May 08, 2024

Wyden, Colleagues Call for Increased Funding to the Office of Federal Student Aid

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden today joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and 23 Senate colleagues urging Senate appropriators to provide $2.7 billion in funding to the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) in fiscal year (FY) 2025.

“Fully funding the President’s request for FSA this fiscal year – a $625 million increase from the FY 2023 levels – is particularly critical given that FSA’s FY 2023 and FY 2024 funding was stagnant compared to previous years, severely undermining FSA’s ability to implement critical programs,” the senators wrote to Senator Tammy Baldwin, Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, and Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee.

FSA is tasked with making major improvements to student financial aid services, including an overhaul of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) through the contractor General Dynamics. However, implementation of the FAFSA overhaul has been plagued by delays and glitches in processing, in part due to insufficient funding for FSA affecting millions of students’ college applications.

“[I]mplementation has been plagued by delays and glitches in processing. Additional resources are necessary to fix the problems and ensure that these laws are fully implemented, making federal student aid more accessible for more than 17 million students,” the senators continued.

The agency is also overseeing the return to repayment for student loan borrowers whose payments were paused during the pandemic and is working to implement a series of reforms to fix aspects of the student loan system that have failed borrowers. Wyden and Warren also have recently called on the Education Department to hold General Dynamics, the contractor responsible for the new FAFSA overhaul, accountable for its disastrous rollout.

“FSA’s responsibilities have increased to protect students and borrowers, but its federal funding has remained stagnant. The lack of adequate resources creates more barriers for students to start and continue their education,” the senators concluded in their letter. “We believe this funding request is needed to provide FSA with the resources it needs to fulfill its goal of ensuring that all eligible students and families can access federal student grants, loans, and work-study funds to pursue education and training beyond high school.”

Along with Wyden, the letter led by Warren was also signed by Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). 

The full text of the letter is here.