WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, along with U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS) held a press conference to discuss the Biden administration’s failure to properly implement the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) program. These delays prevent students and families from accessing crucial financial aid information as they choose the college they can afford to attend.
At the press conference, Cassidy announced that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has begun an investigation into the Department of Education’s (DeptEd) incompetent mishandling of FAFSA following a bicameral request from Republican lawmakers last week.
Cassidy also announced that today his office launched a website hotline for students, guidance counselors, college admissions faculty, financial aid administrators and others to report issues they have had with the FAFSA process. Those who have experienced complications with FAFSA can access the hotline at www.help.senate.gov/FAFSA.
Additionally, Cassidy highlighted the severe impacts of the botched FAFSA rollout, including high school counselors being forced to postpone crucial financial aid information sessions to assist students and families through the FAFSA process. Colleges are also unable to provide students with financial aid offers due to a lack of information from DeptEd.
“In the last three years, the Biden administration’s Department of Education has put considerable time and resources to prioritize their student loan schemes,” said Dr. Cassidy. “But they’ve been unable to fulfill their basic responsibilities mandated by Congress and essential to American families.”
“The biggest concern is for those high school students who are just now attending college for the first time who have not been through this before,” continued Dr. Cassidy. “Many students will likely forgo college because they do not know if they can afford it.”
“President Biden and Secretary Cardona, you need to explain why the American people are having to live with the consequences of this administration’s upside-down priorities,” continued Dr. Cassidy.
This week, the Biden administration announced that it will delay the transmission of FAFSA information to colleges and universities until mid-March. Given that the transmission of FAFSA information to schools was supposed to begin in January, these further delays create the real likelihood that many students will forgo college because they cannot choose a school without knowing their eligibility for student aid.
Click here to watch the full press conference.
Click here to download the full press conference.