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Editorial: Education: FAFSA workaround deserves praise

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Delays and glitches in dealing with the federal government are nothing new for West Virginians. But we tend to get more fired up when those glitches are causing a problem for our kids. Parents who are trying to help their kids transition from high school to higher education may have run into the mess that’s been made of the rollout for a new submission process for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA determines what kinds of need-based federal student aid to provide for college and university attendees and how much. That data is, in turn, used by states to figure out what aid is available for them at that level.

Delays have been so substantial that Richard Cordray, the chief operating officer for the Federal Student Aid program, announced he will step down.

But that doesn’t help students and parents figure out what to do next. And so, the governor has declared a state of emergency for education in West Virginia. This will help bypass the FAFSA requirement and get the ball rolling for state aid, though families are still encouraged to fill out the federal forms.

“We can’t let our kids suffer,” Sarah Armstrong Tucker, the chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, said earlier this week.

“To the students and families, I want you to know that we have your back. We want you to know that if you qualify for PROMISE and/or the higher education grant, you will get that money for this fall regardless of your FAFSA status … this is a huge step in the right direction for our students.”

Rest assured there are still hoops to jump through, but they are here at home, rather than in Washington, D.C. Higher education officials are to be commended for putting together a plan that works around the federal government while it gets its ducks in a row.

Read more: https://www.newsandsentinel.com/opinion/editorials/2024/05/education-fafsa-workaround-deserves-praise/

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