Financial Aid Administrators to Examine Best Practices in Student Aid Award Notifications & Consumer Information

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) today announced the creation of a special Task Force to examine best practices in award notification and consumer information. This group will solicit feedback from the nation’s financial aid administrators—the professionals most qualified to assess needs and desired outcomes when it comes to student aid information for families—as well as consumer groups, students, and federal regulators. The task force will compile pertinent information, assess ways to improve or standardize elements of an award notification, and ultimately make recommendations for improvement. Consumer groups, student advocates, regulators, and lawmakers have expressed concern about the transparency, accuracy, and clarity of student financial aid award notifications. In response to these concerns that award letters are confusing and difficult for students and families to understand and compare, several national initiatives have arisen: In 2008, Congress directed the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to develop a model format for aid officers to use when informing students about their financial aid packages, and deliver recommendations back to Congress for possible legislation. In September 2011, ED held a public hearing to conduct a panel discussion and generate discussion among attendees regarding improvements to student financial aid offer forms. In October 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it too had launched an initiative to improve financial aid award information that is provided by schools to students.

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