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House committee supports bill to require FAFSA form to be available by Oct. 1

House committee supports bill to require FAFSA form to be available by Oct. 1

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This The House Education Committee on Wednesday introduced a bill that would require the U.S. Department of Education to publish the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by October 1 of each year.

Rep. Erin Houchin, Republican of Indiana Who presented a new bill, called the implementation of the updated version FAFSA “a complete failure” and said the bill creates unnecessary hardship for students’ families and universities.

Republican controlled Education and Workforce Commission voted 34-6 to send the bill to plenary House of Representatives.

The proposal has received conditional support from some Democratic Party lawmakers who have called for increased investment in Department of Education to enable him to fulfil his mandate.

The Department of Education is required by law to release the FAFSA by January 1 of each year. However, it typically releases the form on October 1.

This year was an exception. The Department issued a simplified version FAFSA ANDin late December, almost three months later than students and colleges were used to. Even after it was published, the form encountered technical glitches and formula errors.

The disastrous implementation had a negative impact on higher education.

Many universities have postponed their commitment terms, and some states have given students more time to complete the FAFSA form to qualify for state scholarship programs. As of June 28 46% of the high school class of 2024 submitted such a form, while in the same period last year this percentage was 53.2%.

Representative Virginia Foxx, Chairwoman of the House Education Committee, he criticized Biden administration Department of Education due to the lack of transparency of the process.

“The administration’s absolute lack of communication about when the FAFSA would be released led to a botched ‘soft launch.’” said the North Carolina Republican.

Houchin he accused Department of Education mismanagement of priorities.

“I am especially frustrated given that the Department of Education has had three years to simplify the FAFSA as directed by Congress,” she said. “Instead, (Education Secretary Miguel Cardona) AND President Biden decided to focus their time and efforts on an illegal student loan forgiveness scheme.”

Cardona has He rejected this criticism in the past, saying that the department’s debt forgiveness These initiatives did not result in an outflow of funds from the FAFSA.

Representative Jahana Hayes, Democrat of Connecticut, expressed support for the bill and urged her colleagues to do the same. But she distanced herself from it Houchin’s comments about Cardona and the president.

“In Dr. Cardona, we have an exceptionally qualified secretary for education.” Hayes he said. “Through his testimony and my personal experience working with him directly, I truly believe he is doing everything he can to resolve this issue.”

Virginia Representative Bobby Scott, the top Democrat on the Education Committee, voted against the bill and expressed doubts as to whether this alone would solve the problem FAFSA misfortune.

“Republicans are setting a fast-approaching deadline for the department to meet without providing any additional resources or technical support that could actually help.” Scot he said. “We do not want the department to rush to meet arbitrary deadlines and release a FAFSA form that, once again, has the same technical issues that students are experiencing this year.”

This The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators expressed similar concerns Wednesday.

Formalizing the FAFSA’s October 1 launch date has long been a priority for NASFAA, according to Karen McCarthy, vice president of public policy and federal relations for the organization.

“If all goes according to plan, the earlier publication date will allow colleges and universities to make financial aid information available to students much sooner,” she said in a statement.

But setting an earlier release date needs to be part of a comprehensive plan, McCarthy said. She noted the need for a clear timeline established by the Department of Education throughout the FAFSA process, including deadlines for submitting data and making corrections to forms.

“Setting an October 1 deadline this year does not guarantee a fully functional form, and may actually harm efforts to release a product that has been tested and worked well,” she said.

Representative Bob Good, Republican of Virginia, an amendment to the bill was introduced that would require the Department of Education to annually certify that it is on track to meet the September 1 deadline.

The amendment the committee approved Wednesday would also require the education secretary to testify before Congress if the department expects to miss the deadline.