Higher Education:

Gaps in Parents' and Students' Knowledge of School Costs and Federal Aid

PEMD-90-20BR: Published: Jul 31, 1990. Publicly Released: Aug 29, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed information on students' and parents' knowledge of federal financial aid for higher education and the cost of postsecondary schools.

GAO found that: (1) more than 59 percent of ninth graders had received no information about financial aid from their schools; (2) most middle- and low-income parents without children in college lacked information about specific financial aid programs; (3) although parents were generally aware of financial aid, there were considerable gaps in their specific knowledge; (4) parents who had attended college or who had other children in college knew more about aid than those without such experience; (5) family income and parental education were identified as the most important variables associated with differences in awareness of aid among parents; and (6) students viewed information about financial aid received from colleges, and from families and friends, as more important than information received from high schools.

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