Ranking Member Scott Urges ED to Prevent Further Delays in FAFSA Processing

WASHINGTON – Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) raised concerns with the Department of Education (Department) over delays in implementing the simplified Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2024-2025 award year.

“While I am pleased that the Department met its statutory requirement to launch the FAFSA to students before the January 1 deadline, I am concerned that the majority of FAFSA processing will continue to be delayed this year,” Ranking Member Scott wrote.  “The overarching goal of simplifying the FAFSA was to make the application process for federal student aid easier, fairer, and more effective for working families.  While I recognize the tremendous undertaking of implementing the multitude of FAFSA changes, the announced delays will make accessing affordable higher education more challenging for students.  As a key negotiator of the FAFSA Simplification Act, I will continue to advocate for the successful implementation of FAFSA changes.”

In 2020, then-Chairman Scott secured passage of the bipartisan FAFSA Simplification Act to improve the federal student aid system for students and their families.  These reforms include streamlining the FAFSA application process, making the formulas used to calculate federal financial aid more generous, and expanding access to Pell Grants for low-income families and incarcerated students.

Unfortunately, budget and capacity restraints have caused delays in the Department’s implementation of the reforms in the FAFSA Simplification Act.  While the Department opened the FAFSA application for students at the end of 2023, the ongoing processing delays will prevent institutions from promptly finalizing aid packages.  Moreover, the delays could limit the time and information students and families have to make critical decisions about their education as well as harm students who submit paper forms for FAFSA.

Ranking Member Scott requested information regarding the Department’s plans to address the delays in FAFSA implementation and support students and families.  This includes its plans to adjust the Income Protection Allowance—which ensures that a portion of a family’s income does not count against its financial aid eligibility—for inflation, as directed by the FAFSA Simplification Act.

Read the full text of the letter here.


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