November 19, 2019

Senators Hassan, Collins Lead Bipartisan Group of Senators in Calling on Secretary DeVos to Immediately Implement Fix to FAFSA Form

Following Response from Department of Education Indicating That the FAFSA Issue Will Be Resolved for the 2021-2022 FAFSA Cycle, Senators Request Mid-Cycle Fix to Prevent Disruption to Current Applicants’ Access to Financial Aid

WASHINGTON – Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME), along with Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos calling for an immediate mid-cycle patch to the current FAFSA form so that students’ access to financial aid is not disrupted.

Senator Hassan previously sent a separate letter with a number of her colleagues raising concerns that following passage of the 2017 tax law, changes to the core 1040 tax form disrupted functions of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows students to automatically and accurately fill in their family’s tax information on their FAFSA form for student aid. In a response to the Senators, the Department of Education stated that it “intends to implement a solution” for the 2021-2022 FAFSA cycle.

However, the agency has failed to make several simple modifications to the FAFSA form to reduce the problems that students are experiencing now. In the letter sent today, Senators Hassan, Collins and their colleagues discuss the importance of a mid-cycle patch to the FAFSA to ensure that no student’s access to financial aid is in jeopardy.

“The Department can, and has, previously updated FAFSA questions in the middle of an application cycle…This patching process requires no action on behalf of applicants, state grant agencies, or institutions of higher education,” wrote the Senators. “Simplifying the financial aid process and FAFSA form has long been a bipartisan objective, and everyone should be united in addressing this issue as soon as possible.”

Read the Senators’ full letter to Secretary DeVos here. 

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