Send in your comments to U.S. DOE about FAFSA college lists

The US Department of Education recently announced that it is accepting comments from the public about how to improve the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process.  Some NACAC members have been concerned that some colleges use the list of colleges that students supply on their FAFSA forms in an attempt to ascertain the students’ likelihood of attending the institution if accepted.

NACAC is planning on submitting comments, which are below, with the Department encouraging them to modify the FAFSA in one of the following ways:

1.    Refrain from sending students’ college lists to the colleges; or
2.    Inform students that their lists can be sent to colleges (preferably in alphabetical or random order), and allow students to either opt-in or opt-out of such a transmission.

NACAC encourages you to submit your own comments.  If you would like to do so, please send them to ICDocketMgr@ed.gov or Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Mailstop L-OM-2-2E319, Room 2E115, Washington, DC 20202.  Be sure to include the Docket Number: ED-2014-ICCD-0125.  The deadline to submit comments is October 27, 2014.

Background
As has been reported in the media, some colleges use the list of colleges that students supply on their FAFSA forms in an attempt to ascertain the students’ likelihood of attending the institution if accepted. Specifically, colleges make note of the order in which students list the institutions to which their results are to be sent and assume that the order conveys evidence of the student’s preference.   NACAC has been able to confirm independently that some colleges use the FAFSA college lists for recruitment and admission purposes. NACAC also confirmed through contact with its colleges and with the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) that the college lists are routinely provided to colleges, along with the other information submitted by students via the FAFSA. While colleges regularly use information supplied by students, either directly to the college or voluntarily through lead generation sources (such as the agencies that administer the SAT/ACT admission tests and various online college information Web portals) for the purpose of identifying a student’s demonstrated interest in attending, students are made aware upon submission of their personal information that the information will be shared with colleges for use during the recruitment and admission process. However, students are not made aware that information supplied via the FAFSA may be used by colleges in the recruitment and admission process, only that the information will be used in the process of administering financial aid.

Concerns
The association believes that students should not be compelled by colleges to disclose their college preferences during the application process. NACAC’s Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP) – the standards by which the association’s more than 13,000 members operate — dictates that member colleges shall — not require or ask candidates or the secondary schools to indicate the order of the candidates’ college or university preferences (SPGP Mandatory Practice, Section II.B.2).

While students may volunteer this information, the association believes that a student’s right to keeping such information private is an integral part of maintaining a fair admission process. In the past, NACAC has found that institutions exercised leverage over students by asking them to disclose their college preferences, forcing students into the uncomfortable situation of disclosing information that could count against them in the application review process, or being less-than-truthful on their application about their preferences.

As evidenced by media reports and our initial inquiries into the matter, colleges are utilizing the information disclosed by students without their knowledge or consent to make informed guesses about the students’ college preferences. We believe this interferes with students’ ability to navigate the admission process in as fair a manner as possible. NACAC believes that the FSA could remedy this situation by simply not disclosing the students’ college lists to colleges.

NACAC has communicated with the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) and the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP) about this issue to ensure that we are not recommending a course of action that would affect their ability to effectively and efficiently administer federal and state aid to students.

We understand from these conversations that the student lists are an important component in administering state aid programs in some states. However, we maintain that in the interest of students, FSA modify the FAFSA in one of the following ways:

1.    Refrain from sending students’ college lists to the colleges; or
2.    Inform students that their lists can be sent to colleges (preferably in alphabetical or random
order), and allow students to either opt-in or opt-out of such a
transmission.

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Top Colleges That Enroll Rich, Middle Class and Poor

From The New York Times:

A new index measures which colleges have the most economically diverse student bodies — and charge the least to lower-income students.

Check out the list here.

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Latino College Fair, Nov. 22

2014 Latino College Fair General Participant Registration

November 22, 2014 • Latino College Fair

The Latino College Fair allows students and parents/guardians to meet and talk with more than 50 independent college and university admission and financial aid representatives. The Planning and Paying for College Workshop will help students and their families better understand the admissions and financial aid process and programs. The workshop, simultaneously translated into Spanish via headphones, will cover college affordability, including explanations of grants and scholarships plus financial aid forms, terms and deadlines. The “Ask the Financial Aid Expert” stations provide students and families an opportunity to sit down with financial aid experts to get answers to their specific questions about paying for college.

This event is funded primarily through a federal College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) awarded to cIcu by the New York State Higher Education Services Corp, the state agency designated to administer CACG. Remaining funds come from cIcu, Fordham University, and cIcu member colleges and universities.

Preliminary Agenda

Date: Saturday, November 22, 2014

  • 11:30am – Check-in opens
  • 12:30 – 1:50pm: Planning and Paying for College Overview begins
  • 1:00pm – 3:45pm: “Ask The Financial Aid Experts” stations open
  • 2:00pm – 3:45pm: College Fair featuring campus information tables with admissions and financial aid representatives from 50+ private, not-for-profit undergraduate and graduate colleges and universities

Additional information about parking and other travel information will be e-mailed to those who complete the form below as the date approaches.

If you have questions, please contact Sabra-Joi Dingman, Assistant Director of Outreach Programs, cIcu, at 518-436-4781 x23, or via e-mail at sabra@cicu.org.

Click here to register

College Goal New York registration table will available for students and parents looking for assistance with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and NYS TAP Application.

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Do This to Improve Your College Chances

From Huffington Post:

October is the busiest month in the college application process. Most public universities review applications on a “first come, first serve basis,” so it helps to apply now. Many private colleges will tell you before Christmas if you apply before Halloween, so it helps to apply now. Anxiety goes up when you run out of now — and that’s what October can be all about.

To ease the anxiety, students often turn to their college list for inspiration — but that can just make things worse. Every college you’re applying to has an acceptance rate lower than Congress’s public approval rating, and while most legislators will get admitted to the institution of their choice for next year, that can’t be said about everyone applying to the colleges you worship, including you.

So what can you do? Think about Plan B.

Read the full article here.

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SUNY Cortland Counselor Breakfast, Nov. 5

SUNY Cortland will be having an informational breakfast in New York City for school counselors at the SUNY Center for Student Recruitment.  We will be presenting on all areas of the college including admissions, EOP, student life, & financial aid. Details are as follows:

Cortland in NYC – Breakfast with School Counselors

Date: Wednesday, November 5 2014
Time: 9:00am – 11:00am
Location: SUNY Center for Student Recruitment (CSR)
33 West 42nd Street (across from Bryant Park)
New York, New York 10036

Feel free to bring your intern, secretaries, or anyone that could benefit from this information. This is a great opportunity to learn more about SUNY Cortland!
Please register for the event by clicking here: Cortland in NYC Breakfast. You can also register by calling our office at 607-753-4711.

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The New School Competition Scholarship for Fall 2015

I want to let you know about an exciting scholarship opportunity for students applying for Fall 2015 entrance: The New School Competition. It’s fun; it’s creative; and, it can win your students a full- or partial-tuition scholarship for a bachelor’s degree from The New School.

The competition consists of three multiple-choice quizzes and a creative case question – plenty of opportunity for your students to show off creativity and explain why they want to attend The New School. Complete details and rules are available at www.thenewschoolcompetition.com.

Please let your students know to let their creativity and imagination flow. And, as you know, the best way to predict one’s future is to create it.

The deadline to enter the scholarship challenge is February 1, 2015: www.thenewschoolcompetition.com.

We look forward to experiencing your students’ creativity and wish them the best of luck!

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National Portfolio Day NYC Events

The National Portfolio Day Association is a good resource for any visual or performing art student: http://www.portfolioday.net/.  If you research their member colleges I think you’ll find a program for any art student.

From their website:

The Association consists of representatives from regionally accredited US colleges and universities that are accredited institutional members of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and Canadian colleges and universities that are members of Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) or that hold NASAD Substantial Equivalency status.

Upcoming area events:

Sun, Oct 26: New York City GRADUATE Portfolio Day, Parsons The New School for Design
Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
event details

Sat, Nov 15: Purchase, New York, Purchase College, SUNY: School of Art & Design
Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
event details

Sun, Nov 16: New York, New York, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
655 West 34th Street
Exhibit Hall 1A
New York, NY 10001
Hosted by: Fashion Institute of Technology
Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
event details

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