Letter to the New York Times Editor

Colleges True Cost” (editorial, June 6) draws attention to an important consumer issue. However, there is no data to support the inaccurate claim that “Many colleges actually hide the real expense of an education by issuing financial aid letters that blur the distinction between grants and loans to make the school look more affordable.”

Schools do not purposefully misrepresent consumer information. They too suffer the consequences when students misunderstand their aid packages and assume unmanageable debt—in the form of severe sanctions up to and including the loss of Title IV eligibility for institutions with high cohort default rates.

Our members fully support regulations against misrepresentation of consumer information. This year, NASFAA convened a taskforce with representatives from every sector of higher education. They embraced standardization of specific elements that should be on every award notification.

Schools are not the enemy. Rather, they play a vital role in ensuring students have the information they need to make good financial decisions.

President, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
Washington, May 24, 2012