Federal Financial Aid

The Issue

​​Federal financial aid is a primary issue for the American Council on Education (ACE) and the higher education association community, reflecting the vital role it plays for students, families, campuses and the nation as a whole. Federal aid programs, such as Pell Grants, Federal Work-Study, and Stafford Loans, encompass a variety of processes and broader issues, including congressional appropriations, access, student debt load, and streamlined application and repayment processes. ACE is at the forefront in working with Congress on policies that maximize federal support for all students, with a particular focus on low-income and historically underserved communities.

Our Work

Letters, Bill Summaries, and More

Proposed Changes to FAFSA for the 2025-26 Award Year
May 22, 2024
Proposed Changes to FAFSA for the 2025-26 Award Year
Along with 35 other higher education associations, ACE sent this letter to the House Education and the Workforce Committee urging lawmakers to undertake a long-term assessment of the FAFSA delays' impact on students and make other changes for the 2025-...
FAFSA Survey Results Sent to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona
March 28, 2024
FAFSA Survey Results Sent to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona
To better understand the challenges faced by institutions with the new FAFSA system, ACE, EDUCAUSE and NACUBO conducted this survey targeting various campus stakeholders. Results were sent to the Department of Education.
Letter to the House on the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act
February 27, 2024
Letter to the House on the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act
On behalf of 15 other higher education organizations, ACE wrote to House leadership in opposition to an offset mechanism in the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act.
Summary: A Roadmap To College Student Success
February 2, 2024
Summary: A Roadmap To College Student Success
On Jan. 30, 2024, Democrats on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce unveiled the Roadmap to College Student Success, a package of six previously introduced bills to address college affordability, access, and student support.
Letter to the House on the College Cost Reduction Act
January 30, 2024
Letter to the House on the College Cost Reduction Act
On behalf of 14 other higher education organizations, ACE wrote to leadership of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce with concerns about some provisions of the College Cost Reduction Act, along with support for others.
Summary: The College Cost Reduction Act
January 19, 2024
Summary: The College Cost Reduction Act
House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) introduced the College Cost Reduction Act (H.R. 6951) on January 11, 2024 in response to the challenges impacting students who are pursuing their postsecondary degree.
Letter to the House on the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act
December 11, 2023
Letter to the House on the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act
ACE, on behalf of five other higher education associations, wrote to leaders of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce with concerns about the offset included in the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act.
Talking Points: Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act
December 7, 2023
Talking Points: Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act
Outlining concerns with the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act (H.R. 6585), a bill intended to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to use the Pell Grant for short-term programs.
Summary: The Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act
December 7, 2023
Summary: The Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act
Summary of the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act (H.R. 6585), a bill intended to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to use the Pell Grant for short-term programs.
Letter to ED on Implementation of the Updated FAFSA
November 17, 2023
Letter to ED on Implementation of the Updated FAFSA
On behalf of six other higher education associations, ACE urged the Department of Education to deepen its communication with the higher education community to ensure successful implementation of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Summary: College for All Act of 2023
October 18, 2023
Summary: College for All Act of 2023
The College for All Act would create a $10 billion federal program to match state funding at public institutions of higher education to cover student support programs at under-funded institutions, among other provisions.
Letter to ED on FAFSA Release Date
October 13, 2023
Letter to ED on FAFSA Release Date
ACE, along with 11 other higher education organizations, wrote to the Department of Education urging officials to announce the date on which the updated Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be available.
Letter on House FY 2024 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill
July 28, 2023
Letter on House FY 2024 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill
ACE, on behalf of of 29 other higher education organizations, wrote to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee with concerns about proposed cuts for higher education programs in the House's Labor-HHS-Education funding bill for FY 2024.
Request for a Comprehsensive Examination of the New FAFSA Need Analysis
June 8, 2023
Request for a Comprehsensive Examination of the New FAFSA Need Analysis
Letter from ACE and 16 other higher education groups to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona requesting a comprehensive examination of how the new FAFSA need analysis formula will impact students and families
Letter of Support for the Tax-Free Pell Grant Act
May 5, 2023
Letter of Support for the Tax-Free Pell Grant Act
Letter to Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) strongly endorsing the Tax-Free Pell Grant Act, which would repeal the taxability of Pell Grants and help hundreds of thousands of students access the American Opportunity Tax Credit.
Letter to Congress in Support of the Tax-Free Pell Grant Act
October 28, 2022
Letter to Congress in Support of the Tax-Free Pell Grant Act
ACE, on behalf of 15 other higher education organizations, sent this letter to the leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee urging them to include the Tax-Free Pell Grant Act in any lame-duck tax legislation.
Comments to the Education Department on Title IV NPRM
August 26, 2022
Comments to the Education Department on Title IV NPRM
Comments from ACE and 16 other associations to the Department of Education in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking regarding Title IV of the Higher Education Act.
Letter to Education Department Urging Extension of PSLF Waiver
August 18, 2022
Letter to Education Department Urging Extension of PSLF Waiver
As the Oct. 31 deadline for the extension of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) waiver nears, ACE and six other higher education groups urge Secretary Miguel Cardona to extend the waiver in order to better align with proposed regulatory changes.
Comments to the Education Department on Student Loan Forgiveness NPRM
August 12, 2022
Comments to the Education Department on Student Loan Forgiveness NPRM
ACE and 23 other associations sent these comments to the Department of Education in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking regarding targeted student loan forgiveness.
Facts in Hand: Who Is Borrowing for College?
May 17, 2022
Facts in Hand: Who Is Borrowing for College?
Data show that undergraduate student borrowing patterns are similar across sectors, an indicator that higher education is trying to minimize undergraduate debt. Graduate student borrowing data, however, offer a note of caution.
Letter to Appropriations Subcommittees on Education Funding Priorities for FY 2023
April 19, 2022
Letter to Appropriations Subcommittees on Education Funding Priorities for FY 2023
Letter from the Student Aid Alliance to House and Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations subcommittees requesting that student aid remains a high priority in the funding bill for FY 2023.

​Latest News

dotEDU Live: Budget Battles, FAFSA Fails, and Biden's New Loan Forgiveness Plan
April 18, 2024
dotEDU Live: Budget Battles, FAFSA Fails, and Biden's New Loan Forgiveness Plan
With Congress back from spring break, Jon and Sarah look at what's on the agenda in DC.
Student Aid Alliance Calls for Increases to Pell Grants, Other Federal Student Aid Programs
April 15, 2024
Student Aid Alliance Calls for Increases to Pell Grants, Other Federal Student Aid Programs
On the heels of Congress approving a long-delayed final FY 2024 spending package last month, the Student Aid Alliance (SAA) is urging the House and Senate appropriations committees to increase funding for student financial aid programs in FY 2025.
Congress, Higher Ed Leaders Urge Education Department to Address FAFSA Issues
April 15, 2024
Congress, Higher Ed Leaders Urge Education Department to Address FAFSA Issues
Members of Congress and higher education leaders last week continued to highlight how the disastrous rollout of the revised FAFSA is affecting students, while urging the Department of Education to promptly address the ongoing problems.
Navigating the FAFSA Crisis: A Timeline
Navigating the FAFSA Crisis: A Timeline
​​​The 2021 FAFSA Simplification Act represents a significant overhaul of how federal student aid is awarded. See a timeline of the Department of Education's problematic implementation of the reforms.​
Survey Reveals Impact of Problems with New FAFSA System
April 1, 2024
Survey Reveals Impact of Problems with New FAFSA System
​To better understand the challenges faced by institutions with the new FAFSA system, ACE, along with EDUCAUSE and the National Association of College and University Business Officers, conducted a survey targeting stakeholders at member institutions.
Biden Signs FY 2024 Spending Bill, Higher Education Funding Holds Steady
March 25, 2024
Biden Signs FY 2024 Spending Bill, Higher Education Funding Holds Steady
​After months of delays, over the weekend Congress passed and President Biden signed a $1.2 trillion spending bill for the remainder of FY 2024 that includes funding for the Department of Education and some research agencies.
Biden Budget Proposes Pell Increase, Free Community College
March 13, 2024
Biden Budget Proposes Pell Increase, Free Community College
President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget request released Monday includes $82 billion in federal discretionary spending for the Education Department.
FAFSA Glitches Leave Students, Colleges in Limbo
March 1, 2024
FAFSA Glitches Leave Students, Colleges in Limbo
Hosts Jon and Mushtaq are joined by special repeat guest Justin Draeger, president and CEO of NASFAA, to talk about the Education Department’s flawed rollout of the new FAFSA form and the implications for students and colleges as well as what happens next
Colleges Extend Deadlines Amid FAFSA Troubles; Department of Education Unveils Additional Relief Measures
February 16, 2024
Colleges Extend Deadlines Amid FAFSA Troubles; Department of Education Unveils Additional Relief Measures
​A growing number of colleges and universities, public and private, are taking action to help admitted students have adequate time to compare financial aid offers in the wake of the Department of Education’s rollout of the new FAFSA form.
House Education Committee Approves College Cost Reduction Act
February 5, 2024
House Education Committee Approves College Cost Reduction Act
The House Education and the Workforce Committee voted to pass the College Cost Reduction Act, an overhaul of federal student aid, lending, repayment, and accreditation processes meant to be a significant step toward reauthorizing the Higher Education Act.
Joint Statement on Extending Financial Aid, Enrollment Deadlines
January 31, 2024
Joint Statement on Extending Financial Aid, Enrollment Deadlines
Due to the continued delays in the availability of FAFSA applicant data announced by the U.S. Department of Education, we encourage colleges and universities to provide flexibility to students and families.
Higher Ed Groups Urge Flexible Enrollment and Financial Aid Deadlines in the Wake of FAFSA Delays
January 31, 2024
Higher Ed Groups Urge Flexible Enrollment and Financial Aid Deadlines in the Wake of FAFSA Delays
​The Education Department has announced that higher education institutions and states can expect to receive applicant information from the new FAFSA in the “first half of March,” backtracking on their commitment to deliver the information in January.
dotEDU Live: New Year, Same Congress—What’s Next for Higher Ed?
January 25, 2024
dotEDU Live: New Year, Same Congress—What’s Next for Higher Ed?
Hosts Jon Fansmith and Sarah Spreitzer discuss how the 2024 presidential election might impact higher education and look ak problems with the new FAFSA, the latest House Higher Education Act reauthorization bill, short-term Pell, and more.
The College Cost Reduction Act: What You Need to Know
January 19, 2024
The College Cost Reduction Act: What You Need to Know
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, has introduced a comprehensive bill that aims to overhaul the student loan process and restrain college costs.
AU President Shares Challenges, Triumphs of Presidency
January 11, 2024
AU President Shares Challenges, Triumphs of Presidency
Jon, Sarah, and Mushtaq are thrilled to speak with ACE Board member and American University President Sylvia Burwell as she prepares to finish out her final year at the helm of the Washington, DC, campus.
House Committee Approves Bills on Short-Term Pell, WIOA Reauthorization
December 18, 2023
House Committee Approves Bills on Short-Term Pell, WIOA Reauthorization
​Last week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee voted to move forward two bills impacting institutions of higher education: the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act and the A Stronger Workforce for America Act.
dotEDU Live: The Year in Higher Education Policy
December 14, 2023
dotEDU Live: The Year in Higher Education Policy
The overarching theme is working through the chaos in Washington, and the lineup includes student loan forgiveness, the Supreme Court's decision on race in admissions, institutional accountability, the uptick in international students, and more.
House Committee to Mark Up Short-Term Pell Grant Bill
December 11, 2023
House Committee to Mark Up Short-Term Pell Grant Bill
​The House Education and the Workforce committee is scheduled to mark up a bill Dec. 12 that would provide Pell Grant funding for short-term programs, but includes problematic measures to offset the cost of the expansion.
ACE, Groups Urge FSA to Work With the Higher Education Community to Ensure Smooth Transition to New FAFSA
November 20, 2023
ACE, Groups Urge FSA to Work With the Higher Education Community to Ensure Smooth Transition to New FAFSA
The Education Department has announced a timeline for its long-awaited overhaul of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which aims to simplify the application process and broaden access to financial aid.
dotEDU Live: The Pre-Thanksgiving Policy Roundup
November 16, 2023
dotEDU Live: The Pre-Thanksgiving Policy Roundup
Hosts Jon Fansmith and Sarah Spreitzer are joined by their ACE colleague Steven Bloom to discuss how the never-ending threats of a government shutdown are impacting funding legislation for higher education.
dotEDU Live: Chaos in Congress and the Higher Ed Agenda
October 19, 2023
dotEDU Live: Chaos in Congress and the Higher Ed Agenda
Hosts Jon Fansmith and Sarah Spreitzer discuss the House speaker race and its implications for the packed agenda—such as the ongoing spending battle—in Congress, as well as its impact on the Biden administration.
 
 
 

Extending Enrollment and Financial Aid Deadlines

See which institutions have responded to FAFSA delays by extending the traditional May 1 deadline for admitted students to enroll. 

Read More