A Year in Review: See NASFAA's Policy Papers from 2016
By Allie Bidwell, Communications Staff
From examining how to structure a theoretical "one grant, one loan" system, to investigating consumer information for graduate students, and diving into prior-prior year (PPY) implementation, NASFAA and its members across the country have made strides in influencing important policy decisions around college access and affordability, and financial aid.
Take a look back at the policy papers NASFAA published over the last year:
- "Focusing Federal Student Aid Websites On Graduate And Professional Students" (March 2016):
NASFAA's Consumer Information and Law Student Indebtedness (CILSI) Task Force set out to determine what consumer information is most vital to aiding Graduate/Professional (G/P) students, specifically law students, in making informed borrowing decisions and encouraging enrollment in and completion of law and other G/P programs. This report made recommendations for the StudentAid.gov and StudentLoans.gov websites that would expand their focus to include the needs of G/P students. Specifically, the task force recommended that ED create a new "landing page" to that would allow the user to personalize their experience based on their school type and/or individual attributes, ensuring that only information relevant to that particular student is provided.
- Examining the Lack of Graduate-Specific Data Task Force Report (July 2016):
NASFAA convened a task force to specifically look into the lack of graduate-specific data in August 2015, after the NASFAA Graduate and Professional Issues Caucus (GPIC), among other things, identified the lack of graduate-specific data as an issue of importance to the graduate/professional community. In this report, the task force made seven recommendations to help improve available resources to help both financial aid offices in their work and students in their decision making. Some of the recommendations include creating a Shopping Sheet with information specific to G/P students and G/P program-level data, and conducting additional consumer testing to better understand and address the needs of prospective G/P students as they are applying for programs.
- Examining "One Grant, One Loan" Task Force Report (August 2016):
Due to increased attention toward streamlining the federal student aid programs, NASFAA convened a "one grant, one loan" task force in October 2015. In this report, the task force detailed several considerations for policymakers should they begin to structure a "one grant, one loan" system, such as how interest rates would fare in a "one loan" system, and whether consolidation would really make the financial aid process simpler for students and families, given the existence of other sources of financial aid. In addition, the task force made several recommendations should policymakers move forward with such a system, including a recommendation to make a "Pell Well" or "Flex Pell" model of delivery, and retaining the Federal Work-Study Program, among other recommendations.
- "Market Research on Law School Student Aid Award Letters and Shopping Sheet Information" (September 2016):
In its second report, NASFAA's Consumer Information and Law Student Indebtedness (CILSI) Task Force set out to identify through consumer testing what information on the financial aid award letter and ED's Shopping Sheet could be modified to create a document that better assists students applying to, or currently attending, law school. The task force made four recommendations for policymakers, such as having software developers create a calculator to help students determine the amount they need to borrow while enrolled, and having G/P schools move toward standardizing financial aid terminology used, as well as the presentation of information.
- Implementation of Early FAFSA & PPY: Recent Experiences of Four Institutions (October 2016):
This white paper, authored by independent research consultant Alisa Cunningham, uses four institutional case studies to show how some institutions have been implementing Early FAFSA and prior-prior year (PPY). The white paper found that while the institutions differed in their contexts and approaches, there were commonalities that could help inform future decision-making. The white paper was published as part of NASFAA's PPY Toolkit, which contains tools, resources, and best practices for financial aid and admissions professionals to help ensure a smooth transition to the use of PPY and Early FAFSA.
Publication Date: 12/21/2016