How to improve college student aid disclosure

Ten college and university presidents met with Vice President Biden at the White House recently to announce their voluntary endorsement of a uniform financial aid award letter that would provide students with clearer, more transparent and accurate information about how much they will have to pay — now, and in the future — for their college education, says Robert Massa, vice president for communications at Lafayette College in Easton, PA, for the Washington Post. The initiative is an effort to discourage students from financially over-extending themselves, and beginning in the 2013-14 school year students applying to any of these institutions will be given a one-page cost or “shopping sheet” prepared by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The sheet will include the full price of a year at college, including an estimate for books and personal expenses. This is nothing revolutionary as far as I’m concerned, as I’ve always worked for colleges that disclosed this information. But what will be of value is the part that breaks out grants from loans and work-study income, and shows students the long-term implications of borrowing by estimating monthly payments after graduation…

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