Design Principles for Financial Aid Offers: A User-Centered Approach

Posted by New America on March 2, 2021

In 2018, New America partnered with uAspire, a nonprofit focused on college access and affordability, to review thousands of financial aid offers from over 500 colleges and universities. The resulting report, Decoding the Cost of College: The Case for Transparent Financial Aid Award Letters, recommended several minimum bars financial aid offers must pass including listing price, separating loans from grants, and standardizing terms and formatting. But those recommendations were just a start.

This report reviews findings from the Decoding the Cost of College report, presents each stage of our efforts to redesign financial aid offers, and discusses our recommendations for design principles. We offer an example of how financial aid offers should be structured, and the role of policy in improving financial aid offers.

Read the full report here

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