Republicans hold private meeting with FSA chief following announcement of his upcoming resignation

Republican senators raised concerns with a senior Biden administration official about the troubled launch of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in a closed-door session at the Capitol on Thursday. 

Based on reports from the Education Department and lawmakers, the meeting transpired nearly a week following an announcement that Richard Cordray, the chief operating officer at the Federal Student Aid office, intends to step down later this summer. 

During the meeting in Senator Ernst’s office, Cordray and his deputy, Melanie Storey, conversed with senators, including Chuck Grassley, Roger Marshall, and Pete Ricketts, about the FAFSA rollout issues. 

Afterwards, Senator Ernst expressed disappointment as Cordray acknowledged the long-lasting repercussions of the rollout’s mishaps on students. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona previously stated that Cordray’s term will conclude in late June. 

FAFSA update:Top Education Department official resigns amid college financial aid crisis

Ernst empathized with Cordray’s situation but pointed out the department’s failure to rectify the situation over a three-year period. 

The Education Department indicated that Cordray’s meeting mainly aimed to address financial aid revisions for families with agricultural and small business assets, seeking solutions to address their issues.

While the FAFSA process has been enhanced for many, its implementation woes have led to errors and significant enrollment delays. In response, the Education Department has rectified thousands of flawed forms, especially for students from mixed-status families, who were disproportionately affected by the glitches.

Unraveling the FAFSA ‘adjustments’Disrupted FAFSA launch complicates student applications.

In a recent statement to USA TODAY, James Kvaal, the education undersecretary, urged students not to delay their FAFSA submission. 

“Over eight million students have already submitted their 2024 FAFSA forms, processed within one to three days, with colleges extending financial aid offers. We encourage all college applicants to file their FAFSA forms promptly,” stated Kvaal.

Ernst emphasized her efforts to fast-track legislation alongside Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat from Montana, to reverse problematic financial aid changes affecting farm families and small businesses. 

Republicans arguethe updated FAFSA negatively impacts farm families. Is that true?

She revealed plans to potentially incorporate their proposal, the Family Farm and Small Business Exemption Act, into the farm bill, a critical agricultural appropriations bill. However, negotiations on this significant legislation have been challenging and slow-moving.

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