September 17, 2019 – On Tuesday, September 17, Reps. Lori Trahan (D-MA) and Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) introduced the bipartisan “Financial Aid Communication and Transparency Act of 2019,” or FACT Act, a bill that seeks to improve institutions’ financial aid offers by requiring them to use consumer-tested standard terms and definitions, and include explanatory notes about each type of aid, among other information.
By more clearly outlining the true costs of enrolling, the bill sponsors hope that students and families will be able to better think ahead about how to finance their education, which should reduce the risk of stopping out before earning a degree, or take on unmanageable amounts of loan debt.
Many of the elements that the bill would require institutions to adopt into their financial aid offers closely align with those included in the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators', or NASFAA’s, Code of Conduct — such as requiring institutions to include an itemized list of its cost of attendance components, and that grants be listed separately from other types of aid, such as loans.
“Financial aid offers play a critical role in helping students and families understand how to pay for college,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “It is equally critical that aid offers are transparent and provided in a way that helps students truly understand what they will pay today, and into the future. While NASFAA has required member institutions to meet many of these standards for years, we appreciate the compounding and amplifying positive effect that this bill would have on thousands of schools and millions of students. We applaud Representatives Trahan and Smucker, and urge Congress to take swift action on this bill.”
NASFAA policy experts and financial aid administrators can discuss the FACT Act as it relates to NASFAA’s Code of Conduct. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact NASFAA Director of Marketing and Communication Erin Powers at 202-785-6959 or [email protected].
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 28,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the United States. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit www.nasfaa.org.
Publication Date: 9/17/2019