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. 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.” Although the beta-version of the College Financing Plan looks very similar to the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet institutions have been using, some data elements have changed, some have been expanded and some section headings have 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.
For the 2019-2020 award year, schools may continue using the current FA shopping sheet if they wish to do so, however ED is asking schools to voluntarily adopt the College Financing Plan. Schools that plan to begin using the new sheet for the 2019-2020 award year or wish to provide feedback should contact ED by April 1, 2019.
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.