Report: 15 Ways To Improve Consumer Information For College Students and Schools
WASHINGTON, DC — Current consumer information requirements for higher education institutions can be streamlined, enhanced or eliminated to better educate students and to remove unnecessary regulatory burden on institutional officials, according to a new policy report from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).
A geographically and institutionally diverse task force of NASFAA members evaluated existing consumer information requirements and compiled 15 recommendations to better serve and understand higher education students, while freeing up financial aid administrators to focus on vital disclosures and counseling.
The recommendations, approved by NASFAA’s Board of Directors in June 2014, span the lifecycle of a student’s college experience, and include:
- Enhancing the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) College Navigator to make it the primary tool for disseminating college information;
- making ED and loan servicers responsible for developing and distributing loan-related consumer information, including debt management; and
- repealing the ban on a federal-level student unit record, to develop a limited student unit record that collects more accurate and comprehensive data on contemporary student behavior.
“The number of disclosures students receive from their institutions is overwhelming,” says NASFAA’s President and CEO Justin Draeger. “Today’s disclosures aren’t just unhelpful, they may actually hinder students from deciphering what is truly important when making college-going and financial aid decisions. Implementing the task force’s recommendations at the federal level would greatly improve information for students.”
“Students need the most vital information delivered to them in a consumer-tested disclosure,” says task force Chair Bonnie Joerschke, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid at the University of Georgia. “Next, they need one centralized place where they can find any other information related to that institution.”
NASFAA’s recommendations build on other consumer information work NASFAA has done, including consumer testing on the best ways to convey and deliver financial aid awards.
The full list of 15 recommendations can be found in the policy report.
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents nearly 20,000 financial aid professionals at approximately 3,000 colleges, universities and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the U.S. Based in Washington, DC, 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 nasfaa.org.