Ernst discusses of FAFSA problems

LAMONI — U.S. Senator Joni Ernst says time is running out for the U.S. Department of Education to fix the application college students and their parents fill out to find out how much federal aid they may qualify for.

“The money that was supposed to go to updating and simplifying the form — instead they redirected that to student debt bailout,” Ernst said. “It’s just been really, really confusing time, a very frustrating time.”

On Friday, the agency announced another error on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA form will delay decisions for up to 200,000 students. A federal law passed in late 2020 called for simplifying the FAFSA form.

“What we have now is a very, very confusing form,” Ernst said. “It’s worse than it was before and the rollout of the FAFSA has been completely botched.”

Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, cites bipartisan calls to address a new calculation of the finances of farm families and small business owners. Ernst said it doesn’t take into account those who are property rich, but don’t have the cash flow and would have to sell farmland or other property to pay for a child’s college education.

“The provision would reduce aid eligibility by thousands of dollars for our farm families and our small business families,” Ernst said.

Ernst was in Lamoni earlier this week to meet with students and administrators from Graceland University as well as the three state universities and Des Moines Area Community College about that issue as well as the delays in federal aid as well as scholarship decisions due to the FAFSA form delays.