Findings from NASFAA's Research on the College Financing Plan

CFP Report CoverIn January 2019, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released the newly updated College Financing Plan (CFP) (formerly the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet). The College Financing Plan is available for voluntary use in 2019-20 and will include additional data elements, a new responsive design, and the ability to customize the colors of the College Financing Plan to match those of your institution.

As part of this update, ED solicited comments and suggestions on the College Financing Plan. To inform our comments NASFAA conducted consumer testing by an outside consulting firm, ASA Research, LLC and conducted a membership survey. Below are the results of each, along with NASFAA's final recommendations that were submitted to the Department.

NASFAA Work on the College Financing Plan

Overall, NASFAA's recommendations to ED were as follows:

  • Permit institutions to customize the CFP to add or remove items that apply or do not apply to an institution or to an individual student.
  • Change the explanatory wording in the Expected Family Contribution section from "As calculated by the institution" to "As calculated by the Department of Education" or "As calculated by the Department of Education and/or the institution using a formula prescribed by law."
  • Remove academic year from the "Total Cost of Attendance" section; add academic year instead to the title of the form.
  • Rename the "Total Cost of Attendance" section "Estimated Cost of Attendance".
  • Allow institutions to choose whether to include both the on- and off-campus Cost of Attendance in the "Total Cost of Attendance" section.
  • Rename the "Grants and Scholarships" section "Grants, Scholarships, and Other Gift Aid," and specify in this section that grants (other than TEACH grants, when service requirements are not met) do not need to be repaid.
  • Add a new line to the Grants and Scholarships section for "Other Federal Grants."
  • Add "Estimated" to the beginning of the title of the "College Costs You Will Be Required to Pay" section.
  • Change "Net Costs" to "Net Price."
  • Rename the "Work and Loan Options to Pay the Net Costs to You" to "Work and Loan Options."
  • Remove the "Other Potential Education Benefits" section.
  • Add a line to the "For More Information and Next Steps" section for the institution's financial aid office web address or student portal address where students can go to learn more about institutional processes for accepting their aid and receiving disbursements.

Publication Date: 6/4/2019

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