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Wyden, Warren call on Education Department contractor to provide answers for failures of new FAFSA launch


WASHINGTON (KTVZ) -- Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote to the CEO of General Dynamics on Wednesday, seeking answers on the company’s role in the “bungled launch” of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

In the letter, the senators noted that despite General Dynamics receiving a $121.8 million contract to modernize the process, the new FAFSA has been riddled with technical issues, drastically hindering students seeking financial aid.   

“These failures are hurting students. ‘Colleges and universities are beginning to receive financial aid information on students after months of delays.’ But millions of students are in limbo, and ‘(t)here are growing concerns that the FAFSA problems will disproportionately affect traditionally underserved communities, particularly Black, Latino, first-generation and low-income students,’” the senators wrote.

General Dynamics received a $121.8 million contract to modernize the FAFSA system following the changes made in the FAFSA Simplification Act in June 2022. Among the goals of the modernization project, General Dynamics promised, “(t)he new system will improve the overall customer experience, as well as deliver cost savings and operational flexibility to quickly scale in response to any future regulations or requirements.”

“These promises were not kept; indeed, it now appears that your efforts to date have been a near-total failure and that the FAFSA problems caused by this failure are harming millions of students and hundreds of colleges,” continued the senators. 

With delays affecting millions of students that depend on FAFSA aid, the senators asked the company to respond to their questions about the FAFSA rollout no later than April 23, 2024.

Full text of the letter is here.

Article Topic Follows: Government-politics

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