Education Department Announces ‘FAFSA College Support Strategy.’ Here’s What It Involves.

"Education Secretary Miguel A. Cardona announced on Monday a federal initiative to help colleges process the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA. But the plan does not mention fixes for the technical problems that are still preventing many families from completing the all-important application more than a month after it became available," The Chronicle of Higher Education

..."Secretary Cardona said the department would also direct up to $50 million in federal funding to nonprofit organizations that will support financial-aid offices by providing additional staffing to help ensure that campus aid-processing systems are ready while assisting with staff training and the development of aid packages. The federal funding, to be administered by the Educational Credit Management Corporation, will go to nonprofit groups, including the National Association for Student Financial Aid Administrators, or NASFAA, with expertise in financial-aid support and services.

Finally, Secretary Cardona said the department will start releasing test versions of Institutional Student Information Records, or ISIRs — essentially, college-facing FAFSA data — within the next two weeks, enabling colleges to prepare their systems for assembling aid offers. 'This FAFSA support strategy will mean more personnel and more resources to help students and institutions make the most of the Better FAFSA,' Secretary Cardona said. 'And it will help colleges prepare to process student records as quickly and as accurately as possible.'

The plan encouraged some financial-aid experts. 'Ensuring our nation’s colleges and universities are prepared to assist in the massive overhaul of the FAFSA is critical for a smooth implementation, and we are excited to be partners in this work,' Justin Draeger, president and chief executive of NASFAA, said in a written statement. 'These are some of the biggest changes facing the financial-aid profession — not to mention students and families — in decades, and it will take cooperation, clear communication, and mutual trust among all stakeholders to get us over the finish line. We are eager to begin this work and look forward to sharing more details soon.'

A half-hour after speaking with reporters, Secretary Cardona arrived at Washington’s famous Mayflower Hotel, where he gave a brief speech to a ballroom full of financial-aid officials at NASFAA’s Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo. He received hearty applause upon being introduced — and again when he announced that the department would start releasing test versions of ISIR within two weeks."

NASFAA's "Notable Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Articles included under the notable headlines section are not written by NASFAA, but rather by external sources. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 2/5/2024

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