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ED Announces College Board President to Oversee Launch of 2025-26 FAFSA

By Maria Carrasco, NASFAA Staff Reporter

After a tumultuous rollout of the 2024-25 FAFSA, the Department of Education (ED) on Friday announced it will be enlisting a higher education and technology solutions expert to lead the rollout of next year’s FAFSA cycle. Additionally, ED has chosen to prioritize an October launch for the 2025-26 FAFSA over making large changes to the application, meaning the 2025-26 version will not be substantially different from the 2024-25 form and as a result will not require the standard notice and comment period.

Jeremy Singer, president of College Board, will take a new role as “FAFSA Executive Advisor” helping FSA wrap up this year’s FAFSA process and overseeing the rollout of the 2025-26 FAFSA, which Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said is expected to be released on October 1. 

According to ED, Singer will take a temporary leave from his role at College Board to join the department in leading Federal Student Aid’s (FSA) 2025-26 FAFSA strategy “to help ensure optimal performance leading to the launch of the 2025-26 FAFSA form.” Notably, as College Board president, Singer oversaw the creation and launch of the new digital SAT. 

“Jeremy brings deep experience having successfully led the development and introduction of major technology innovations in education, which will be integral to improving the FAFSA experience and ensuring millions of students and families can easily access the federal financial aid they are entitled to,” Cardona said in a statement. 

NASFAA President and CEO Justin Draeger applauded Friday’s announcement, saying it’s encouraging to see the department commit additional resources to course correct for next year, and reassuring that ED remains committed to an October 1 launch. 

However, Draeger stressed that the department needs to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated for the 2025-26 FAFSA cycle.

“We continue to push the Department to provide additional clarity as soon as possible on what an October 1 launch means for both students and schools,” Draeger said. “It's imperative that the entire system, from application submission to processing is operative on October 1 and that the Department clearly articulates that functionality to all stakeholders along the way.”

Some NASFAA members also applauded Singer’s hire – which Inside Higher Ed first reported –  including Amherst College’s Gail Holt, chair of NASFAA’s FAFSA Simplification Implementation Working Group, and University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Derek Kindle, NASFAA’s diversity officer. 

“I think it's a smart and savvy move to choose Jeremy because of his skillset,” Kindle told Inside Higher Ed. “I know Jeremy is the type of person who can get in a room, get people together and get them on the same page towards the mission.”

Along with the announcement of Singer’s new role, ED also said that it has heard concerns from students, families, institutions, and others about the importance of releasing the FAFSA on October 1 for the 2025-26 cycle. The department said that it is “working toward that goal.” Earlier last week, NASFAA and the National College Attainment Network (NCAN) led a letter to ED seeking a commitment to the FAFSA’s traditional launch date of October 1. 

In order to meet that October 1 launch date for the 2025-26 form ED will roll over, without any substantive changes, the 2024-25 form into the 2025-26 FAFSA. The lack of substantive changes allows ED to release next year’s form without the 60 and 30-day public comment periods. ED has done this in the past when it made no significant changes to the FAFSA. Additionally, ED clarified that it has made “significant progress” to address major known issues with the 2024-25 FAFSA and will continue to make improvements. 

ED will conduct a series of listening sessions “over the coming weeks” to learn more on how it can better support students, families, colleges, states, and other partners during the 2025-26 FAFSA cycle. 

Additionally, the department will publish a Request for Information (RFI) this summer to solicit feedback from stakeholders who can’t attend upcoming listening sessions. Feedback from the listening sessions and RFI will then be used to create a new 2025-26 Better FAFSA Better Future Roadmap, which will include relevant tools, resources, and trainings, and will be published in the summer. 

 

Publication Date: 6/17/2024


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