Major Changes to the FAFSA, Other Student Aid Provisions as Congress Narrows in on COVID Relief, Fiscal Year 2021 Spending

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter

Over the weekend, Congress made progress toward finalizing a large package of legislation that would fund the federal government for fiscal year 2021, provide additional financial relief amid the ongoing pandemic, and make significant changes to other higher education policies. 

Though final legislative text has not yet been released, it is NASFAA's understanding based on draft text that the package will make substantial changes to need analysis and thus, the overall FAFSA application experience, expand the Pell Grant program to incarcerated students and increase the maximum award, and repeal the limitation on lifetime subsidized loan eligibility.

While members had aimed to vote on the measure before the start of the week, the time spent on negotiations has delayed that timeline. Members now hope to release the text as soon as this morning and take the necessary legislative procedures to enact the compromise in the coming days.

The government is again operating under a newly updated continuing resolution that will offer Congress additional time to finalize their spending package.

“The financial aid community applauds the bipartisan work in Congress to simplify the federal student aid application process and improve financial aid predictability for students, ” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “We look forward to reviewing the final legislative text to fully understand all of the ramifications of this rare show of bipartisan agreement.” 
Stay tuned to Today's News for updates in the coming days.


Publication Date: 12/21/2020

Timothy D | 12/21/2020 10:0:22 AM

I really wish that they would expand Pell grant to short term certificate programs before they start expanding to incarcerated students.

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