ED Review (05/10/24)



On May 2, President Biden offered remarks on recent events on college campuses.  “We’ve all seen the images, and they put to the test two fundamental American principles,” he said.  “The first is the right to free speech and for people to peacefully assemble.  The second is the rule of law.  Both must be upheld.”

“In moments like this, there are always those who rush in to score political points, but this isn’t a moment for politics,” he continued.  “It’s a moment for clarity….  Destroying property is not a peaceful protest.  It’s against the law.  Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, forcing the cancellation of classes and graduations — none of this is a peaceful protest.  Threatening people, intimidating people, instilling fear in people is not peaceful protest….  It’s basically a matter of fairness.  It’s a matter of what’s right.  There’s the right to protest but not the right to cause chaos.”

“Let’s be clear about this as well,” the President concluded.  “There should be no place on any campus, no place in America for antisemitism or threats of violence against Jewish students.  There is no place for hate speech or violence of any kind, whether its antisemitism, Islamophobia, or discrimination against Arab Americans or Palestinian Americans….  I understand people have strong feelings and deep convictions….  But it doesn’t mean anything goes.  It needs to be done without violence, without destruction, without hate, and within the law.”

A day later (May 3), Secretary Cardona issued a letter to all college and university presidents echoing the President’s message.  “As the 2023-24 school year comes to a close, I remain incredibly concerned about antisemitic hate directed at students on some campuses,” he said.  “At the Department of Education, we are eager to provide further resources, training, and technical assistance to help you ensure that our nation’s institutions of higher education foster a culture of safety and inclusion while fulfilling their obligations under federal civil rights law.”  (Note: Among the resources is a federal Campus Safety Resource Guide.)

And, on Holocaust Remembrance Day (May 7), the Biden Administration announced several new actions to counter the rise of antisemitism.  This included a Dear Colleague Letter to schools districts and colleges from the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) with examples of antisemitic discrimination, as well as other forms of hate, that could lead to investigations for violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  In the last seven months, OCR has opened more than 100 investigations into complaints alleging discrimination based on shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.

Early last week, the Department announced that it had completed reprocessing the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) forms impacted by known issues with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data, which should enable all institutions to package financial aid offers (electronic announcement).  It also announced changes to allow applicants and contributors without a Social Security number to immediately access and submit the online form (electronic announcement).  These actions coincide with an ongoing national outreach campaign to continue increasing completion rates; to date, the agency has processed some nine million FAFSA forms.

Meanwhile, the Department remains active in its outreach to students and contributors who need to make a correction to their 2024-25 FAFSA form.  Corrections should only take a few minutes to complete.  The following videos — in English and Spanish — walk students and contributors through the process.

Also, this week, the Department launched a $50 million program, as part of the FAFSA Student Support Strategy, to help districts, states, non-profit organizations, and other public and private organizations with efforts to boost FAFSA completion.  These funds will help grow organizations’ capacity (advisers, counselors, and coaches) to support students and contributors, including extended hours through evenings, weekends, and the summer.  The funds will also facilitate submission clinics, including through partnerships with schools and districts, and provide transportation as needed.  Additionally, the funds will help organizations communicate with students and families, via text, calls, and video-conferences, in multiple languages as needed.

In other student loan-related news:

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Processing Improvements: What Borrowers Can Expect

Update for Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) Student Loan Borrowers

Biden Administration approves $6.1 billion group student loan discharge for 317,000 borrowers who attended The Art Institutes (see also President Biden’s statement)



On April 26, the Secretary  the 2024 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees.  A total of 41 schools and one early learning center, 10 districts, and three postsecondary institutions — nominated by 24 states — were selected for progress in reducing environmental impact and utility costs, promoting better health for students and staff, and offering effective environmental education.  To learn more about these honorees, review the nomination packageshighlights report, and Homeroom blog.  They will be presented plaques at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in July.  (Note: There are resources for all schools at all levels available through the Green Strides School Sustainability Resource Hub.)

That same day, the Biden Administration hosted the first-ever Students, teachers, school administrators, facilities and grounds experts, advocates, and labor leaders joined with the Departments of Education and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to discuss deployment of unprecedented levels of federal funding available for school infrastructure and spotlight examples where communities are taking action to address the climate crisis, improve learning, and protect children’s health (fact sheet).  (Note: During the summit, the Administration released a toolkit to guide school leaders on achieving health and sustainability goals.)


Then, on May 9, the Secretary announced the 2024 class of U.S. Presidential Scholars.  This program was established by Executive Order in 1964 (happy 60th anniversary!) to honor academic achievement of graduating high school seniors.  It was expanded in 1979 to honor seniors excelling in the arts and in 2015 to honor seniors excelling in career-technical education (CTE).  Each year, 161 students are named, including at least two students from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American families living abroad.  Another 15 are chosen at-large, 20 are scholars in the arts, and 20 are scholars in CTE.  This year, over 5,700 candidates qualified based on exceptional ACT or SAT scores or nominations by Chief State School Officers, partner organizations, and the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts competition.  The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by the President, selects the finalists based on academic success, school evaluations, transcripts, and essays, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and commitment to high ideals.  (Note: All the Scholars will be recognized this summer with an online program.)


Reminder: 2024 President’s Education Awards Program (PEAP) Excellence and Achievement certificates, as well as congratulatory letters from the President and the Secretary, are readily available for download by school principals.



Last week, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden hosted the first-ever at the White House, honoring the 2024 National Teacher of the Year and State Teachers of the Year across the country.  “Tonight, we celebrate you, because teaching isn’t just a job.  It’s a calling.  And all of you were called to this profession for a reason,” the First Lady emphasized in her remarks.  “You believe that a better world is possible — and you make that world real, one student at a time….  To answer this call of teaching is, in itself, an act of hope.  You look at your students and don’t just see who they are today — you see all the possibility of tomorrow.  You help them find the light within themselves.  And that light lives on in all of you” (posts from the White House and Secretary Cardona).

Ahead of the dinner, the Biden Administration announced new efforts to strengthen the teaching profession and support schools nationwide — including actions to increase teacher recruitment and retention, new data on how PSLF is benefitting educators in every state and Congressional district, and new funding to increase the pipeline for special education teachers.

This week, National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 6-10), the Biden Administration saluted educators.

President Biden issued a proclamation, noting “Teachers are the heart and soul of our nation.  They care for our nation’s students, pass on knowledge to rising generations, and inspire our children to dream up new possibilities for their futures.  The power of a great teacher is profound…and we thank them for their tireless efforts and recommit to taking care of our teachers, just as they have taken care of all of us.”

The First Lady led a for educators with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA).

Secretary Cardona released a personal video and a collaborative video with fellow Cabinet officials and shared a video featuring Mrs. Ransom — “the reason that he became an educator.”

“Teaching is the only profession that creates other professions,” notes one of many Department posts.  “Without teachers, there would be no engineers, doctors, artists, innovators, leaders…or other teachers!”  Another post shared a group photo of former teachers working at the agency.

Many others offered gratitude, and the 2024 State Teachers of the Years offered some words of wisdom.



The Department’s Performance Improvement Office (PIO), within the Office of the Deputy Secretary, recently published the agency’s Fiscal Year 2023 Annual Performance Report (APR) and FY 2025 Annual Performance Plan (APP).  The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to report on progress toward achieving the goals and objectives of their strategic plans to Congress and the public.  The FY 2023 APR highlights key successes, activities, and milestones accomplished by program offices under each strategic goal and reports the status of performance indicators.  The FY 2025 APP describes core strategies and activities that the Department will implement in the upcoming fiscal year and establishes targets for performance indicators.  Program offices and staff may use the APR-APP to support performance planning and prioritization.  (Note: Additional information about performance improvement initiatives is available online.)



President Biden issued a proclamation on Public Service Recognition Week.

The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced a series of cross-sector actions to help propel a more equitable science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) ecosystem.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shared the latest findings from the School Pulse Panel, covering mental health and well-being, public schools’ handling of students who have sustained concussions or other traumatic brain injuries, and anticipated hiring needs before the next school year.

On May 9, during Mental Health Awareness Month, the Biden Administration announced new actions to increase access to school-based mental health services.

Secretary Cardona testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (videoopening statement, and full statement) and the House Education and the Workforce Committee (videoopening statement, and full statement) on the President’s FY 2025 budget request for the Department of Education.

The Department is currently inviting applications under the Education Innovation and Research Program (EIR) Early-PhaseMid-Phase, and Expansion grant competitions.

The Department is also currently soliciting applications under the Comprehensive Centers Program, competing one National Comprehensive Center that will serve all states, 14 regional centers, and four new content centers that will provide technical expertise on English Learners and multilingualism, early school success, fiscal equity, and strengthening and supporting the educator workforce.

Don’t miss these new Homeroom blogs: “Multilingualism, My Superpower!,” “A Leap Ahead: How Community College has Given Me a Head Start on the World,” “Walking a Path Towards Indigenous Education,” and “How Mentoring is Reaching New Teachers in Rural Alaska.”

The latest “Lessons from the Field” webinar session focused on effectively responding to incidents of school violence.

NCES unveiled a Digest State Dashboard centralizing state-level data (blog post).



“I know that we have common ground when it comes to our horror at the appalling antisemitism we are seeing on some college campuses.  As the President said last week, there should be no place on any campus, no place in America for antisemitism or threats of violence against Jewish students.  There is no place for hate speech or violence of any kind.  The Biden Administration, including the Department of Education, is taking action each and every day to help ensure that schools and colleges are free from discrimination and safe for Jewish students — and all students — and we will continue to do so.  Make no mistake: antisemitism is discrimination and is prohibited by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

— Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona (5/7/24), testifying on the President’s FY 2025 budget request


This month marks the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education.  The Departments of Education and Justice will jointly host a virtual program on May 14, from 1 to 3 p.m. Eastern Time, to commemorate the decision and reflect on the work that remains to fulfill Brown’s promise.  Please register today to reserve your spot.

The next webinar in the Department’s Correctional Education Webinar Series, titled “Pipeline to Pell,” is scheduled for May 23 at 2 p.m. ET.