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Over 360 colleges agree to common standards for financial aid offers

Over 360 colleges agree to common standards for financial aid offers

Higher Ed Dive

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
September 26, 2023
More than 360 colleges have agreed to a set of standards to use in sending out financial aid offers, a step to demystifying an often confusing process for students and families.
The commitment, announced Tuesday, was devised by the College Cost Transparency Initiative, a task force created last year by 10 higher education associations including the American Council on Education. The coalition has been attempting to influence colleges’ financial aid practices, urging them to ensure their offers are easily understood.
Overly complex and opaque financial aid letters are a perennial issue in higher education. Without clear, standardized information, students and families often have trouble comparing costs among institutions and determining how much they’ll pay for college.
A U.S. Government Accountability Office report exposed the breadth of this problem last year. The GAO, a government watchdog, found 91% of colleges don’t include or lowball their net price — how much students pay after factoring in grants and scholarships — in their financial aid offers.
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