Confusion on College Costs
"A study of proposed templates for financial aid letters released today suggests that students and parents want information that’s clear and easy to understand -- but they’re not particularly thrilled with any of the options available so far," Inside Higher Ed reports. "The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators tested three 'shopping sheets' -- the Education Department’s version, the association’s own suggestion and a hybrid shopping sheet that combined the two -- on several small focus groups of high school and college students, and parents of students, from across sectors of higher education. ... But none of the options were particularly helpful, focus group participants said, when it came to determining how much they would have to pay on their own -- through work-study, student loans or out-of-pocket payments. Of participants given the hybrid award letter, 40 percent could figure out how much they would owe after grants; 42 percent of federal shopping sheet recipients could do so; and 23 percent of those who read NASFAA’s letter would know how much they would owe. In the report, NASFAA called for improved consumer testing of proposed disclosures. 'Had any of these three letters been mandated, it likely would have been met with confusion, dissatisfaction and otherwise unnecessary phone calls to institutions,' the group wrote."
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