WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) successfully worked on a bipartisan basis last year to ensure that the Department of Education allows financial aid administrators to adjust financial aid packages for students who are financially impacted by COVID-19 and other economic downturns in the 2021-2022 school year and moving forward. Senator Hassan -- along with incoming Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA), Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), and former Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) -- also called last year for the Department of Education to take immediate action to allow flexibility for the current school year, which the Department of Education did today.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even harder for some students to continue their education and pay for college, especially those who lost their jobs or otherwise experienced financial difficulties related to the pandemic,” said Senator Hassan. “That’s why I worked across the aisle to ensure that financial aid administrators can adjust student aid packages for those whose financial circumstances have changed amid the pandemic going forward. I also urged the Department of Education to take immediate action to help students now, and I am glad that the Department is doing so today.”
The notice issued by the Biden administration today alerts financial aid administrators to the flexibility that they have to change a student’s aid package if they were financially impacted by COVID-19 and also makes clear that unemployment benefits can be excluded from the financial aid calculation. Senator Hassan raised these issues repeatedly last year, including in a bipartisan letter to Secretary DeVos and during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing.