Steil requests improved rollout of FAFSA

The U.S. Department of Education must fix the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process to give schools and students more time to prepare and accept financial aid offers, says U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI).

The “repeated delays and confusing announcements” related to this year’s FAFSA are impacting the millions of students currently determining how to fund their education, Rep. Steil wrote in a Feb. 9 letter sent to Richard Cordray, chief operating officer of the Education Department Federal Student Aid office.  

“I ask that you and your agency take every step possible to get the FAFSA process operating smoothly once again,” wrote the congressman.

Rep. Steil’s request follows the Education Department’s announcement in November 2023 that FAFSA forms would not be available to students until Dec. 31, 2023, due to an effort to simplify and modernize the process. And while Congress provided “a reasonable timeline, including a one-year extension” for the Education Department to implement the new FAFSA, the department missed the deadline and failed to revise its formula for determining financial aid eligibility to account for inflation, according to the letter.

“This error resulted in a staggering $1.8 billion shortfall,” Rep. Steil wrote. “Attempts to remedy the issue have led to an additional month-long delay.”

Three months past the deadline, the Education Department’s soft launch of the new FAFSA also unfortunately had technical problems that led to many applicants struggling to access or complete the new form, the lawmaker added.

“Now is the time to demonstrate your commitment to our students and ensure the remainder of the 2024-2025 FAFSA rollout continues without delay,” wrote Rep. Steil.