Ernst Detains Biden Officials Who Made a Mistake…

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) led a meeting with Rich Cordray, President Biden’s Chief Operating Officer for the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA), and Melanie Storey, the Director of Federal Student Aid’s Office of Policy Implementation and Oversight (PIO), to question their botched rollout of the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), which has affected farm families.

Because Cordray is responsible and after months of her oversight that his department has been canceled, Ernst holds him responsible for a plan to fix next year’s FAFSA before he leaves in June. During the meeting, officials admitted they had failed to successfully roll out this year’s FAFSA. They identified Ernst’s bipartisanship Family Farm and Small Business Exemption Act as the best solution to tackle the problem for farming families.

Ernst was joined by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Roger Marshall (R-Kans.) and Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.). The senators questioned the administration’s failure to consult farming communities to understand how the new FAFSA asset reporting requirements would impact them, how families should reasonably calculate the value of their farms, and how the Department of Education plans to is to conduct an analysis of the 2024-2024 crisis. 2025 help process to prevent recurrence of mistakes.

“As I have long suspected, the Biden administration has left our farm families in the dust while developing their new, flawed FAFSA form.” said Senator Ernst. “People who have never stepped foot on a farm should not be writing policies that impact thousands of people in our farming communities. I will continue to push my FAmily Farm and Small Business Exemption Act and hold this administration accountable to fix their FAFSA fiasco.”

“Between this year’s FAFSA delays and the application’s vague agricultural reporting requirements, Washington bureaucrats have sown confusion among American families facing a significant financial investment in their children’s futures,” said Senator Grassley. “Senator Ernst and I will not stop until the Department of Education gives Iowans the answers they deserve.”

‘Rural America is being left behind again under the Biden administration’ said Senator Marshall. “Not only are our students facing serious delays in obtaining aid, but farm families are being completely excluded from aid thanks to the new FAFSA formula. Everyone in Kansas knows that family farms have different financial circumstances than urban America that must be taken into account. I have and will continue to pressure the department on these issues and their failed FAFSA rollout”


The FAFSA form is typically accessible to students on October 1 of each year, allowing plenty of time to submit financial information before the state and school-specific deadlines for aid eligibility. However, due to incomplete planning measures, the Department of Education released this year’s version three months late, drastically shortening the timeline for families to apply for assistance. To make matters worse, the late rollout brought additional challenges, including changes that could reduce or eliminate access to need-based student loans for farm families and small business owners.

An Iowa College Aid analysis found that previously a farm family with an income of $60,000 and a median-valued farm was expected to contribute $7,626 annually toward their child’s education. Under the new formula, that same family would be expected to contribute $41,056, and some families would be excluded from assistance altogether.

Today, only 8.7 million students have submitted their FAFSA forms, a significant drop from the more than 17 million who typically apply for aid before May 1. This includes the more than 3 million submitted applications that had to be reprocessed by the Office of Federal Student Aid, delaying aid packages for several more weeks.

To fight back, Ernst introduced the Family Farm and Small Business Exemption Act to reverse recent changes to the FAFSA process that could reduce or even eliminate access to need-based student aid for farm families and small business owners.

In addition, Ernst has provided critical oversight, demanded answers on behalf of agricultural communities and worked to gain input directly from affected Iowans.

She also has the Student Transparency Act for Understanding Education Decisions, Net Terms (STUDENT). to give prospective students an estimate of the total amount of interest they would pay on a loan.