Skip to content

NEWS: Bipartisan Committee Leaders in Senate and House Raise Concerns Over Rollout of Next Year’s FAFSA

WASHINGTON, May 7 – Bipartisan, bicameral committee leaders in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives urged the Department of Education to prioritize the timely rollout of the 2025-2026 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. FAFSA provides schools with the information they need to produce financial aid offers so students can determine if and how they can afford college.  

This letter comes as the Department of Education has faced serious issues in implementing the new FAFSA program for this current year, 2024-2025. Despite FAFSA normally being ready by October, the new form was not available to students until December 31, 2023. The Department was then delayed for months in getting the correct information to colleges until April. According to the National College Attainment Network, FAFSA applications for 2024-2025 are down 24 percent.  

Specifically, the lawmakers expressed concerns that the Department is again behind on regularly scheduled actions to ensure FAFSA is ready for students in October. The Department has not published the draft FAFSA for 2025-2026 for comment, which is normally done in February or March.  

Additionally, the Department of Education has told congressional staff that it is not ready to talk about next year or any new plans to add more substantive consumer testing to help prevent future errors. The lawmakers emphasized that any delays in FAFSA implementation for next year could prevent another class of students and families from accessing crucial financial aid information as they choose the college they can afford to attend.   

The letter was signed by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Bill Cassidy M.D. (R-La.), ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee, Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Susan Collins (R-Maine), vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), chair of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Subcommittee, and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), ranking member of the Senate Labor-HHS Subcommittee. They are joined by Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chair of the House Education and the Workforce (E&W) Committee, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.), ranking member of the House E&W Committee, Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, and Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), chair of the House Labor-HHS Subcommittee.  

“We are joining together as a bipartisan group of authorizing and appropriations committee leadership to express our concerns with the number of errors and delays in the implementation of the new FAFSA. We urge the Department to take steps to ensure these problems do not occur again for the 2025-2026 school year,” wrote the lawmakers. “The rocky implementation of the new FAFSA caused a financial aid traffic jam with weighty implications for students... These barriers pose added challenges to students and families entering higher education this year and make it less likely that current students will continue in their college journey this year and in the years ahead.” 

“We implore you to ensure the next application cycle for the 2025-2026 FAFSA goes smoothly,” continued the lawmakers. “Further, given the leadership transition within the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) we urge you to demonstrate hands-on management and a thorough review of actions within FSA in order to rectify the failures of this FAFSA cycle.” 

Read the full letter here.