ED Lauds Aid Administrators, Urges Campuses to Provide 'Necessary Support to Aid Offices

The U.S. Department of Education’s Chief Operating Officer for the Office of Federal Student Aid, William Taggart, encouraged college presidents yesterday to provide the support necessary to ensure financial aid offices are properly trained and adequately staffed.

In a letter to college and university presidents, Taggart writes, "Your financial aid administrators play a vital role in ensuring students can access higher education and that your institutions remain in compliance with federal student aid program regulations." 

"Current regulations governing the administration of federal student aid programs require schools to supply an adequate number of qualified persons to administer federal student aid programs and to provide adequate student aid counseling to eligible students who apply for student aid," he adds.

Taggart stresses that many financial aid offices were required to switch loan programs and comply with a host of new regulations while serving more students than ever before. A recent NASFAA survey supports Taggart's observations. The 2010 NASFAA Administrative Burden Survey found that nine out of 10 aid offices have less time to spend counseling students due to compliance with complex regulations combined with an increase in applicants.

"I acknowledge that collectively, these changes presented significant challenges for your staff," Taggart writes. "Nevertheless, your financial aid administrators were able to quickly adapt and continued to seamlessly and effectively administer financial aid programs on your respective campuses. Their dedication and professionalism through this period is commendable."

Media Coverage

Education Dept. Praises Financial Aid Officers for Loan SwitchoverInside Higher Ed