Clear Disparity: New Data Adds Consumer Voices to Award Letter Confusion Debate


A must-read for institutional leaders, policymakers, and student financial success advocates focused on helping students make informed borrowing and financial aid decisions.

2019 09 Sept DataReport LPImage

Data Snapshot: Clear Disparity

Report Summary: Research shows where exactly consumers find dollar amounts or wording on award letters unclear, and reveals clear disparity between what experts and consumers find confusing.

Publication Date: October 2019

Every year, more than $240 billion in federal and state aid is available to students to support their higher education pursuits, and financial aid award letters are the primary way students and families get crucial information regarding eligibility and access to funding. This report shows that students and families are more confused than ever about either wording or dollar amounts in their notification letters. The report includes a recommendations section with actionable changes that will get more students into the classroom and keep them there.

Download the full report for more on how:

  • The people who need clear financial aid communications the most also seem to be the most confused by award notifications
  • Lower- and higher-income households differ in understanding crucial terms like Cost of Attendance.
  • Younger students struggle to understand terms, while older students and parents struggle to understand why they even need to know the information at all.
  • There is a wide disparity between what experts and consumers believe

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