Biden’s education secretary issues apology for FAFSA rollout amidst growing concerns for next year

For some individuals, it might already be too late, but the head of education in the Biden administration expressed regret on Tuesday for the reduction in accessibility to college financial aid for certain students this year.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona issued an apology to students and families due to a string of serious delays in the financial aid process, while a bipartisan group of lawmakers raised concerns about potential similar issues in the upcoming admissions cycle.

During a congressional hearing, Cardona mentioned that his department has largely resolved the issues with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Despite millions of successful submissions, he admitted that the mandated improvements to the FAFSA have been “frustrating” and “challenging” for many students relying on it for college financial assistance.

“I apologize to the students and families who have experienced delays,” he informed lawmakers.

Explore further: How FAFSA changes disrupted College Decision Day

The launch of the new form has been marred by technical problems and inaccuracies in recent months, resulting in delays for colleges to send out financial aid offers on schedule. Following pressure to rectify these issues, the department now states that FAFSAs are being processed within one to three days, and most colleges have already provided aid packages to students. The head of college financial aid announced his resignation at the end of June.

Rich Cordray resigns: Senior Education Department official steps down amidst financial aid crisis

Cardona’s apology coincided with doubts about the progress of next year’s financial aid season. While Cardona previously assured at a congressional hearing that the next FAFSA form would debut on time, a bipartisan group of lawmakers sent him a warning letter on Tuesday suggesting otherwise.

The lawmakers noted that the department typically releases a preliminary FAFSA version for feedback in February or March, which has not occurred yet. They urged the agency to initiate discussions regarding the upcoming admissions cycle without delay.

Find out more: The ongoing FAFSA mishaps raise concerns about the Education Department’s credibility.

“To ensure a smooth FAFSA release for students and families next cycle, we demand complete transparency from you and your team,” they emphasized.

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