Colleges required to use standard form to disclose financial aid terms

For many students filling out college applications, completing financial aid paperwork can be a lengthy and confusing process. To make things simpler for prospective students, colleges will be required to adopt a single, easily understood form to let borrowers know what they're getting into, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The proposed "Financial Aid Shopping Sheet" will replace the various forms that colleges send to students about financial aid packages when their college applications are accepted. The new forms will make it clearer how much money students are eligible to borrow, and will make it easier for seniors to compare financial aid packages between schools.

"There was a great deal of excitement for the idea of a standard financial aid shopping sheet," reads a summary of the report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which commissioned the study into the proposed form. "It is clear from many of the comments that you saw a need for standardized information."

If you're filling out college applications or considering going to college, ask your adviser if the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet is offered by your prospective schools. Although it may take time for all schools to provide it, the form could make it easier to see how much money you're eligible for.

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