Student-Aid Association Puts Award Letters to a Test
"Consumer advocates have complained for years that financial-aid award letters are difficult for students to understand and compare, and have called for the letters to be standardized," The Chronicle of Higher Education's Head Count reports. "The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators opposes the idea of a standard aid-award letter, saying colleges should be free to design formats with their own would-be students in mind. But the association does say that the letters should contain standard elements. To clarify which approaches seem to work best, the association hired the research firm JBL Associates Inc. to subject to a consumer test the federal government’s “Shopping Sheet,” a letter designed from the association’s own recommendations, and a hybrid of the two. A report with the results of that consumer testing was released on Tuesday. 'No single award-letter proposal is perfect,' the report says. The largest share of participants in the testing, 46 percent, chose the hybrid letter as the most clear and easy to understand."
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