Biden’s FAFSA delays are hurting Oklahoma’s students

The American people have put up with setback after setback from the Biden administration. From increased business regulations for job creators to higher grocery bills for families— Biden has proven nothing is off-limits. Now, college-bound students are the latest victim of the administration’s negligence.

The Biden administration recently announced that it will delay the transmission of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) information to colleges and universities until mid-March. This delay is significantly hurting Oklahoma’s college-bound students, giving them less time and fewer resources to make important admission and financial aid decisions prior to the college and university deadlines. The national average cost of attendance at a state university is over one hundred thousand dollars for four years. No family should be pressured to commit to a college or university without having ample time to consider all financial aid options.

FAFSA is a mandatory application for students seeking federal financial aid and is used by colleges and universities to determine financial assistance for students. In 2020, Congress passed an updated FAFSA with the intention of making financial aid more accessible for all students by streamlining the application process. The bill gave the Department of Education three years to revamp the program. At the Biden administration’s request, this deadline was extended a year. However, despite having three years notice, Biden’s Department of Education still failed to implement the updated FAFSA program before the deadline, meaning many students will have to make admissions decisions without knowledge of their need-based aid. 

Nearly 27,000 students across Oklahoma applied for FAFSA for the 2023-2024 school year. It’s unacceptable for the Biden administration to expect students and their families to make this decision without knowing which schools the student can or cannot afford to attend. Further, my office has heard from college presidents around the state that the delay is impacting their ability to send financial aid offers in a timely fashion—further constraining our students.

While the Biden administration wastes time imposing unconstitutional student loan transfers onto hardworking Americans, they neglected to do their job in launching the FAFSA program on time as required by law. 

I also support my colleague, Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in his efforts to encourage the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to open a formal investigation into this delay. Further, HELP Committee Republicans have launched a website where students, institutions, and others can report any issues with the new FAFSA form:

Caseworkers in my office are looking into the situation and are on standby, ready to assist families who are having information and verification issues with the new FAFSA system. Please call my Tulsa Office at 918-921-8520 if you and your family need help with this issue.

There is no excuse for this failure. The Biden administration had three years to prepare for the FAFSA rollout and has fallen short. The Biden administration is out of touch with the needs of most Americans. Plain and simple. This isn’t the first time their policies have hurt Oklahoma families; I am certain it won’t be the last.