Mar 27, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Education Secretary asks states to help with clunky FAFSA rollout

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona sent a letter to state governors Tuesday asking them to encourage college students and their families to complete federal financial aid applications.

The big picture: The rollout of a new version of FAFSA has been plagued with technical issues and system glitches, causing delays and preventing some students from submitting their applications.

  • In turn, colleges are sending out financial aid package information later than usual, meaning some students may be enrolling at a school without knowing whether they'll able to afford it.

State of play: In the letter, Cardona laid out recommendations for governors to encourage students in their states to complete aid forms and to help schools prepare the financial aid packages.

  • He also asked governors to adjust state financial aid deadlines, budget for potential state grant aid increases and to ensure relevant agencies have the resources to process aid efficiently.
  • Additionally, Cardona requested that states encourage colleges and universities to delay their decision deadlines beyond the traditional May 1 date to ensure students receive their aid packages before they make their decisions.

What he's saying: "I know you are committed to helping students access the college and career pathways that can help them achieve their dreams, expand economic mobility, and meet the workforce demands of your state and our nation," Cardona said in the letter.

  • "Together, we'll deliver a Better FAFSA and transform student financial aid for generations to come," he added.

Zoom out: The unusually chaotic college admissions season is also paired with major changes to standardized testing and is the first application cycle without affirmative action.

  • Colleges and universities are dealing with a larger reckoning as enrollment continues to decline.

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