Policy Studies

The following are some of the many policy studies and reports conducted by NASFAA.

NASFAA Reimagines the Design & Delivery of Student Financial Aid

As the student aid programs rapidly approach reauthorization in 2014, they continue to face severe funding and efficiency problems. With grant assistance from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through their "Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery" (RADD) project, NASFAA released a policy brief examining the current systems of student aid with an eye towards reimagining how they could be improved in the future. This report does not make specific recommendations, but rather puts forward broad ideas intended to generate discussion and debate with the goal of advancing key policy issues facing student aid.

A Tale of Two Income Years: Comparing Prior-Prior Year and Prior-Year Through Pell Grant Awards

Through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, NASFAA analyzed more than 70,000 student records from five years of data to determine whether the use of prior-prior year (PPY) income data in place of prior-year (PY) income data would impact student aid eligibility -- and specifically whether Pell Grant awards would change with a move to PPY.

National Student Aid Profile

As college costs continue to increase, more and more Americans rely on federal student financial assistance programs to help pay for their postsecondary education. In an effort to increase knowledge of these vital programs, NASFAA provides the National Student Aid Profile, updated annually. 

Report of the NASFAA Task Force on Student Loan Indebtedness

NASFAA convened a task force in 2012 to study this issue and make recommendations for improvement; this report details their findings.

Improving Award Letters and Consumer Information

NASFAA's Award Notification & Consumer Information task force is charged with examining best practices in award notification and consumer information and reporting back to the NASFAA Board of Directors with recommendations on how to improve or standardize elements of an award notification.

Consumer Testing of Financial Aid Award Letters

Recognizing that a plethora of untested consumer information is now available for prospective and current students and parents, NASFAA in 2012 contracted independent research firm JBL Associates, Inc. (JBLA) to consumer test the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) Shopping Sheet and two NASFAA-designed alternative financial aid award letters among consumers through focus groups and a questionnaire. 

Administrative Burden

In November 2013, NASFAA released a brief stressing that greater transparency is needed from the Department of Education in order to gain a better understanding of how administrative burden estimates are calculated with respect to federal regulations governing federal student financial aid. Financial aid offices and the student services they provide are being strained by increasing regulatory and administrative burdens. Getting It Right: Analyzing the Accuracy of Federal Burden Estimates for Title IV Financial Aid Compliance, authored by independent research consultant Carlo Salerno for NASFAA, explores the methodologies used to calculate the level of administrative burden experienced by aid administrators.

Also see The 2010 NASFAA Administrative Burden Survey (published Feb. 2011) which demonstrated that 9 in 10 of the more than 1,000 responding NASFAA members reported having fewer resources to dedicate to critical student services that promote college access, success, and successful student loan repayment. Services feeling the pinch included face-to-face counseling, extra attention for target student populations and outreach efforts.

NASFAA's Federal Student Aid Fiscal Map

NASFAA has provided a Federal Student Aid Fiscal Map to help members navigate the upcoming fiscal environment.  The tool includes information about the impact on Federal Student Aid of each action, the latest development, and next anticipated action. The chart will be updated regularly as new information becomes known.