Financial Aid: National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Recommends Stronger Award Letters

Financial aid is often a necessity for students entering college, especially if they choose to go to private universities. Because of this, the student loan debt for people in the United States has reached over $1 Trillion.

In light of the rising debt costs for students, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is recommending stronger and more clear aid award letters, so that students and parents have an accurate description of their loans, according to SFGate.

SFGate also reports that NASFAA President Justin Draeger stated:

“As Congress and the Obama administration explore ways to improve financial aid award letters, we encourage them to consider the recommendations put forth by financial aid professionals. Incorporating the recommendations of the professionals who assist students on a daily basis and have the best working knowledge of the financial aid programs will help maximize the effectiveness of award letters and avoid unintended, negative consequences of over-prescriptive standardization.”

In order to determine the best recommendations, the NASFAA (which is comprised of 20,000 financial aid professionals at 2,800 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country), reviewed proposals from many different places, including the Obama administration, reports SFGate.

They also stated that the NASFAA evaluated sample award letters from various colleges, and surveyed financial aid offices for feedback about the letters. Finally, they consulted with other higher education associations and student aid experts.

Some of the ten recommendations they include in their report are: specific elements award letters should incorporate, a glossary to standardize award letter terminology, and additional consumer information that should accompany award letters.

According to InsideHigherEd, the report also calls for requiring that all student loans, including those from private lenders, be reported to the federal government, possibly by expanding the National Student Loan Data System.

Do you think that financial aid award letters should be standardized, and include more information?