"A top Education Department official was on the defensive Wednesday, responding to a wide range of criticisms from congressional lawmakers and government watchdogs about the department’s management of the federal student aid system," Inside Higher Ed reports.
"James Runcie, chief operating officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid, which disburses student loans and grants and oversees colleges' participation in those programs, testified at a congressional hearing that focused largely on his office’s failings.
... Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, criticized what he said were the department’s lack of effective communication with financial aid officers and its excessive delays in closing federal audits of colleges.
Some of those audits, he testified on Wednesday, drag on for months or even years, providing uncertainty for colleges about whether they will be found out of compliance with any of the department’s complex rules governing student aid.
... In addition, Draeger said, the department’s recent implementation of its gainful employment rule was particularly challenging, calling it a 'time-consuming debacle' for financial aid offices.
Although colleges repeatedly sought guidance from the Office of Federal Student Aid on how they should report data to the department, it was only after the deadline passed that the department began to provide effective guidance and tools to help colleges properly submit accurate data."
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Publication Date: 11/19/2015