You read that right. Last year NACUBO and the Department teamed up to separate the College Financing Plan (CFP) into two forms: one for undergraduate schools and another for graduate and professional schools. That’s a HUGE improvement. Additionally, the format of the College Financing Plan has also been updated for 2020-2021 to include additional data elements, a new responsive design, and the ability to customize the colors of the CFP to match those of your institution.

If you’re institution agreed to comply with the Principles of Excellence (POE) in Executive Order 13607, you must provide this form to prospective students who are eligible to receive federal military and veterans’ education benefits. Other institutions can use it too and must provide it to all graduate and undergraduate students. Each of the components institutions need to complete institutional College Financing Plans, including the HTML specifications file, technical guide, and a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) can be found here.


Apply for your school to receive federal grants and loans

PLEASE NOTE: The annual crime and fire statistics survey will now be open from November 18, 2020 through January 14, 2021 due to COVID-19. If you need assistance with the survey, please call the Campus Safety Help Desk at 1-800-435-5985 or by email at campussafetyhelp@westat.com.

The Department is also extending the date for institutions to distribute their Annual Security Reports (ASRs) and Annual Fire Safety Reports (AFSRs) to required recipients to December 31, 2020. Institutions should distribute their reports on the normal schedule if possible.

The Campus Crime and Security Survey is due by October 1st of each year. The survey collects information regarding campus crime statistics. Schools are required to report certain statistics to ED’s Office of Postsecondary Education about crimes that occurred on campus using data maintained by their campus security department or designated school officials responsible for maintaining a security log. Additionally, schools are required to report any statistics provided from local or state police agencies.

A school must make a reasonable effort to obtain the required statistics from police departments and as a best practice should keep documentation of their efforts to do so, as well as any responses they receive. Although the Campus Crime and Security Survey has historically had a one-hundred percent response rate from schools each year, some schools have been cited for failing to keep supporting documentation, and even failing to reach out to their local police. Some schools have even been cited for failing to disclose certain crimes, particularly those covered under Title IX and VAWA which include forcible sex offenses. All the information schools report each year is extremely important for providing a safe environment for students and staff and keeping them informed about campus safety and security.

All Title IV postsecondary institutions are required to participate in this data collection with two exceptions:
• If your institution has a campus that opened after January 31st in the latest calendar year for which the survey collects data, that campus isn’t required to complete the survey. For example, if the campus opened in September 2018, the campus shouldn’t complete the 2019 survey which collects statistics for the entire 2018 calendar year. The campus is, however, required to comply with all other HEA safety- and security-related requirements and will be required to complete the 2020 survey.
• If yours is a distance education-only institution, the institution isn’t required to complete the survey.
In August the survey website will open for online registration. The link for the website is: http://surveys.ope.ed.gov/security/
A new User ID and Password is issued each year. Registration certificates went out in mid-July, so you should be receiving a registration certificate by mail, which contains a user ID and Password to register on the survey website. Once registered, you can begin entering information for the data collection.


In January, the U.S. Department of Education’ s (ED) Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) released a new beta-version of the 2019-2020 Financial Aid Shopping Sheet that was first introduced in 2012. After soliciting feedback from schools and stakeholders on the template earlier this year, the Office of Postsecondary Education has released a finalized form template which incorporates improvements based on the recommendations and feedback they received.

According to the OPE announcement, the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet was redubbed the “College Financing Plan” to “more accurately reflect that loans may be a significant part of the student’s investment, and to emphasize to students that they are making a financial transaction when enrolling in an institution.”

The College Financing Plan looks very similar to the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet institutions have been using for many years, but some of the information has changed a bit. For example, the new form template includes additional information about interest rates on each loan as well as new information about need-based and merit based scholarships, on campus versus off campus housing, and even additional clarity on the difference between grants, which don’t have to be repaid and loans, which do. The form has also been decluttered and simplified to make it easier to read and understand. Section headings have also been restructured to better illustrate a rather simple formula its predecessor didn’t do so well; Total Cost of Attendance – Grants and Scholarships = Net Cost.

Schools that signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to comply with the Principles of Excellence (POE) in Executive Order 13607 will be required to begin using the new format for the 2020-2021 award year once it is released however ED has not provided clarification as to when, and whether or not schools currently using the FA Shopping sheet need to adopt the College Financing Plan.


I remember when the College Scorecard was first released. The most striking thing about the scorecard wasn’t the just the data it provided about institutions, but rather the data it didn’t. First off, it excluded thousands of institutions, particularly for-profit colleges and schools with primarily non-degree certificate programs. Graduation data for non-first-time and non-full-time students weren’t included either, since the Scorecard then, only looked at first-time-full-time students, and the only information available on student debt was an institutional, not programmatic.

Following an executive order signed by President Trump last year, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released an expanded College Scorecard last month. According to an ED press release, “the tool now includes information on 2,100 additional postsecondary education options”. To be clear, that’s 2100 institutions that are now being included in search options for students, parents and others to aid them in making informed choices about the schools and programs they are interested in attending.

In addition to the inclusion of these schools, the new College Scorecard includes information about graduation rates for non-first-time and non-full-time students, and the percentage of students who transferred or were still enrolled in school. Cost, graduation rates, student demographics and other data will now be updated at multiple times each year instead of once annually; making use of the data institutions report three times a year to the IPEDS data system.

The expanded College Scorecard data also includes information on student loan debt, broken down by field of study. According to the Press Release, Secretary DeVos had this to say; “For years, the College Scorecard provided undergraduate loan debt information at only the institution-level even though the amount borrowed to attend school can vary substantially depending on which program the borrower is enrolled.”

As of today, the information in the expanded scorecard is only preliminary data. The U.S. Department of Education decided to release this data while asking institutions to update their historical enrollment data from which these loan debt metrics are derived. Later this fall, the Scorecard will be updated to include any adjustments institutions submit this summer. The deadline for such corrections is July 10, 2019


2018 Election Day - Voter Registration Requirements Under the Higher Education Act - Consumer Information

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th, 2018. Remember to vote and encourage your students to do the same! It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.
Under the Higher Education Act, schools and colleges must make a good faith effort to distribute voter registration forms to students. Voter registration forms must be made widely available and be provided to each enrolled student for federal elections and state elections for governor or other State chief executive.
Since 2008 a provision included in the Higher Education Opportunity Act has allowed colleges to, electronically distribute the voter registration forms to enrolled students by providing an internet address where such a form can be downloaded. The information must be in an electronic message devoted exclusively to voter registration and distributed to each enrolled student to be considered in compliance with the distribution requirements.
Voter Registration requirements don’t apply to institutions in states that do not have a voter registration requirement or that allow voters to register at the time of voting. Thus. schools in some states such as Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming are exempt from this requirement. In every other state, schools must request voter registration forms from the state at least 120 days prior to the state’s deadline for registering to vote. If a school does not receive the forms within 60 days prior to the deadline for registering to vote in the state, it is not liable for failing to meet the requirement during that election year.

Is your institution complying with all relevant consumer information policies?