OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 6587

AN ACT CONCERNING THE STANDARDIZATION OF FINANCIAL AID LETTERS.

SUMMARY

This bill requires public and non-profit private institutions of higher education in the state to collaborate to create a standardized financial aid letter to be provided to each student enrolled at a state institution of higher education. By law and unchanged by the bill, each public or private institution of higher education in the state must provide uniform financial aid information to every prospective student who has been accepted for admission into the institution (see BACKGROUND).

The existing law on uniform financial aid information applies to public institutions and all private institutions (CGS 10a-55u). The bill does not apply to for-profit private institutions.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017

STANDARDIZED FINANCIAL AID LETTER

Under the bill, the standardized financial aid letter must consist of the following:

1. a section itemizing all grants, scholarships, and federal loans awarded to the student;

2. a section itemizing all funding the student may be eligible to receive, including, but not limited to, work-study opportunities and Parent PLUS Loans (see BACKGROUND); and

3. a glossary with definitions of terms used in the standardized financial aid letter, including grant, scholarship, loan, and work-study.

It is not clear whether the state can require private entities, such as the independent institutions of higher education, to collaborate with public colleges and universities on a project. Also, the bill does not give any agency or other entity the duty of ensuring the collaboration takes place.

BACKGROUND

Institutions of Higher Education

State law divides institutions of higher education in Connecticut into three groups: (1) public colleges and universities, (2) non-profit private institutions, and (3) for-profit private institutions.

Public colleges and universities are known as the constituent units of the state system of higher education and include the following:

1. UConn,

2. the Connecticut State University System,

3. the regional community-technical colleges, and

4. Charter Oak State College (CGS 10a-1).

PLUS Loans

Parent PLUS loans, also known as Direct PLUS loans, are U.S. Department of Education loans awarded through participating educational institutions for (1) parents of undergraduate students or (2) graduate or professional students. The loans are used to pay for education expenses not covered by other loans.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

21

Nay

0

(03/21/2017)