You have /5 articles left.
Sign up for a free account or log in.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is calling on the Department of Education to offer “clear guidance and communication” to students and families ahead of the launch of a new “simplified” Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, according to a statement from a congressional spokesperson.

The group, led by Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine and Washington Democrat Patty Murray, is asking, among other things, for a definitive launch date for the much-delayed new FAFSA. As of now the form is set to be released before the end of the year—with the caveat that processing delays could extend turnaround time, sparking worries that students may not receive their financial aid offers with enough time to make informed decisions about where to attend college. (This paragraph has been updated with the correct names of the group's leaders.)

“We understand that overhauling the current application and reconfiguring the federal student aid system requires significant time, preparation, and resources. However, despite a one-year delay in the implementation process, the Department recently announced the new FAFSA will be available to students by December 31, 2023, with no indication of an actual date,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter. “We fear the most vulnerable students will be negatively impacted by these delays.”

FAFSA simplification has been the subject of anxious anticipation and frustration from financial aid officers and admissions professionals across higher ed. It is expected to expand Pell Grant access to more students and make the filing process more accessible for low-income applicants, but it may also reduce aid for many families, especially small business owners and those with multiple children in college.