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.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary, HEW, should: (1) complete plans to streamline the Office of Education's system for distributing funds under the campus-based programs; (2) design a simple system to determine a family's ability to meet educational costs; (3) establish more specific criteria for allowing students' living and miscellaneous expenses; (4) require verification of information supplied by students and parents for campus-based aid programs before awards are made; (5) establish guidelines to require total aid packages of students in similar circumstances to have similar mixtures of grants and self-help aid; (6) promptly carry out plans to integrate and coordinate federal and nonfederal aid and emphasize the need for financial aid officers to check all available sources of aid to determine if recipients are receiving any other financial assistance; and (7) if authorized by Congress develop minimum standards for student academic progress.

    Agency Affected:


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