January 26, 2024

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 8 - Issue 3

Policy and Advocacy

This Week in Washington

On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an investigation into the Education Department’s (ED) rollout of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2024-25 award year. The FAFSA, typically released on October 1st, experienced numerous delays pushing its release to the end of December with a soft launch of the form that was only available to students for short periods of time. The issues that the lawmakers urge the GAO to investigate include:

  • Whether students and schools faced challenges applying for and administering federal student aid during the initial award cycle for the new FAFSA;
  • What steps ED has taken to identify and address any challenges in preparation for the 2025-26 award cycle;
  • Whether ED has provided students with sufficient information on how to complete the new FAFSA and navigate the application process; and
  • Whether ED provided schools with sufficient guidance and communications for incorporating the FAFSA changes into their own financial aid award processes.


News You Can Use

The Washington Post published an article breaking down student loan debt in America, including data on debt by age group and state of residence.

Experts are preparing for more student loan changes in 2024, such as SAVE plan monthly payments becoming capped at five percent of a borrower's discretionary income in July, the expiration of payment "on-ramp" in September, and additional Pell Grant funding for the 2024-25 academic year.

A poll of 1,000 graduate and professional students revealed that 94 percent of students would support requiring institutions to be more transparent about debt and borrowing, including information on how much students typically owe in debt compared to what they earn.

Recent Legislation

There were no relevant student-aid related bills recently introduced for consideration by the 118th Congress (2023-24).