The last year was filled with challenges and successes for the financial aid community as it dealt with another year of operating amid the coronavirus pandemic. A new year ushered in optimism and saw students return to campus following extended remote learning. The Biden administration sought to make an immediate impact on higher education and financial aid with additional federal coronavirus relief packages, which included significant changes to the FAFSA and increased flexibilities for aid offices in the form of verification relief and updates to the use of professional judgment. Here are the top 10 articles NASFAA readers consumed in 2021:
ED Publishes Verification Requirements for 2022-23, Excludes Existing Waivers
August 31, 2021 - The waiver of verification of most Free Application for Federal Student Aid/Institutional Student Information Record (FAFSA/ISIR) information will be repealed for the 2022-23 award year, according to the Federal Register notice announcing 2022-23 verification items and acceptable documentation.
ED Issues HEERF III Guidance, All Grants Now Include DACA, Undocumented, and International Students
May 11, 2021 - The Department of Education (ED) released new guidance on the third round of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants authorized by the American Rescue Plan. The department also released institutional allocations for HEERF III grants to public and nonprofit institutions, as well as proprietary institutions.
ED Announces Changes to Verification Process for the 2021–22 Award Year
July 14, 2021 - The Department of Education (ED) announced that it would be making changes to the verification process for the 2021-22 award year as a means of providing relief to students financially challenged by the pandemic and aim to reduce barriers to enrollment for millions of low-income students to access financial aid.
NASFAA Receives Clarification from Veterans Administration on Isakson Roe Veterans Bill
July 27, 2021 - NASFAA published details of a new law — set to go into effect Aug. 1, 2021 — that includes several institutional disclosure requirements, some of which involve the financial aid office. NASFAA recently had the opportunity to engage with officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which shed some light on how schools can comply or may already be complying with Section 1018 of the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 (Isakson/Roe).
Millions of Additional College Students Now Eligible for SNAP Benefits Through Coronavirus Relief February 22, 2021 - A small provision included in the latest round of federal coronavirus relief aid could have a big impact on the wellbeing of college students across the country. The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was expanded as part of the sweeping relief package to allow college students to more easily access the program, temporarily removing work and eligibility requirements for students — a change that will be in place for the duration of the public health emergency due to the coronavirus.
NASFAA Joins ACE in Urging Changes to Veterans Law Affecting Institutions August 1
July 20, 2021 - NASFAA signed on to a letter with several other higher education associations to alert Congress to serious concerns about a new veterans benefits law that has implications for institutions of higher education, including the financial aid office.
ED Announces Distribution Details for $21 Billion in Additional HEERF Aid
January 14, 2021 - The Department of Education (ED) released the details of how colleges and universities can distribute the more than $21 billion in COVID-19 relief aid recently approved by Congress — and for which purposes those funds can be used.
ED Details Implementation Plans for FAFSA Changes
June 11, 2021 - The Department of Education (ED) announced that it will employ a delayed, phased implementation of the changes made to federal methodology and the FAFSA as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The statutory deadline for the changes is the 2023-24 award year, with several provisions having early implementation options.
Department of Education Provides Answers to Outstanding HEERF II Questions
March 1, 2021 - The Department of Education (ED) provided written responses to several outstanding questions sent by the community related to the second round of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II) aid that was authorized under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), which was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020.
ED Provides Additional Flexibilities to HEERF Grants
March 19, 2021 - The Department of Education (ED) released new guidance on the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants authorized by Congress in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and later supplemented in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) and in the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
Publication Date: 11/29/2021