NAICU Washington Update

Dept. Ed. Labor Day “Shopping Sheet” Reminder

August 30, 2012

In an August 30 "Dear Colleague" letter, the Department of Education reminded colleges of “their commitment to use the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet” if they had agreed to comply with the principles of excellence in serving service members, veterans, and their families, contained in Executive Order 13607.  (See July 27 Washington Update story for background)

The letter suggests that the easiest way for colleges to do this is to provide the Shopping Sheet to all prospective students.

While touted as a reminder, the Department letter also appears to serve as encouragement for colleges generally to use the Shopping Sheet.  The form was designed to allow comparison of financial aid offers through standardized information.  The letter  specifically mentions that institutions "may make appropriate modifications by deleting items that are not relevant for particular groups of students (e.g., graduate students).”

The format of the shopping sheet was provided in a July 25 "Dear Colleague" letter.  Use of the Shopping Sheet would begin with the 2013-14 federal financial aid award year.  It “may be used to supplement or to replace an institution’s existing award letter,” but need not be provided when financial aid packages are revised.  The Department is working with financial aid software providers to assist colleges in providing the Shopping Sheet to their students.  Specifications for electronic use should be available from the Department in the coming months.

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