July 25, 2019 – In a report released today, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) examines the current structure of the income-driven repayment (IDR) program. GAO raises red flags about the potential for fraud in IDR plans related to certain scenarios where borrowers self-certify income and family size.
NASFAA President Justin Draeger issued the following statement in response to the report:
“Income-driven repayment has become a vital tool to ensure stability and affordability for all student loan borrowers. As stewards of the federal student aid programs, financial aid administrators are concerned anytime there is the potential for fraud or abuse that could compromise the integrity of the programs that faithfully serve millions of students each year. However, any efforts to safeguard these programs must be carefully balanced against creating overly burdensome bureaucratic barriers that could prevent qualified borrowers from receiving the benefits to which they are entitled.
The good news is that lawmakers have already introduced a solution that would eliminate the potential for significant fraud and simultaneously make it easier for many borrowers to obtain and stay enrolled in income based repayment. The Faster Access to Federal Student Aid Act, known as the FAFSA Act, would allow students and borrowers to authorize the Internal Revenue Service to share student income information directly with the U.S. Department of Education. Doing so would eliminate the need for students to self-certify or verify their income with the Department of Education.
The FAFSA Act was introduced with bipartisan support and passed unanimously by the Senate in the 115th Congress. We urge lawmakers, particularly those in the House, to pass this standalone legislation as soon as possible, to shore up our student aid programs, protect taxpayer investment, and pave the way for our nation’s students to reap the benefits of the student aid programs and postsecondary education.
The FAFSA Act is a significant first step, but more can be done. We look forward to working with our federal colleagues and lawmakers to find and implement financial aid simplification solutions for other issues not remedied by the FAFSA Act.”
To request an interview with a NASFAA spokesperson, please email [email protected] or call (202) 785-6959.
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 28,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the United States. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit www.nasfaa.org.
Publication Date: 7/25/2019