Student-Aid Group Releases Proposed Changes In Ethics Documents

"A task force of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators on Monday submitted proposed revisions in its ethics documents to its members for their feedback," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

"The proposed changes deal with financial-aid issues that have been raised or amplified in recent years, including transparency about college costs and how student data can be used.

The task force will incorporate member feedback as it sees fit and submit final recommendations for the association’s board to vote on in late March.

The association, known as NASFAA, adopted its Statement of Ethical Principles, which it asks members to strive to meet, in 1999. A Code of Conduct, which members are required to observe, was added in 2007.

NASFAA has an important role in shaping the profession’s standards, said Justin Draeger, its president. 'If we don’t police ourselves and hold ourselves to the highest standard,' he said, 'we’re inviting others to do it for us.' ...

One proposed addition to the documents concerns financial-aid award letters. Advocates have said for years that colleges should be required to follow a standard format in the aid-award notifications they send to students. NASFAA, which had a separate committee look at the issue, has taken a different position: that colleges should be free to customize the letters, but the letters should contain standard elements.

A proposed addition to the Statement of Ethical Principles says that award notices 'must accurately display both billable institutional charges and nonbilled allowable expenses.' ...

Mr. Draeger doesn’t expect the proposed changes to stir up much controversy among the group’s members. For most, he suspects, the real challenge will be carrying out whatever changes the board adopts. But the association, he said, will be there to help them."

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