New tool breaks down federal policy

NASFAA releases interactive tool for navigating the federal budget process

federal-tool-NASFAAWhat is the purpose of the president’s annual budget request and when can it be expected? What is the role of a Congressional Budget Committee? How does it differ from Appropriations? What is an omnibus spending bill, and when does it come into play? Confused or need more clarification? There’s an easy tool for that.

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) has created a new, interactive Federal Budget Tool to help administrators (and proactive parents and students) ascertain the answers to these questions, and to navigate the process through which the federal student aid programs are funded each year.

“As federal student aid programs and financially needy postsecondary education students face annual budget challenges and attempts to reduce or eliminate spending, a working knowledge of the federal budget process is more important now than at any time in the history of the Higher Education Act,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “NASFAA’s handy online roadmap is intended to guide users through the federal budget process, and help them understand it in a simple and easy to follow way.”

(Next page: Features of the tool)

Using mouse-over functionality, and hyperlinks, the tool guides users through each step, displaying relevant players and key actions that must occur at each juncture.

A piece of the tool:


Using this foundation, NASFAA’s goal is to offer higher education stakeholders a more confident understanding of the seemingly complex federal budget process.

The tool starts by asking users to download the NASFAA Monograph–a primer on the federal budget process, which breaks down information into:

  • The history and background of the process
  • Principal participants and their roles
  • What gets enforced in the budget resolution
  • The spending authority and the federal student aid programs
  • Cost-estimating with Stafford Loans
  • A timetable for annual action

The primer also comes with a glossary of terms and additional resources.

You can find the tool and the primer on NASFAA’s website here.

*Material from a press release was used in this report.