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NASFAA to Congress: Help Us Make Award Notifications Easy for Students to Understand

New policy issue brief explains why schools need the flexibility to tailor their financial aid offers to needs of their students.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Institutional award notifications continue to come under scrutiny in the media for not providing clear information to students and families about the costs of attending and types of financial aid they are receiving. In an effort to help students make the most informed decisions possible when planning for college, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) this week released a policy issue brief, encouraging Congress to standardize specific elements on award notifications.

Currently, institutions tailor their financial aid award notifications to best serve the unique characteristics of their applicants. Different types of schools may see value in highlighting different aspects of financial aid awards for their specific student populations. Students at two-year community colleges with low rates of federal student loan borrowing, for instance, may not benefit from the same award notification format as students at a school where financial aid administrators have witnessed rampant overborrowing that leads to students taking on unnecessary debt.

NASFAA supports federal standards that would ensure clear award notifications for all students, while still allowing flexibility for schools to create and deliver financial aid information in a way that best meets their students' needs. The NASFAA Board of Directors recently voted to support strides to develop a set of common, consumer-tested terminologies, definitions, and elements to be on every award notification. To aid in this effort, NASFAA today released several award notification examples that show how different types of institutions can incorporate elements included in NASFAA's Code of Conduct into their aid offers.

"Students and families need clear information about the estimated costs of attending higher education and the types of financial aid available to them," said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. "We have seen enough evidence that change is needed, and the financial aid community stands ready to help develop common-sense guidelines for award notifications that will best serve students. We urge Congress to help arm students with the information they need most by granting colleges and universities the ability and flexibility to meet students' needs."

NASFAA policy experts are available to speak more about these issues and what the shift to a standardized award notification format could mean for parents, students, and schools.

About NASFAA

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents nearly 20,000 financial aid professionals at approximately 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the U.S. Based in Washington, DC, NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit http://www.nasfaa.org.