April 02, 2024
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  • FAFSA Fumbles: Biden's Failed Rewrite of Student Aid Programs

    The Biden administration’s rollout of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) keeps getting rockier.

    On March 22, the Department of Education announced that roughly 200,000 student financial aid records sent to schools included errors in the data, resulting in lower aid estimates for those students than they were qualified to receive

    The issue comes after several delays in FAFSA processing wreaked havoc on the college admissions cycle, forcing many institutions to push back their commitment deadlines.  

    This is on top of several calculation errors the Department has made while rolling out its new form, including:

    The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board highlighted how FAFSA’s troubled rollout reveals the administration’s misplaced higher education priorities.

    Word on the Street: 

    Via Wall Street Journal 

    • “The incompetence is hard to believe…Colleges have already pushed back deadlines for students to accept admissions offers to mid-June so they have more time to compare financial-aid awards. Now deadlines may have to be extended again.”
    • “The new FAFSA was supposed to make college more accessible. But only 32.5% of high school seniors had submitted a FAFSA form by March 15, compared to 47.5% at the same time last year. Applications by students who attended low-income high schools were down 38.6%.”
    • Blame the fiasco on federal student aid chief Richard Cordray, who has prioritized canceling some $144 billion in student loans. Last month he called this year’s FAFSA a “better process.” Meantime, he has dunned federal student loan servicers for the government’s chaotic restart of payments after a three-and-a-half-year pandemic pause. He has yet to apologize for any of this. If Mr. Cordray were a CEO, he’d have been sacked long ago, but in government, no one is ever held accountable.”

    The Bottom Line: 

    The Biden administration is more concerned with forgiving hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of student debt than ensuring millions of students are receiving timely and accurate estimates regarding their financial aid. 

    President’s FY25 budget proposal doubles down on his failed education policies and falls short of solving the problems he created:

    • The administration requested a $625 million increase over 2023 enacted levels for the Office of Federal Student Aid to “ensure the successful administration of its financial aid programs, including the (FAFSA), through a simplified and streamlined process for students and borrowers.”  
    • Meanwhile, the President’s budget asks for $290.3 billion to “reduce the cost of and expand access to postsecondary education, and training,” including $90 billion for “free community college.”  
    • In stark contrast, the House Budget Committee’s FY 2025 “Reverse the Curse” budget resolution ends current and future student loan bailouts, ensuring the Department of Education focuses its time and resources on necessary programs, not President Biden’s vote buying scheme.