2023 Year in Review: NASFAA’s Policy, Grant, and Advocacy Efforts

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Managing Editor

NASFAA continued to adapt to the evolving landscape in its policy, research, and advocacy efforts in 2023. By continuing to hold both virtual and in-person events, such as the Advocacy Pipeline with Capitol Hill staffers, the policy and federal relations team made strides in influencing key policy decisions regarding college access, affordability, simplification, transparency, and federal aid for higher education institutions and students. NASFAA engaged in several advocacy, grant-funded, and public policy undertakings to support its mission of promoting programs that remove financial barriers and increase student access to and success in postsecondary education.

NASFAA hosted six Advocacy Pipeline events with Capitol Hill staffers, enabling financial aid administrators from across the country to make their voices heard.

NASFAA also hosted a number of timely, policy-focused webinars highlighting the latest administrative policies and financial aid topics like The Supreme Court Speaks: Understanding the Implications of Race-Conscious Admission Decision, Preparing for Prison Education Programs: Tips for Administering Financial Aid for Incarcerated Students, and Policy Update: FAFSA Simplification.

Additionally, NASFAA worked to further analyze economic trends impacting the financial aid profession, provided up-to-date coverage and new resources on all things related to FAFSA simplification, explored new initiatives to promote transparency in higher education financing, launched our student loan repayment toolkit, and updated our regular benchmarking surveys.

Read on for a comprehensive list of other actions NASFAA and its members took in 2023.

Advocacy Activities and Materials

NASFAA’s Advocacy Pipeline

NASFAA continued its Advocacy Pipeline efforts, both virtually and in person, by hosting six separate events for financial aid directors to connect with lawmakers and their staff to discuss financial aid reform, doubling the Pell Grant, FAFSA simplification, and more.


NASFAA focused on funding for the federal student aid programs and reforms to higher education policy impacting the aid application process, financial aid administration, and student loan repayment. With a divided Congress following the 2022 midterm elections, NASFAA continued to work closely with members of Congress across the political spectrum to deliver much-needed improvements to the student aid system. As Congress and the Biden administration negotiated the terms of a debt ceiling deal that ultimately included spending caps for fiscal years 2024 and 2025, NASFAA opposed proposed cuts to nondefense spending that would have resulted in cuts to student aid. Throughout the year NASFAA also kept close tabs on developments surrounding short-term Pell Grants and has continued to monitor the prospects of potential changes to the student aid program that could be implemented through the delayed appropriations process.

Negotiated Rulemaking 

Throughout 2023, NASFAA covered the latest stages of the negotiated rulemaking process with recaps of the rulemaking sessions, and followed the ongoing rollout of final rules from ED. With daily committee recaps and deep dive articles, NASFAA provided guidance and additional context for the finalized rules coming from the work of a variety of negotiated rulemaking committees (Institutional and Programmatic Eligibility, Affordability and Student Loans, and Student Loan Debt Relief).

Continuation of the Double Pell Campaign

Throughout 2023 NASFAA continued with its commitment to the Double Pell campaign, and called on Congress to make key investments in the program. Throughout the year NASFAA participated in a number of events with members and federal officials to continue highlighting how federal aid has served as a lifeline to generations of students seeking to pursue higher education.

FAFSA Simplification

The implementation of the FAFSA Simplification Act has been one of the most highly anticipated changes coming to federal student aid. Throughout the year NASFAA has continued to update its web center with timely news, analysis, and tools to help keep financial aid administrators up to date on the impending rollout of the updated 2024-25 form, which is expected to be unveiled by December 31.

Updated Student Aid Index Modeling Tool 

This downloadable tool allows users to import their students' data to calculate estimated Pell Grant eligibility and estimated SAIs under the new methodology. It allows for comparison to current Pell Grants and EFCs so institutions can prepare for the impacts of FAFSA simplification on their campuses.

Grant & Research Initiatives

College Cost Transparency (CCT) Initiative 

NASFAA, along with leaders from nine other higher education associations representing college presidents, financial aid offices, and admissions and school counselors, launched the College Cost Transparency initiative with the goal of improving the clarity, accuracy, and consistency of student financial aid offers by producing a set of guiding principles and minimal standards to be used when developing aid offers.

2023 National Student Aid Profile

NASFAA’s National Student Aid Profile is an annual publication designed to give a high-level overview of the federal student financial aid programs that provide funding to millions of students each year. The profile provides an overview of: the Federal Pell Grant Program; the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Program; the Federal Work-Study Program; the Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan Programs; the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program. Additionally, the profile outlines the most up-to-date data and information on the number of recipients, total volume of awards, federal funding levels, and distribution by family income for each program, as well as an appropriations update on Title IV program funding for the 2023-24 award year. 

FAFSA Simplification

FAFSA simplification implementation policy, advocacy, marketing, communications, research, community-building, and training efforts generously funded by grants that will continue through the 2023-24 year.

Prison Education Programs (PEP)

NASFAA’s efforts surrounding preparing for prison education programs have been created to keep financial aid administrators updated on tools, training, and news related to the implementation of financial aid in carceral settings.

NASFAA On the Record


NASFAA Asks ED for Burden Relief Due to Delayed FAFSA Rollout

December 12, 2023 - NASFAA in a letter to ED requested temporary relief from burdensome requirements on students and institutions so financial aid administrators can focus on helping students navigate the financial aid application process.

NASFAA Urges FSA to Engage With the Higher Ed Community on Pending FAFSA Changes

November 17, 2023 - NASFAA joined several higher education organizations in a letter calling on Federal Student Aid (FSA) to urgently consider what steps need to be taken to ensure that a FAFSA applicant is able to complete the 2024-25 form with ease.

NASFAA Joins Letter to House Education Committee on the DETERRENT Act

November 6, 2023 - NASFAA, along with several higher education organizations, joined onto a letter sent to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce with comments regarding the DETERRENT Act.

NASFAA Endorses Helping Students Successfully Overcome Adversity and Rise (SOAR) with Social Security Act

November 1, 2023 - NASFAA recently endorsed a Senate bill from Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) that would extend social security benefits for students.

NASFAA Signs Onto Letter Requesting FAFSA Release Date

October 13, 2023 - NASFAA, along with other higher education organizations, signed onto a letter calling on the Department of Education (ED) to finalize and announce the 2024-25 FAFSA release date.

NASFAA Joins Letter Supporting the Streamlining of SNAP Eligibility Requirements

May 25, 2023 - NASFAA, along with other higher education organizations, joined onto a letter sent to leaders of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on Agriculture regarding simplifying SNAP eligibility requirements.

NASFAA Joins Community Letter Endorsing Tax-Free Pell Act

May 5, 2023 - NASFAA along with nearly two dozen of higher education organizations signed onto a letter endorsing the Tax-Free Pell Grant Act.

NASFAA Signs Letter to ED on Third-Party Servicers

March 29, 2023 - NASFAA signed onto a letter to the Department of Education (ED) addressing the Dear Colleague Letter that outlines ED’s proposed expansion of the definition for when an outside contractor is a “third-party servicer."

NASFAA Warns ED of Implications of Removing Housing Question From FAFSA

March 16, 2023 - NASFAA sent a letter to ED officials expressing concern that financial aid administrators will be unable to construct accurate living expense allowances in students’ cost of attendance without the benefit of the student’s housing choice information.

NASFAA Urges FSA to Consider Action Plan for Upcoming FAFSA Rollout

March 15, 2023 - NASFAA joined seven other higher education organizations in a letter urging Federal Student Aid (FSA) to consider a number of recommendations should the Department of Education (ED) launch the FAFSA later than its typical October 1 release date.

Comments to ED

NASFAA Comments on Second 2024-25 Draft FAFSA

October 16, 2023 - On Monday, NASFAA submitted comments to the Department of Education (ED) on the second draft of the 2024-25 draft paper FAFSA, Incarcerated Applicant Form, and FAFSA Submission Summary.

NASFAA Submits Comments to ED on Burdensome Information Collections

August 14, 2023 - NASFAA submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on identifying burden across ED's Information Collection Requests.

NASFAA Comments on Proposed Federal Work-Study Reporting

July 12, 2023 - NASFAA submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on ED’s proposed information collection on institutional reporting of Federal Work-Study (FWS) wages for Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation.

NASFAA Comments on Gainful Employment, Administrative Capability, Ability to Benefit

June 20, 2023 - NASFAA submitted comments to the Department of Education on its proposed rules for financial value transparency and gainful employment, financial responsibility, administrative capability, certification procedures, and ability to benefit.

NASFAA Comments on 2024-25 Draft FAFSA

May 24, 2023 - NASFAA commended ED on its efforts, but noted a preview of the online experience is critical. NASFAA made language recommendations and pointed out omissions and errors in the instructions that could lead applicants to complete it incorrectly.

NASFAA Comments on Proposed Federal Work-Study Information Collection

May 15, 2023 - NASFAA submitted comments to the Department of Education (ED) on its proposed information collection for student work-study earnings.

NASFAA Comments on Proposed Revocation of Consent to Share Federal Taxpayer Information

May 8, 2023 - NASFAA submitted comments to the Department of Education on a proposed form for FAFSA filers and student loan borrowers to revoke consent for the Internal Revenue Service to share Federal Taxpayer Information with ED in accordance to the FUTURE Act.

NASFAA Submits Written Comments on ED’s Intent to Establish Negotiated Rulemaking

April 25, 2023 - NASFAA submitted written comments to ED in response to a recent notice of intent to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee to cover topics such as return to Title IV funds (R2T4), third-party servicers, accreditation, cash management, and more.

NASFAA Submits Comments on Updated Third-Party Servicer Guidance

March 30, 2023 - NASFAA questioned ED’s decision to change the regulatory definition of third-party servicer through guidance, and warned that the inclusion of so many new outside entities in the definition risks essential service providers leaving the marketplace.

NASFAA Submits Comments to ED on Proposed New IDR Plan

February 10, 2023 - NASFAA acknowledged the need for a strong safety net for student loan borrowers but cautioned that back-end loan forgiveness should not be a substitute for up-front grants.

NASFAA Comments on Proposed Low-Financial-Value Programs List

February 10, 2023 - NASFAA stressed in its response to ED’s request the need to tread carefully in light of the potential impact such a list could have on programs.


Publication Date: 12/19/2023

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