I had a few thoughts and questions about part of the e-mail HESC sent out. HESC had indicated all schools in NY will be required to use this as yet to be created award letter in 2016-17. This created a few questions:
1) Is New York within their legal rights to dictate to Private higher education schools which award letter they use to offer Federal Aid? I kind of thought NYS overstepped in this.
2) The actual Bill that was passed does not say schools are required to use this as yet to be created award letter. It is a bit vague about that is actual bill that was passed. So does a school have option to use this as yet to be made award letter?
3) It looks like from the timetable a school that starts processing early (like Feb 2016) may or may not have this award letter in place. This would mean this award letter would need to be adopted to each and every software a school uses to send award letters out. I guess someone will ask PeopleSoft, Banner, PowerFaids, etc. Seems like NYS is doing something that could be much more complicated then they considered?
Standardized Financial Aid Award Letters
The Enacted State Budget requires that New York State colleges and universities use a standard financial aid award letter, beginning in 2016-17, and provide data regarding institutional performance in the areas of student access, degree completion and post-graduation success, including transfer. The Budget tasks the New York State Department of Financial Services with developing a standardized financial aid award letter, in consultation with HESC, that would allow students and their families to know their total cost of an education, how much of their aid would need to be repaid, and how well other students have done once they graduated from the college they are considering.
The actual Bill says:
Part F – Standardize college financial aid award letters
This bill would standardize the financial aid letters provided to students who attend college and vocational institutions in New York State.
Summary of Provisions and Statement in Support:
This bill would amend the Banking Law to authorize the Superintendent of Financial Services, in consultation with the President of the Higher Education Service Corporation, to develop a standard financial aid award letter by December 31, 2015 for colleges and vocational institutions to use in responding to financial aid applicants for the 2016-2017 academic year and thereafter.
As the rising cost of college and sub-optimal student outcomes make college choice more critical than ever, prospective students and their parents need a tool to have the information needed to make wise decisions. The standardized financial aid award letter authorized under this bill would provide information to prospective students on the total costs of an education, how much aid they will receive and how much needs to be repaid. The letter would also include data regarding institutional performance in the areas of student access, degree completion and post-graduation success.
Enactment of this bill is necessary to implement the 2015-16 Executive Budget.
This bill would take effect after April 1, 2015.