Members of Congress Urge Executive Action on Prior-Prior Year

June 10, 2015

By Kim Cook, Executive Director

Fifty-three members of Congress sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan last week urging him to use his authority to allow the use of data from the second preceding tax year, also known as “prior-prior year” data when students are filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in applying to college or university.

It is a little-known fact that the Secretary already has the legislative authority to make this shift as passed in section 480(a) of the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act. Meaning, we could begin implementing this game-changing policy immediately. The members of Congress wrote, “Resolving this situation will be an important priority for our work to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. However, we do not need to wait to provide students and families much-needed relief. The Department can and should improve the process of filling out the FAFSA right now.” Please share your thanks for this advocacy for students with the letter’s co-signers, listed below.

U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), along with U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), led the bipartisan group. Joining Baldwin, Mikulski, Bennet, Booker, and Murray in the Senate were: Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-MN), Edward Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Coons (D-DE), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Angus King, Jr. (I-ME), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Charles Schumer (D-NY).

Joining Pocan and Doggett in the House were: Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Larry Buschon (R-IN), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Ron Kind (D-WI), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), William Keating (D-MA), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), Sander Levin (D-MI), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Dennis Ross (R-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Andre Carson (D-IN), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Bill Foster (D-IL), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Dan Kildee (D-MI).

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