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Tools to Support Higher Education Choice

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  1. Tools to Support Higher Education Choice Carney McCullough Director, Policy Development Group U.S. Department of Education

  2. Today’s Agenda Focusing on the Department’s newest college choice tools— • The College Scorecard • The Financial Aid Shopping Sheet

  3. Background • White House initiative on Improving Transparency & Accountability • President Obama tasked his Administration with providing students and families new tools and relevant information to help them make sound financial decisions in pursuing their higher education goals: • Designing a College Scorecard • Creating a Financial Aid Shopping Sheet • Protecting Veterans, Military Spouses, and their Families • Led to several new “tools” to support choice process

  4. Context • Suite of consumer information tools on college choice • College Affordability and Transparency Center • College Scorecard • College Navigator • Financial Aid Shopping Sheet

  5. The College Scorecard


  6. College Scorecard • Stage of choice process: identifying where to apply • Launched on the College Affordability & Transparency Center in February 2013 • Designed to help prospective students and their families as they begin to evaluate options for their investment in higher education • Provides key measures of college affordability and value to help prospective students identify institutions best suited to their goals, finances, and needs • http://collegecost.ed.gov

  7. College Scorecard • Designed by ED and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as part of the “Know Before You Owe” campaign, initially designed for degree-granting institutions • Draft was posted for public comment on the White House website early in 2012 • Comparison group development included suggestions from an IPEDS Technical Review Panel (June 2012) on how to define institutional comparison groups for consumer information purposes

  8. 2013-14 College Scorecard

  9. College Scorecard: Current Metrics

  10. College Scorecard • Metrics based on data provided by institutions • Updated annually • Accurate and timely reporting is key • Compared to “similar institutions” on each measure, defined as the predominant undergraduate award granted: • Primarily bachelor’s degree-granting • Primarily associate’s degree-granting • Primarily certificate granting

  11. Next Steps… • Enhance functionality • Explore available data sources for employment outcomes

  12. Scorecard Resources • 2/27/13: DCL offering guidance on the Net Price Calculator requirement • 4/12/13: EA describing SAIG Message Class File Update—related to median borrowing report • 5/6/13: EA announcing NSLDS Median Borrowing Backup Detail Report • Questions: CollegeScorecard@ed.gov

  13. The Financial Aid Shopping Sheet

  14. Shopping Sheet • Stage of choice process: choosing where to enroll • Standardized, clear, and concise format for providing prospective students their personalized financial aid offer • Designed to help prospective students and their families better understand the costs of college before making the final decision on where to enroll • Identifies the type and amount of aid qualified for and allows for easy comparison of aid packages offered by different institutions

  15. HEOA Requirement • HEOA requirement for model aid offer format • Refocused attention on communicating aid offers • Goal of helping families make informed decisions about college • Required public meeting to discuss improvements & offer recommendations • Required development & distribution of model aid offer format • Public meeting held 9/13/11

  16. Work with CFPB • After public meeting, began working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau • Logical connection— • Their focus on information to help consumers make good financial choices • Aid offer sets up conditions for financial transaction between student & school • Experience in developing and testing tools

  17. Work with CFPB • “Thought-starter” format discussed at 2011 FSA conference and later posted on CFPB website • CFPB expertise and 1,000+ comments helped develop the current version • Valuable suggestions on structure and organization • Work led to Financial Aid Shopping Sheet announced by Secretary Duncan in July 2012

  18. Shopping Sheet • Single sheet, standardized format • Can use as cover sheet with aid offer notification or as standalone notice of aid awards • Value as a consumer comparison tool • Transparently and consistently providing information to all students

  19. Shopping Sheet • 745+ institutions have adopted the Shopping Sheet • Use is voluntary but strongly encouraged • Designed for undergrads and may be modified for graduate students • Fulfills information requirements for key pieces of Executive Order 13607

  20. Executive Order 13607 • Established the Principles of Excellence • Signed April 27, 2012 • Designed to ensure information, support and protections are put in place for those students enrolled in postsecondary programs receiving federal military educational benefits • Electronic Announcement 6/29/12 with recorded webinar

  21. Executive Order 13607 • Shopping Sheet required for schools that agree to comply with Executive Order 13607 • Provides a prospective veteran/service member student with personalized form that contains standardized information describing program costs and costs that may be covered by available Federal educational benefits and financial aid

  22. 2013-14 Shopping Sheet

  23. Institutional Banner

  24. COA – Grants = Net Costs

  25. Work, Loan, & Other Options

  26. Institutional Metrics

  27. Loan Repayment & Contact Info

  28. Shopping Sheet and EDExpress • Release 3.0 issued on 5/16/13 • Create or import school data • Import ED provided metrics • Export Shopping Sheet records • Print Shopping Sheet

  29. Next Steps… • Reviewing feedback we’ve received • Looking at modest adjustments for the second year • Would like another year of experience • Mindful about the systems implications of making major changes

  30. Shopping Sheet Website • Collects development history and various resources • Annotated Shopping Sheet describes and clarifies the elements on the Shopping Sheet • Listing of institutions that have adopted the Shopping Sheet • Financial Aid Shopping Sheet FAQs • HTML specifications for the Shopping Sheet • Institutional Metric Data File for the Shopping Sheet • Address: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/guid/aid-offer/index.html

  31. Shopping Sheet Communications • 7/13/12: DCL GEN-12-10 on implementing Executive Order 13607 • 7/24/12: Secretary’s open letter to college presidents • 7/25/12: DCL GEN-12-12 to financial aid administrators • 8/30/12: DCL GEN-12-17 to institutions that agreed to comply with the Principles of Excellence in Executive Order 13607

  32. Shopping Sheet Communications • 9/11/12: EA with implementation details • 9/25/12: Secretary’s blog post on ED.gov • 9/28/12: EA with HTML specs • 1/18/13: EA with Institutional Metric Data File • 1/30/13: DCL GEN-13-05 with FAQs • Questions: ShoppingSheet@ed.gov

  33. Contact Information Carney McCullough Director, Policy Development Group Carney.McCullough@ed.gov 202-502-7639