Consumer Information: Not Just a Job for Financial Aid

By Sarah Austin, Project and Standards of Excellence (SOE) Manager

Student consumer information is a regulatory issue that involves many different areas on campus, so it can be difficult to identify any one person who should be responsible for complying with requirements. Often, the responsibility of ensuring compliance with consumer information requirements falls on the financial aid office, but the reality is there are numerous campus departments responsible for compliance. 

Blue Icon Advisors offers a specialized single topic assessment of consumer information, a fully remote review of an institution's compliance with the consumer information regulations and requirements. 

Brad Barnett, a Blue Icon consultant for the SOE peer review program and NASFAA's 2022-23 National Chair, has heard from more than one financial aid office that other parts of their campus don't seem to take consumer information rules as seriously as the aid office does. 

"It's important that schools consider creating a cross-divisional team to oversee consumer information, ensuring that each area of campus is complying with the requirements," Barnett said. "Understanding this is a campus-wide requirement, and getting the right people around the table to oversee [it], is a great way to ensure the school is staying on top of everything that needs to be done when it comes to consumer information."

Here are a few departments that might need to be on a cross-divisional consumer information team and areas they might oversee:


Areas of Consumer Information

Financial Aid Federal Direct Loan counseling materials, disbursement notifications, College Financing Plan, Net Price Calculator, preferred lender list and disclosures 
Campus Security Crime log, annual security report 
Registrar's Office Official withdrawal procedures, Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), completion and graduation rates, voter registration forms
Billing and Student Accounts Tier 1 (T1) and Tier 2 (T2) arrangement disclosures, refund policies
Human Resources Drug and alcohol abuse prevent program, Drug-Free Workplace statement

Lack of compliance with student consumer information is a common finding in Department of Education (ED) program reviews. In April 2022, ED announced its annual increase of maximum fines, including a fine of up to $62,689 for a single Clery Act violation. Therefore, a lack of compliance on several issues can add up to a costly financial liability to the institution. Compliance with student consumer information need not be cumbersome if a team works together on this federal requirement. 

If you want help ensuring you are in compliance with consumer information requirements, complete our no-obligation information request form to learn more about Blue Icon's single topic assessments. Read more about the experience of Montclair State University regarding its single topic assessment of Clery Act provisions.

Publication Date: 8/2/2022

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