NASFAA Updates Glossary of Terms for Award Notifications

By Megan Walter, Policy & Federal Relations Staff

In an effort to more accurately reflect the current financial aid environment, the NASFAA Ethics Commission has updated the Glossary of Terms for Award Notifications, after consulting with NASFAA membership, the NASFAA Board of Directors, and members of the higher education community. The Glossary of Terms for Award Notifications was originally  created in 2012 by NASFAA’s Award Notification Task Force, and subsequently adopted into NASFAA’s Code of Conduct.

The updated glossary pertains to the NASFAA Code of Conduct provisions related to award notifications:

Institutional award notifications and/or other institutionally-provided materials shall include the following:

  1. A breakdown of individual components of the institution's Cost of Attendance, designating all potential billable charges.
  2. Clear identification of each award, indicating type of aid, i.e. gift aid (grant, scholarship), work, or loan.
  3. Standard terminology and definitions, using NASFAA's Glossary of Terms for Award Notifications.
  4. Renewal requirements for each award.

As a reminder, institutional members of NASFAA are expected to adhere to these provisions when developing their award notifications.

Financial aid award notifications have recently become a focus of lawmakers, as college accountability and transparency continue to be at the forefront of conversations around reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA). Last month, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Joni Ernst (R-IA), introduced the "Understanding the True Cost of College Act," a bill created to standardize financial aid offer forms, by mandating the use of standard language and a standard format, as well as multiple other items.

Last year NASFAA’s Board of Directors voted to support legislative strides to develop a set of common, consumer-tested terminologies, definitions, and specific elements to be on every award notification, rather than full standardization. NASFAA understands the value of clear, concise, accurate information for students and parents, and has continued its work to improve award letters.

Glossary of Terms for Award Notifications


Publication Date: 5/6/2019

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