Reporter’s notebook

Photo: Matthew Dembicki
  • FAFSA update
  • Reforming remedial education

FAFSA update

The U.S. Department of Education provided information last week on the launch of the 2025-26 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, as well as opportunities to submit feedback.

The Education Department (ED) already has received and processed more than 11.1 million FAFSA forms for the 2024-25 award year, which will begin July 1, 2024. ED says it has made significant progress in closing the gap in FAFSA submissions to 8% compared to this time last year, down from nearly 40% in March.

The department is working toward a goal of launching the 2025-26 FAFSA form on October 1.

ED will host a series of listening sessions in the near future to inform how to better support students, families, colleges, states and other stakeholders for the 2025-26 FAFSA cycle. In addition, a Request for Information (RFI) will be released this summer to solicit feedback from those not able to attend the sessions.

According to the Federal Student Aid (FSA) office, the listening sessions and RFI will lead to the development of a new Better FAFSA Better Future Roadmap—to be released in late summer. It will outline new tools the department is making available, such as additional trainings, webinars and student tip sheets.

ED is bringing on Jeremy Singer to help FSA deliver the Better FAFSA. Singer is taking temporary leave from his role as president of College Board to join the department.

Reforming remedial education

FutureEd released a report Monday that examines the past, present and future of remedial education.

For decades, hundreds of thousands of entering college students — including more than half of all community college enrollees — were required to take developmental courses in reading, writing and math. Nearly 40% of remedial students at community college never completed their remedial classes, a 2012 Complete College America report revealed.

In the early 2010s, state governments, higher education institutions, nonprofits and philanthropies coalesced to tackle the remedial education problem. Though successful strategies emerged, “the reforms have stalled and vast numbers of students, many of them Black, Latino, and low-income, remain stuck in the quagmire of traditional remedial education,” according to the new FutureEd report.

The report includes key steps that policymakers should take to get back on track in reforming developmental education, as well as examples of how colleges are engaging faculty, collecting data and improving reform models.

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