NASFAA Virtual Conference Highlight: Federal and FAFSA Updates

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Managing Editor

The NASFAA Virtual Conference on Tuesday dove into updates from federal partners at the Department of Education (ED) who provided additional insight into the current and upcoming FAFSA cycles.

Officials from Federal Student Aid (FSA), Linnea Hengst, program specialist for policy implementation and oversight, and Kerri Moseley-Hobbs, a policy specialist, provided attendees with key background information and updated policy guidance that will enable financial aid offices to better navigate the regulatory roadmap for the upcoming year.

To kick things off, officials walked through the negotiated rulemaking landscape to detail background information on recent regulatory changes that will impact a number of federal rules taking effect this summer.

While these changes will impact a variety of reporting requirements, officials said it is important to note that in many instances, court challenges have changed the parameters of some final regulations. FSA urged offices to defer to their legal counsel to ensure they are in compliance with ongoing requirements.

The rules slated to take effect on July 1 include some provisions of the department’s newest income-driven repayment plan, SAVE, which has an application still available to borrowers but has also been subject to legal challenges.

Financial value transparency (FVT) and gainful employment (GE) regulations also became effective July 1 and have institutional program-level and student-level reporting requirements slated for October 1, 2024. NASFAA has urged the department to further delay this reporting deadline to July 2025 to accommodate the heavy administrative burden financial aid offices are still experiencing as a result of this year’s troubled FAFSA rollout.

Officials told attendees to stay tuned in the knowledge center for additional updates.

When it came to FAFSA updates, ED officials did not have many timeline updates to share, aside from those that have already been posted to the knowledge center.

According to the department, over 12 million FAFSAs have now been submitted and processed.However, processing of paper FAFSAs has not been completed but is slated to take place in the beginning of July, according to ED.

For the upcoming 2025-26 FAFSA cycle, officials also reiterated their previous statements that ED had a “targeted launch” of October 1 for the 2025-26 form.

Officials then walked through flexibilities for the 2024-25 award year that were provided due to the “extraordinary circumstances” of the current FAFSA cycle. These include reduced verification, suspension of new routine program reviews through June, more time to submit recertification applications, the gainful employment and FVT reporting deadline being moved to October, and guidance on aid offers using ISIRs affected by errors.

Attendees then turned to a Q&A that primarily focused on FAFSA-related questions.

Current NASFAA members may still sign up for the virtual conference through this week. One institutional registration will allow everyone on your roster to attend and access the sessions on demand, post-conference, for six months following the air date, unless the topic matter deems the presentation no longer valid.


Publication Date: 7/10/2024

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