ED Review (04/26/24)


Last week, the Department released its final regulations under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.  This rule promotes educational equity and opportunity for students across the country, as well as accountability and fairness, while empowering and supporting students and families (see also Secretary Cardona’s video).

The final regulations advance Title IX’s promise of ensuring no person experiences sex discrimination, including sex-based harassment or violence, in federal-funded education.  They also restore and strengthen vital protections for students and provide schools with information to meet their Title IX obligations, while offering appropriate discretion and flexibility to account for variations in school size, student populations, and administrative structures.  In addition, they require schools to take prompt and effective action when notified of conduct that reasonably may constitute sex discrimination in their programs or activities.  And, they reaffirm the Department’s core commitment to fundamental fairness for all parties, the rights of parents and guardians to support their minor children, and respect for complainants’ autonomy.

Review the unofficial version of the rule online.  The Department also released a fact sheetsummary of the major provisions, and a resource for drafting Title IX non-discrimination policies, notices of non-discrimination, and grievance procedures.

The final regulations are effective on August 1, 2024, and apply to complaints of sex discrimination regarding alleged conduct that occurs on or after that date.  The Department is committed to supporting schools in implementing the rule and will provide technical assistance and resources to support compliance.

Meanwhile, the Department’s rulemaking process is ongoing for a Title IX regulation related to athletics.  The agency proposed amendments to this rule in April 2023 and received over 150,000 public comments, which, by law, must be carefully considered.

For the latest information related to the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), bookmark FAFSA Fast News, a new blog on the Federal Student Aid (FSA) web site dedicated to implementation of the Better FAFSA.

Some key excerpts:

April 12 — Earlier this week, Secretary Cardona sent a letter to leadership at all schools to update them directly about recent steps to provide support as they navigate the new FAFSA process.

April 15 — Today kicks off the Department’s FAFSA Week of Action and the #FAFSAFastBreak national campaign (see also Homeroom blogs commencing and recapping the week/campaign).

April 16 — As we announced last week, students and their contributors can now make corrections to change or add to their 2024-25 FAFSA forms, including adding schools, signing, or consenting for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data to be shared.  This week and throughout the month, we will follow up with students directly by email if they need to make a correction to successfully submit the 2024-25 FAFSA form…  In an April 15 Electronic Announcement, we explained that, within one to three days of an applicant submitting a correction, schools and states typically should receive a new Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) transaction and students should be able to review their updated FAFSA Submission Summary.

April 18 — Yesterday, the Department began reprocessing FAFSA forms affected by known issues with FAFSA Processing System data….  An April 17 Electronic Announcement also laid out our timeline to reprocess FAFSA forms affected by tax data issues.

April 19 — We will send school district-level FAFSA submission data to governors’ offices so they can identify which districts have the biggest gaps in submissions and plan accordingly.

April 25 — The Department continues to post high school FAFSA submission rates by state….  It also posts high school- and district-level data by state on a weekly basis.

As of April 25, nearly 8.2 million 2024-25 FAFSA forms have been submitted.  They are being processed as they come in, and information is typically sent to schools within one to three business days.



This week, Secretary Cardona the selection of Mario Diaz Albarran, head custodian at Lincoln Elementary School in Palatine, Illinois, as the nation’s Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award honoree.  This recognition, established by Congress in 2019, elevates classified school employees’ outstanding contributions to quality K-12 education.  Such employees include paraprofessionals and those in administrative and clerical services, custodial and maintenance services, food and nutrition services, health and student services, skilled trades, technical services, and transportation services.  The agency received 27 nominations from 15 states.  Governors’ offices determined their processes for selecting up to two nominees, documenting excellence in five areas: work performance, school and community involvement, leadership and commitment, local support (from co-workers, school administrators, community members, etc.), and enhancement of school employees’ image in schools and the community (award ceremony article and Homeroom blog).



The Department is currently soliciting applications under several discretionary grant competitions.

Competitive Grants for State Assessments Program.  The purpose of this program is to enhance the quality of assessment instruments and systems used by states for measuring the academic achievement and growth of elementary and secondary school students.  (Note: The deadline for applications is May 22.)

Charter Schools Program (CSP) State GrantsDeveloper Grants, and Facilities Incentive Grants.  These grants support the start-up of new charter schools and the replication and expansion of high-quality charter schools, as well as the schools’ access to facilities and information dissemination and evaluation activities.  (Note: The deadline for applications is June 13, June 24, and July 23, respectively.)

Comprehensive Literacy State Development Program.  This program awards funding to advance literacy skills, through the use of evidence-based practices, activities, and interventions, including pre-literacy skills, reading, and writing, for children from birth through twelfth-grade, with an emphasis on disadvantaged children.  (Note: The deadline for applications is June 24.)

Also, in a Federal Register notice, the Department announced new opportunities for individuals to participate in its peer review process for discretionary grant funding under programs administered by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), and the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE).



Secretary Cardona traveled this month to Connecticut to highlight the importance of quality career pathways programs in correctional facilities and promote community colleges.  First, in recognition of Second Chance Month, the Secretary visited Cheshire Correctional Institution, where he observed classroom instruction.  Then, in celebration of Community College Month, he visited Connecticut State Community College-Middlesex to reflect on the critical partnerships between correctional facilities and two-year colleges to create courses for incarcerated students(photos).

During the trip, the Department announced a new path for borrowers who are incarcerated to exit default through consolidation, providing them access to improve their credit and better repayment options.  Those who had student loans before becoming incarcerated may consolidate their loans to get out of default, providing them with certain types of loans — including Perkins Loans and commercially held Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL) loans — to gain access to income-driven repayment (IDR) plans such as the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan.  Those who are incarcerated may also sign up for Fresh Start — another exit default option — until September 30, 2024.

In Connecticut and then in Arkansas, the Secretary also joined FAFSA clinics for high school seniors and families.



In a statement on Passover, President Biden noted, “[W]e must speak out against the alarming surge of antisemitism — in our schools, communities, and online….  Even in recent days, we’ve seen harassment and calls for violence against Jews.  This blatant antisemitism is reprehensible and dangerous — and it has absolutely no place on college campuses or anywhere in our country.”  (Note: Secretary Cardona also addressed antisemitism and protests in posts 1 and 2.)

The President issued a proclamation on Earth Day, and the White House released a fact sheet on climate action.  (Note: Today is the first-ever White House Summit for Sustainable and Healthy K-12 School Buildings and Grounds — from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time.)

The President also issued a proclamation on the 25th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, and the White House shared a readout of the convening of federal agencies — including Education — as part of the Administration’s gun violence emergency response protocol.

And, in the Federal Register, the Administration released the first set of draft rules to provide debt relief to millions of federal student loan borrowers (press release).

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden promoted career-connected learning programs in North Carolina (remarks).

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shared the latest findings from the School Pulse Panel, covering concerns from school leaders and parents, development of social-emotional skills, and state assessment perceptions during the 2023-24 school year.

The Department published the list of semifinalists for the 2024 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

The Department hosted the Securing the Mental Health of America’s College Students Pre-Conference (April 23) and the Attaining College Excellence and Equity Advising Summit (April 24), underscoring the Administration’s commitment to ensuring that students of all backgrounds can succeed in any postsecondary pathway.  (Note: At the summit, the Secretary announced the release of a Request for Information [RFI] to develop a Postsecondary Student Success Recognition Program.)

Don’t miss these new Homeroom blogs: “An Update on the First Months of the Return to Repayment,” “Made for Our Times: Mobility, Vibrancy, and the Next 123 Years of the Community College Movement,” and “Myth vs. Fact: Academic Advisors.”

In his first blog as Acting Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Director, Matthew Soldner committed IES to contributing to a more inclusive R&D ecosystem.

The Department of Agriculture announced that nutrition standards for school meals will be gradually updated to include less sugar and greater flexibility with menu planning — between falls 2025 and 2027 (see also Secretary Cardona’s post).

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is seeking ideas to develop a federal framework, guidelines, and leading practices for public participation and community engagement activities to help federal agencies more broadly and meaningfully engage with individuals and communities.



“For over half a century, Title IX has opened doors, expanded access, and promised fairness.  Before Title IX was passed in 1972, women and girls didn’t have equal access to education in this country.  That was unacceptable then, and it’s unfathomable now….  These regulations make it crystal clear that everyone can access schools that are safe, welcoming, and respect their rights.  They clarify that Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination includes all forms of sex discrimination.  No one should have to give up their dreams of attending or finishing school because they’re pregnant.  No one should face bullying or discrimination just because of who they are or who they love.”

— Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona (4/18/24), on a call with reporters about the Title IX final rule



Among other observances, May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, National Foster Care Month, and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

The next webinar in the Department’s Correctional Education Webinar Series, titled “Pipeline to Pell,” is scheduled for April 30 at 2 p.m. ET.

The Administration will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week (May 6-10) with a variety of activities.