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What College Advisors Need to Know about Financial Aid: Designing an Early Financial Aid Information System Presentation prepared for the VCAN Annual Conference Newport News VA December 5, 2007. Outline. About the Advisory Committee Scope of the Early Financial Aid Information Study

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Presentation Transcript
slide1

What College Advisors Need to Know about Financial Aid:

Designing an Early Financial Aid Information System

Presentation prepared for the

VCAN Annual Conference

Newport News VA

December 5, 2007

slide2

Outline

  • About the Advisory Committee
  • Scope of the Early Financial Aid Information Study
  • Information Framework
  • Timeline of Information Delivery
  • Guidelines for Information Delivery
  • Next Steps
slide3

About the Advisory Committee

  • Independent and Nonpartisan
    • Created by Congress in the 1986 Higher Education Act Reauthorization
    • Eleven members appointed by the Secretary and Congress
  • Purpose
    • To advise Congress and the Secretary of Education on higher education and financial aid policy
    • To make recommendations that increase access and persistence for low- and moderate-income students
    • To monitor federal policy affecting access and persistence
slide4

Advisory Committee Studies &Key Findings Affecting Policy

  • Reports and Studies

Access Denied (2001) Empty Promises (2002)

The Student Aid Gauntlet (2005) Mortgaging Our Future (2006)

Turn the Page (2007)

Early Financial Aid Information Study (2007)

Need Analysis Simplification Study (2008)

  • Key Findings

-- Reducing Financial Barriers will improve enrollment and persistence

of low- and moderate-income students in college.

-- Eliminating Complexity of financial aid forms and processes will

expand students’ access and persistence in college.

-- Improving Financial Aid Information will provide age-appropriate,

tailored information early enough in the college choice process for low-

and moderate-income students to make informed decisions.

slide5

Scope of the Early Financial Aid Information Study

Purpose:

This study identifies key financial aid information and promising practices of college access programs providing low- and moderate-income students with accurate and timely financial aid information.

Four questions a system of aid information must address:

  • What information should be delivered?
  • How should that information be delivered?
  • When should that information be delivered?
  • How should the system be implemented in a certain setting?
slide6
Characteristics of a useful information framework:

Comprehensive

Benefits to College

Cost of College

Paying for College

Forms and Processes

Logically structured and cumulative

Timed to be delivered effectively

Information Framework

slide7

Framework – Benefits to College

College

  • Research demonstrates access to vital information about benefits to college can positively influence students preparation for college enrollment.
  • Informing students and families about both the economic and social benefits associated with college early can inspire them to prepare for college enrollment, academically and financially.
slide8

Example of Information For Students: Lifetime Earnings

This figure serves as an example of a graph you could show students in middle school exemplifying the information in the Lifetime Earnings category.

Source: University of Wisconsin – River Falls. 2006. Learn More, Earn More.http://www.uwrf.edu/admissions/Degree_to_Income.pdf.

slide9

Framework – Costs of College

College

  • A comprehensive system of financial aid information must alleviate the confusion surrounding college costs and reduce the negative impact a lack of information has on college enrollment and persistence.
  • Different college options and their costs should be presented early followed by a breakdown of the cost components.
slide10

Example of Information For Students: Cost of Institutions; Tuition and Fees; Room, Board, Travel; and Books and Supplies

Sample Average Undergraduate Budgets, 2006-07 (Enrollment Weighted)

This figure serves as an example of a table you could show students in early high school combining information in the categories of Costs of Institutions; Tuition and Fees; Room, Board, Travel; and Books and Supplies.

Source: The College Board. 2006. Trends in College Pricing. Washington DC.

slide11

Framework – Paying for College

College

  • Early information on the availability, eligibility, and variety of financial aid is essential to promote access and persistence.
  • The interaction of multiple sources and types of aid must be explained to students throughout the college preparatory years.
slide12

Example of Information For Students: Federal Loans

This figure serves as an example of a chart you could show high school juniors and seniors to provide information in the Federal Loans information category.

Federal Student Aid. 2007. Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid 2007-08. Washington DC.

slide13

Framework – Forms and Processes

College

  • Ensuring college affordability requires a firm knowledge of the steps necessary to receive financial aid.
  • Because of the frequent regulatory, legislative, and institutional changes to the financial aid system, providing guidance on the forms and timelines to obtain aid will positively impact student enrollment.
slide14

Example of Information For Students: FAFSA

Obtain free information from counselor or college financial aid office.

Get a PIN.

www.pin.ed.gov

How Do I Apply For Federal Aid?

Review award letters and compare amounts and type of aid offered.

Complete the FAFSA starting January 1, 2008.

Collect all documents needed to apply i.e. tax returns and W-2 forms.

Ensure the aid office has all of the information and forms.

Follow all verification deadlines and instructions.

Review the SAR, make changes and resubmit if necessary.

This figure serves as an example of a chart you could show high school juniors and seniors to provide information on the FAFSA process.

Source: Federal Student Aid. 2006. Counselor and Mentors Handbook on Federal Student Aid: 2007-2008. Washington DC.

slide15

Complete Information Framework

College

Benefits

Cost

Paying

Forms & Processes

slide16

Guidelines for College Advisors

  • The 10 proposed guidelines are supported by both research and practice.
  • While the guidelines are widely applicable, this study specifically applies each to financial aid information delivery.
  • They can all be integrated into a new program or adapted to work with a currently operating program.
  • Although the Advisory Committee believes all of the guidelines are useful, the list is not intended to be prescriptive. Programs can still find success by relying on only a subset of the guidelines.
slide17

Ten Guidelines

  • Intervene by 6th Grade and Continue through High School
  • Involve Parents in the College-Going Process
  • Mentor Each Student
  • Complete the FAFSA
  • Integrate the Program to the School Community
  • Incorporate Language and Cultural Differences
  • Partner with Community Organizations
  • Encourage Peer Integration
  • Formulate Program Evaluation Standards
  • Discuss Financial Literacy alongside Financial Aid
slide18

Intervene by 6th Grade and Continue through High School

Guideline

Influence predisposition to attend college by delivering information early and often.

Research

By providing a cost benefit analysis of college attendance early, middle school students see the payoff and begin preparing financially and academically. Students want continued information that becomes more specific throughout high school.

Program Examples

Kids2College

Neighborhood Academic Initiative

Indiana 21st Century Scholars

slide19

Involve Parents in the College-Going Process

Guideline

Increase support outside of a program’s intervention by integrating parents into students’ college decisions.

Research

General parental support towards higher education increases student motivation and improves the likelihood of college attendance. Rectifying parents’ misconceptions of college costs is essential as parents’ financial data are needed to qualify for federal financial aid for dependent students.

Program Examples

Access Arizona State University

Puente Project

Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program

slide20

Mentor Each Student

Guideline

Provide individual guidance and secure trust through one-on-one relationships between mentors and students.

Research

Mentorship has a positive impact on understanding the college process and improves access. Individual counseling is more effective at answering financial aid questions than workshops, and students are more likely to trust their mentor with sensitive financial data.

Program Examples

Cleveland Scholarship Program

Baltimore College Bound

Sponsor a Scholar

slide21

Complete the FAFSA

Guideline

Providing assistance with completing the FAFSA, the free federal form for financial aid, will improve students’ likelihood of affording college.

Research

Length and complexity hinder students’ accurate completion of the FAFSA. Filing the form late can jeopardize the receipt of state and institutional aid. Assistance with the completion of the form can ensure students’ receive all of the aid for which they are eligible.

Program Examples

College Goal Sunday

Cash for College

College Match

slide22
Three components of effective information delivery:

Information

Delivery

Timing

All 3 must be integrated to provide a systematic, comprehensive approach to providing information about the financial decision to attend college.

The information and guidelines are widely applicable across a wide range of programs.

The system’s implementation will improve student outcomes.

Advisory Committee’s next step: Use our report to inform a partnership with a school or outreach program.

Summary

slide23
Examine resources that can inform students and families of each aspect of the information framework.

Integrate all aspects of the information framework into the delivery of financial aid information.

Work towards developing a curriculum of age appropriate information and activities to disseminate the information framework.

Develop the best timing strategies to accommodate your service population and intervention.

Apply the high level guidelines to make specific improvements in individual programs.

What Can You Do from Here?

slide25

College

Benefits

Cost

Paying

Forms & Processes

slide26
Do the information framework components and timing generally make sense?

Are we missing any guidelines or strategies to implement them?

Discussion Questions

slide27

Ten Guidelines

  • Intervene by 6th Grade and Continue through High School
  • Involve Parents in the College-Going Process
  • Mentor Each Student
  • Complete the FAFSA
  • Integrate the Program to the School Community
  • Incorporate Language and Cultural Differences
  • Partner with Community Organizations
  • Encourage Peer Integration
  • Formulate Program Evaluation Standards
  • Discuss Financial Literacy alongside Financial Aid
slide28
Do the information framework components and timing generally make sense?

Are we missing any guidelines or strategies to implement them?

What are the challenges and limitations you face to implement this system?

Discussion Questions

slide29
Brent Evans

Associate Director

Jodut Hashmi

Assistant Director

Zakiya Smith

Assistant Director

brent.evans@ed.gov

jodut.hashmi@ed.gov

zakiya.smith@ed.gov

Contact Information

Phone: 202-219-2099

www.ed.gov/acsfa