Publication Date: July 29, 2011

Posted Date: July 29, 2011

Subject: Improvement of Student Financial Aid Offer Forms

FR Type: Notice


[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 146 (Friday, July 29, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 45546-45547]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [wais.access.gpo.gov][www.gpo.gov]

[FR Doc No: 2011-19267]

[[Page 45546]]

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

[Docket ID ED-2011-OPE-0009]

Public Meeting on Recommendations for Improvement of Student 
Financial Aid Offer Forms, Development of Model Financial Aid Forms

AGENCY: Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting; request for public comments.

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SUMMARY: We will conduct a public meeting for interested parties to 
discuss and offer recommendations for improvements to student financial 
aid offer forms, as required by section 484 of the Higher Education 
Opportunity Act (HEOA).
    To inform the discussion at the public meeting, we invite written 
comments on how to improve the information to be included in financial 
aid offer forms.
    We announce the development of a Model Financial Aid Offer page on 
the Department of Education's Web site at--http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/guid/aid-offer/index.html. This page presents information 
related to the Department's activities to carry out the HEOA 
requirement. This information includes sample financial aid award 
letter forms and award information for members of the public to respond 
to and comment upon through http://www.regulations.gov
DATES: The date, time, and location of the public meeting are listed in 
the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice. We must receive 
your written comments by August 26, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Submit your written comments through the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal or via U.S. mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. We will 
not accept comments by fax or by e-mail. Please submit your comments 
only one time so that we do not receive duplicate copies. In addition, 
please include the Docket ID at the top of your comments.
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov to 
submit your comments electronically. Information on using 
http://www.regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing agency documents, 
submitting comments, and viewing the docket, is available on the site 
under ``How to Use http://www.regulations.gov in the "Help'' section.
    U.S. Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery. If you mail or 
deliver your comments on financial aid award letters, address them to 
Marty Guthrie, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., Room 
8042, Washington, DC 20006.
Privacy Note: The Department's policy for comments received from 
members of the public (including those comments submitted by mail, 
commercial delivery, or hand delivery) is to make these submissions 
available for public viewing in their entirety on the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, commenters 
should be careful to include in their comments only information that 
they wish to make publicly available on the Internet.
    You may inspect all public comments submitted for this public 
meeting by searching the public comments for docket ED-2011-OPE-0009 on 
http://www.regulations.gov.
You may also inspect the comments, in person, in room 
8042, 1990 K Street, NW., Washington, DC between the hours of 8:30 a.m. 
and 4:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday of each 
week except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marty Guthrie, U.S. Department of 
Education, 1990 K Street, NW., Room 8042, Washington, DC 20006, or by 
phone at (202) 219-7031. You may also e-mail your questions about the 
public meeting to: Marty.Guthrie@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an 
accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) by contacting the person responsible for information about 
the public meeting.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an 
accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) by contacting the person responsible for information about 
the public meeting.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    Section 484 of the HEOA, Public Law 110-315, requires the Secretary 
to convene a group to make recommendations to improve financial aid 
offer forms. The group must include students, families of students, 
secondary school guidance counselors, representatives of institutions 
of higher education (including financial aid administrators, 
registrars, and business officers), and nonprofit consumer groups.
    The group's meeting will be held on September 13, 2011, from 9:00 
a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, 
NW., Eighth Floor Conference Center, Washington, DC 20006. We will 
conduct an overview and a panel discussion on financial aid award offer 
letters and related issues during the morning session. We will randomly 
separate attendees into small groups for the afternoon session. All 
attendees will be invited to participate in a small group discussion. 
Each small group will be given a set of questions to discuss. Results 
from the small group meetings will be reported to participants to 
conclude the public meeting.
    We encourage persons interested in attending and participating in 
the meeting to register by 5:00 p.m. on September 7, 2011. Register by 
sending an e-mail to ModelAidOffer@ed.gov. The e-mail should include 
the name, address, telephone, and e-mail contact information for the 
individual, as well as the constituency or interest group that the 
individual represents. We will accept walk-in registrations to the 
extent space permits.

II. HEOA Requirements for Model Financial Aid Offer Form

    The HEOA requires that the recommendations for improving the model 
financial aid offer form present the following material in a consumer-
friendly manner that is simple and understandable:
    (1) Information on the student's cost of attendance, including 
tuition and fees, room and board costs, books and supplies, and 
transportation.
    (2) The amount of financial aid that the student does not have to 
repay, such as scholarships, grants, and work-study assistance, offered 
to the student for such year, and the conditions of such financial aid.
    (3) The types and amounts of loans under part B, D, or E of title 
IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, for which the 
student is eligible for such year, and the applicable terms and 
conditions of such loans.
    (4) The net amount that the student, or the student's family on 
behalf of the student, will have to pay for the student to attend the 
institution for such year, equal to--
    (A) The cost of attendance for the student for such year; Minus.
    (B) The amount of financial aid described in paragraphs (2) and (3) 
that is offered in the financial aid offer form.
    (5) Where a student or the student's family can seek additional 
information regarding the financial aid offered.
    (6) Any other information the Secretary of Education determines 
necessary so that students and parents can make informed student loan 
borrowing decisions.

III. Proposed Issues for Discussion

    We propose that answers to the following questions be used to 
develop recommendations for improving the model financial aid offer 
form:
    (1) What is the most important change to improve financial aid 
offer letters?
    (2) How can we make clear the bottom line cost that the student 
must pay?

[[Page 45547]]

    (3) How can we ensure that the student understands what is included 
in the cost of attendance?
    (4) How can we help the student clearly identify ``free'' (grant 
and scholarship) money?
    (5) Would it be useful to offer additional details on an 
accompanying information sheet to maintain a comprehensible format?

IV. Model Financial Aid Format Required

    After a review of the public comments and using the group's 
recommendations, the Secretary must develop a model format for 
financial aid offer forms. In addition, the Secretary must submit 
recommendations resulting from the review of the public comments and 
from the public meeting to the Congressional authorizing committees. 
Finally, the Secretary is required to make the recommendations and the 
model financial aid offer format widely available. We will publish 
these items on the Internet at the Department's Model Financial Aid 
Offer page.

V. Comments

    We are holding this public meeting for interested parties to 
discuss and offer recommendations for improvements to financial aid 
offer forms. In addition, interested parties may offer comments based 
on personal knowledge or experience working with financial aid offer 
forms, as well as comments based on the information on the Model 
Financial Aid Offer Web page.
    The deadline for submitting comments related to this public meeting 
is August 19, 2011.
    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this 
document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free 
Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the 
Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System 
at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, 
as well as all other documents of this Department published in the 
Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To 
use PDF, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at 
the site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: http://www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.
    Dated: July 26, 2011.
Eduardo M. Ochoa,
Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.
[FR Doc. 2011-19267 Filed 7-28-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
 

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