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

The U.S. Department of Education will not be opening next year’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) to public comment or making substantive changes to this past cycle’s form.

“To ensure a smooth user experience during the upcoming FAFSA cycle, the 2025–26 FAFSA form will remain consistent with the 2024–25 form,” department officials wrote in an announcement Monday. “As a result, and similar to previous years when we have not had major shifts in functionality, the 2025–26 form will not be made available for public comment.”

The financial aid community will be allowed to provide feedback outside the normal public comment period, during a series of listening sessions the department will hold “over the coming weeks,” according to the announcement. It will also solicit virtual feedback over the summer from those unable to attend the sessions.

The decision eliminates the usual 90-day comment period, increasing the likelihood that the department can meet its Oct. 1 deadline for the new form—which has raised skeptical eyebrows among lawmakers and higher ed professionals alike.

But it also shuts off one of the few public venues for critiquing last year’s FAFSA. That’s frustrating for many financial aid professionals who saw room for improvement in the first version of the new form, said Jill Desjean, senior policy analyst at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

“This isn’t the first time they’ve not made substantial changes,” she wrote in an email to Inside Higher Ed. “But given the magnitude of the changes from this year, I think people would have appreciated the time to comment.”