About that Student Loan Agreement

Yesterday I wrote about a recent meeting between college leaders aiming to create a simple sheet to help college students understand their loans. Now we’ve got a little more information.

According to an article by Caralee Adams at Education Week

The U.S. Department of Education and the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau designed a model financial-aid award letter or Financial Aid Shopping Sheet and received feedback from students, parents, and the higher education community. The sheet is designed to improve college transparency and help consumers compare the true cost of higher education with five basic pieces of information:

•College costs for one year.

•Financial aid, including a clear emphasis on the difference between grants, scholarships, and loans.

•Net cost of attending, after grants and scholarships.

•Estimated monthly payments for the federal student loans the student would likely owe after graduation.

•Statistics on retention, completion, and default rates.

The higher education systems, representing 1.4 million students, who committed to following the proposed standard template include: Arizona State University, Miami Dade College, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, State University System of New York, Syracuse University, University of Massachusetts System, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University System of Maryland, University of Texas System.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has apparently received complaints from thousands of students who couldn’t understand their financial aid.

Education secretary Arne Duncan asked the country’s other colleges to begin using the model financial-aid award letter too.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer