Republicans target Education Department for financial aid delays as Cardona shifts blame – Washington Examiner

The Department of Education has become the latest target of the Republican Party’s ire after Secretary Miguel Cardona blamed colleges for the delay in financial aid offers.

Cardona claimed some colleges and universities were not ready to receive the “institutional student information records” that are necessary to give students financial aid offers.

“Based on some of the requests we received from schools earlier this week, we believe some schools are still not fully prepared to receive ISIRs,” Cardona said in a letter last week. “It’s critical that your team is ready to receive student records and can begin putting together student aid packages as efficiently as possible.”

The delay has prompted backlash from some Republicans in the Senate, including Education Committee ranking member Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

“We are months behind schedule because the Department of Education failed to do its job over the last three years,” Cassidy told Politico on Friday. “Secretary Cardona and the Department need to take responsibility and show they are committed to making it right. Attempting to deflect blame onto anyone else is not taking responsibility.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) also claimed the “blame is all with the Department of Education.”

The monthlong delay in the rollout of a renovated FAFSA has caused setbacks of roughly 6 million college applications, which is the opposite of what the revamped form was intended to do.

The department started sending out ISIRs to colleges last week, but only a few hundred thousand records have been processed so far.

“Secretary Cardona has been crystal clear — the Department is working tirelessly to ensure every student who qualifies for aid can fill out a FAFSA form with ease and access the aid they need to attain their higher education goals,” an Education Department spokesperson said in a statement. “[The Secretary] is committed to making sure colleges have the information, tools, and training they need to tackle the significant undertaking of getting aid in the hands of millions of students as quickly as possible.”


The delay is also forcing schools to back up their commitment deadlines because it could be mid-April by the time the backlog is cleared. That would give students only a couple of weeks to make their decisions, as May 1 is the cutoff for most schools.

Approximately half of all U.S. colleges have announced they will push back their deadlines, and another 13% have already made the adjustment.