The Department of Education will extend waivers for certain verification requirements on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Had the department not extended the waivers, more than 100,000 students could have been forced to pause or leave postsecondary education, according to an announcement released Wednesday.
FAFSA verification, the process used by colleges and universities to confirm data reported on the federal financial aid form, has been shown to disproportionately harm low-income students, who have been hit the hardest by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Education Department says these waivers will eliminate “administrative burdens” for colleges and allow them to focus their resources on helping more at-risk students get through college.
“Financial aid administrators across the country will put these waivers to good use and, as they did last year, will fast-track financial aid dollars to students who are otherwise mired in bureaucratic red tape,” said Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
The waivers, which are temporary, were first introduced in July 2021 as an effort to curb declining enrollment during the pandemic. The waivers will be extended into the 2022–23 FAFSA cycle.