Current administration today released its fiscal year 2021 budget request, which proposes a $5.6 billion cut to Department of Education programs. The $66.6 billion funding request amounts to a 7.8% decrease compared to what was enacted in fiscal year (FY) 2020, and includes alarming cuts to several student aid programs, including eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant programs, and eliminating subsidized student loans. However, the budget also includes support to allow incarcerated individuals to have access to the Pell Grant, at an estimated cost of $10 million in the first year.
Notably, the budget also included several policy proposals for which NASFAA has advocated, such as allowing financial aid professionals the flexibility to set lower loan limits and require annual loan counseling in certain nondiscriminatory situations, and bringing independent oversight to the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA), to ensure accountability for taxpayers, transparency for
policymakers, and collaboration for stakeholders. The proposal also calls for limits to the amount that can be borrowed by graduate students and parents — ideas that NAFSAA has also explored in recent years.