Colleges Urged to Adopt Easier-to-Understand Student Aid Form

Student aid forms
By CHRISTINE ARMARIO

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is urging colleges and universities to adopt an easy-to-understand financial aid form to help students make smarter decisions on where to study, how to pay and determine what they'll owe.

The Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are unveiling a "shopping sheet" Tuesday that would provide each incoming student with information on the costs of tuition, housing and other fees.

The one-page document also is designed to help students figure out how much they would receive in grants and scholarships and what options are available for loans. Additionally, it would also provide details on the percentage of students who graduate, how much the average student pays monthly on federal loans after graduation and the default rate.

Colleges and universities will not be required to use the form. Duncan said he will be sending an open letter encouraging all institutions to adopt it. In June, the Education Department announced that 10 universities had agreed to provide information similar to what is in the new form.

The Education Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released findings from a report on Friday concluding that risky lending caused private student loan debt to balloon over the last decade, leaving many Americans struggling to pay off loans they cannot afford.

The study focused on private student loans, which spiked from $5 billion in 2001 to more than $20 billion in 2008. The market shrank to $6 billion in 2011 after the financial crisis and a tightening of lending standards. Student loan debt has surpassed credit cards as the largest source of unsecured debt for U.S. consumers; Americans now owe more than $1 trillion in student loans.

Duncan said many colleges and universities use student aid letters that are confusing to understand and don't make clear exactly how much is being offered in aid and scholarships, making it difficult for families to comparison shop.

He called the shopping sheet a "step in the right direction."

"All of us share a responsibility for making college affordable," he said. "And for keeping the middle class dream alive."


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ali.cherish

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ke it easier for those that don't speak or understand English to survive without becoming a TRUE American, and speaking our language. 12 million illegals and growing!!!!!!!!!

July 31 2012 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ilm9p

By all means make it easier. Go so far as to even fill out the forms for them. Just like Welfare, Food Stamps, and Section 8 housing scum they "ain't be gots time for this sh*t noway, word, I know right".

July 25 2012 at 9:35 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rforeverfree

The real "dumbing down" of America.

July 25 2012 at 6:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mccglf

Now we are dumbing down applications to get money. And people wonder how the country got into this financial mess.

July 25 2012 at 12:15 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
victorzeller

If they can't understand the forms then they shouldn't be going to college.

July 24 2012 at 11:19 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
supermolar

easire to pile up debt form you mean

July 24 2012 at 10:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PBanks

Has my parents say, if you don't have the money, don't borrow, or spend money you don't have, unless you can and know you can pay it back.

July 24 2012 at 7:51 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
PBanks

What the student's and their parents couldn't figure out how much they and borrow and how much their payments will be after their child graduates and what they agreed to pay on their part? I'm more than sure, if the loans were privately applied for from a bank. If they borrow now from the government, the democrats now have all loans for college under one roof with one place to deal with. That was the reason for the delay in the interest going up to 6.6% interest this year. It has been delayed for one year. That is half a billion the taxpayers will have to make up that difference on money on already loaned to them in college.

July 24 2012 at 7:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aajarm

By the looks of the people in the photo ...more languages being added, defines EASIER. Make it easier for those that don't speak or understand English to survive without becoming a TRUE American, and speaking our language. 12 million illegals and growing!!!!!!!!!

July 24 2012 at 7:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
papadon.don

Yeah.... make it so we can foot the bill for even dumber students.

July 24 2012 at 7:09 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply