Full text of the letter available HERE.  


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