Streamline Consumer-Information Process, Says Financial-Aid Group

Report: “Consumer Information Report”

Author: National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ Consumer Information Task Force

Summary: A nine-member panel was convened by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators to study federal requirements for consumer-information disclosure. The panel recommended 15 improvements in federal disclosure rules to “streamline both the content and delivery of those requirements.” The panel recommended that lawmakers:

  • Repeal the ban on a federal-level student unit-record system and develop a limited student unit-record system. Under a unit-record system, metrics for individual students would be tracked by the government to measure success. Congress banned a unit-record system after the measure was proposed by the Bush administration.
  • Eliminate reporting requirements concerning Constitution Day, voter registration, and athletic disclosures.
  • Require the Education Department and loan servicers to develop and disseminate loan-related consumer information, including debt management. Colleges should also be required to have counselors available to answer questions.
  • Review the exclusive use of first-time, full-time degree- or certificate-seeking students in the calculation of graduation and retention rates. According to the report, “many schools have larger transfer populations than first-time/full-time students, so identifying the appropriate metric to capture that student population would be beneficial to those students in their college-search process.”

Bottom Line: An improvement of consumer-information disclosure is needed, according to the panel. As Congress reauthorizes the Higher Education Act, the recommendations and others will form part of the association’s pitch to lawmakers for reform.

Return to Top