Biden to End Pandemic’s Emergency Declaration on May 11. Here’s What It Means for Financial Aid

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Senior Staff Reporter

President Joe Biden on Monday announced that the White House will end the ongoing national emergency declarations tied to the coronavirus pandemic on May 11. The administration has used the authority granted by the emergency powers as justification for a number of higher education initiatives — including its student debt cancellation program — and other regulatory flexibilities related to federal student aid programs.

Those various Title IV COVID-19 flexibilities and waivers do not all end at the same time. For instance some flexibilities, like withdrawals and transfers of unused Federal Work-Study (FWS) to the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program, end at the end of the payment period that contains May 11. Some flexibilities, like verification, end at the end of the payment period that begins after the payment period that contains May 11. Other flexibilities, like the community service waiver, end at the end of the 2023-24 award year.

Additional details and timelines are provided in a chart, provided by Federal Student Aid, which is also available under Resources in the AskRegs Knowledgebase.

The announcement came soon after the release of new legislation from House Republicans that would immediately revoke the president’s authority to continue to offer extensions of the emergency declaration, which the White House argues is too sudden.

“An abrupt end to the emergency declarations would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system — for states, for hospitals and doctors’ offices, and, most importantly, for tens of millions of Americans,” the administration wrote in response to the House’s legislation.

Per the White House’s guidance, the administration will implement a final extension of the emergency declarations, which need to be issued in the coming weeks, and formally end those declarations on May 11. 

According to the administration, the end of the emergency declarations would not prohibit the Department of Education (ED) from carrying out its debt cancellation plans or its planned sunset of the ongoing federal student loan payment pause, since the relief is tied to when the emergency declaration was in effect.

NASFAA’s COVID-19 Web Center & NASFAA’s Student Loan Debt Cancellation Web Center

Since 2020, when the emergency declaration was first issued, ED has been able to continue to carry out a number of waivers and flexibilities for colleges and universities.

Stay tuned to Today’s News and be sure to check out NASFAA’s AskRegs Knowledgebase for more guidance on the emergency declaration that will be updated as more information becomes available.

 

Publication Date: 2/1/2023


Amanda G | 2/2/2023 3:39:39 PM

Same question. I'm about it submit it to ask regs. The 100% FWS to SEOG transfer timeframe is stated so oddly (through the end of the payment period that includes the last date that the national emergency is in effect) and so is the waiver for the FWS community service requirement (end of the award year that begins AFTER the date on which the national emergency is rescinded)....so that one ends at the end of the 23-24 aid year (summer 24 for us) but the 100% transfer from FWS to SEOG ends effective end of spring 23 term if our spring ends before May 11th? SMH.

Alicia R | 2/2/2023 10:1:42 AM

Agreed with Matt F... May 11th falls in between Spring and Summer for our institution. Should we consider Spring term then as the end of the waivers?

Matt F | 2/1/2023 2:1:33 PM

Here's a question - what if May 11 is not in a payment period? It could fall in between the end of the spring semester and the beginning of the summer semester and therefore not be part of either payment period.

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