Cassidy, GOP colleague demand evidence be released for bungled FAFSA rollout

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and a colleague allege that the Biden administration is hiding evidence from Congress and the American people pertaining to its botched rollout of the simplified Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The lawmakers have demanded that the U.S. Department of Education immediately comply with all Government Accountability Office (GAO) record requests related to the FAFSA rollout, according to a May 31 letter they sent to U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

“GAO is investigating the FAFSA rollout at our request, and by stonewalling, the department is interfering with our ability to carry out our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities,” wrote Sen. Cassidy, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee.

From the time GAO began its investigation earlier this year, the Education Department’s repeated delays and technical problems with the FAFSA rollout, they wrote, have created difficulties for students attempting to file applications, delays for schools trying to determine financial aid package amounts, and uncertainty for students trying to make informed decisions about which colleges to attend.

“If not fully identified and addressed,” wrote the lawmakers, “ongoing problems with the FAFSA will create complications for schools and college students for at least the next two academic years.”

Sen. Cassidy and Rep. Foxx demanded that the department comply with GAO’s requests and turn over all documents related to this investigation in accordance with federal law.  

“The department’s ongoing failure to comply with GAO’s requests is unacceptable,” wrote Sen. Cassidy and his colleague. “GAO is a part of the Legislative Branch, and by preventing GAO from doing its job, the department is interfering with our efforts to address concerns with FAFSA and pursue transparency and accountability on behalf of the American people.”

They requested that Cardona produce all records requested by GAO in connection with its investigation no later than June 7.