WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today urged higher education leaders to implement policies that will allow students to receive their financial aid packages sooner. Beginning this fall, the Department of Education will allow students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) using two previous years’ tax data. This will enable students and their families to have the potential to understand and consider their financial aid options sooner. “Early FAFSA” will help millions of families make informed decisions about higher education and potentially increase college enrollment and completion.
Senator Baldwin led 25 Members of Congress in sending a letter to the leaders of the American Council on Education, American Association of Community Colleges, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, urging them to take steps so students and their families can take full advantage of “Early FAFSA” by providing students with aid packages at least a few weeks before the May 1 admissions deadline without moving up their priority aid deadlines.
“The colleges and universities you represent do so much every day to ensure that the federal financial aid system serves students well,” wrote the lawmakers. “We ask you to help us ensure that the promise of using prior-prior year data is fulfilled and move toward our shared goal of increasing choice, access and persistence for every student, regardless of background.”
The letter was signed by: Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Gwendolynne S. Moore (D-WI), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Mike Honda (D-CA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Jan Schakowski (D-IL), Bill Keating (D-MA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Charlie Rangel (D-NY), James P. McGovern (D-MA).
Senator Baldwin has long been a leader in creating opportunities for higher education. Last year, she introduced the Americas College Promise Act which would make two years of community college free and provide an affordable pathway for low-income students to a four-year college degree. She also introduced the In The Red Act which would allow student loan borrowers to refinance outstanding debt at lower rates, increase Pell Grants to keep pace with rising costs and make a new investment in community college.
A copy of the letter can be found here.