Inconsistencies in Awarding Financial Aid to Students Under Four Federal Programs

HRD-79-16: Published: May 11, 1979. Publicly Released: May 11, 1979.

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Federal financial aid programs have not provided students with similar needs with the same amounts and types of assistance. The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) sponsors four programs through the Office of Education which are to help students at postsecondary schools and which are administered by the schools' financial aid offices.

Aid has been distributed inconsistently under the programs. Funds to states and schools have not been allocated on the basis of students' needs, and schools have overstated requests for funds. Systems that assess students' needs for financial aid have used different measures of expected family contributions toward the cost of education. Methods used by schools to develop financial aid packages failed to consider all sources of student aid and have resulted in some students getting more than their computed needs, while others did not receive enough. Inadequate or unenforced standards have allowed students to remain in school and receive financial aid without making satisfactory academic progress.

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