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Secretary Cardona Again on Hot Seat for FAFSA Rollout

Secretary Cardona Again on Hot Seat for FAFSA Rollout

Why This Matters

The botched FAFSA rollout has been felt across higher education. During a House oversight hearing, Members of Congress noted the impact that the troubled rollout will have on student enrollment in the upcoming fall. Secretary Cardona did not provide any new solutions, instead reiterating that the Department is working on this issue and that previous data errors have been fixed. 

During the hearing, Congressman Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) pressed Secretary Cardona to delay enforcement of the newly revised 100% Certification Rule until January 1, 2024. Secretary Cardona did not directly respond to this request. AACS will continue to provide membership with any updates on this matter, as we know this is one of the most important issues facing our member institutions.

House Education and Workforce Committee Hearing Summary

Secretary Cardona faced intense pressure from the House Education and Workforce Committee on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, as he testified on the failed FAFSA rollout, the Department of Education’s FY 2025 Budget Request, the Department’s recent rulemaking efforts, and a number of other education matters. This was the fourth time Secretary Cardona has testified in front of the House Education and Workforce Committee on the Department’s FY 2025 Budget Request. Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) set the tone for the hearing with her opening remarks, “You have presided over the greatest decline of educational attainment and institutional legitimacy in the history of our nation.” Chairwoman Foxx was joined by all of the Committee Members in seeking accountability and answers from the Secretary for the mismanagement of the FAFSA rollout. All of the Members were united in the message that the Department’s mismanagement has led to a significant decrease in FAFSA completion rates and, as a result, a significant decrease in student enrollment at institutions of higher education for this upcoming fall. Chairwoman Foxx concluded her remarks by saying, “If I were to grade your time as secretary based on the state of postsecondary education, I would also give you an F.”

Congressman Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) questioned the Department’s new requirements contained within its Certification Procedures Final Rule published in October 2023. He stated that the elimination of the 150% Certification Rule will prevent students attending certain career and technical education schools from accessing federal financial aid. He specifically requested that the Department further its delay in enforcement of the revised 100% Certification Rule until January 1, 2025 in order to provide institutions with additional time to comply with this certification requirement. The Secretary failed to respond to this request, instead noting that the Certification Procedures Final Rule is aimed at ensuring that institutions of higher education maintain and provide high-quality education to students.

For more information:

Full Committee Hearing

Hearing Recap

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State Update – June 4

The first week of the June finds only 14 state legislatures actively meeting. Recent and upcoming legislative adjournments include Louisiana on June 3 and New York on June 6. 

Another four states – Arizona, Delaware, New Hampshire and Rhode Island – will be adjourning their respective 2024 legislative sessions at the end of the month.

Learn More >