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On February 5, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona announced the release of the Department of Education’s FAFSA College Support Strategy, a multi-faceted plan to deploy federal personnel and expertise to assist colleges in preparing and processing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). ED will allocate $50 million in direct funding for technical assistance and support and will provide tools to help colleges efficiently process student records and deliver financial aid packages.

The financial support from ED is intended to alleviate the strain of managing financial aid processes and improve budgeting and resource allocation, especially at under-resourced colleges. The deployment of aid experts and advisors aims to streamline operations, reduce delays, and enhance student satisfaction.

Additionally, ED has announced it will release test versions of Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) within the next two weeks. These are essential for colleges to prepare their systems for assembling financial aid offers and are part of a broader strategy to provide more personnel and resources, facilitating the efficient and accurate processing of student records.

This year’s launch of the revamped FAFSA has created significant challenges, which have ongoing implications for students and educational institutions–and may especially affect minority and under-resourced communities. The problems with the FAFSA, the delays in the release of ISIRs, and the resulting interruption in college and university typical admissions and aid processes could impact students' ability to enroll or continue their education. To address some of these concerns, NACUBO has joined other higher education associations in a call for flexible decision deadlines for students and families.

While the Department of Education's recent announcement aims to mitigate these issues, the delay in processing federal aid applications presents ongoing challenges that require strategic management from business officers and other institutional leaders.


Ashley Jackson

Director, Government Affairs


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