Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-6587

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE STANDARDIZATION OF FINANCIAL AID LETTERS FOR THE CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM.

Vote Date:

3/21/2017

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/23/2017

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

State Representative Chris Soto, Thirty-Ninth Assembly District

REASONS FOR BILL:

To allow students and their families to compare financial aid options and make informed decisions.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None submitted

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

State Representative Chris Soto, Thirty Ninth Assembly District: submitted testimony in support of HB-6587. Representative Soto stated that financial aid award letters, and the financial aid process as a whole, can be very confusing for parents, students and even councilors. He explained that this bill would standardize the award letter within the state university system, which would create a more transparent system for Connecticut families.

Stefan Keller, College Access Program Manager, Connecticut Students for a Dream: submitted testimony in support of HB-6587. He stated a concern that many students do not know the difference between loans and grants or scholarships. He says that this bill would help low-income students navigate the financial aid process.

Gilbert Bonafé, Director for Programming-Higher Edge: submitted testimony in support of HB-6587 saying that experts have different terminology within the world of financial aid. Some people might include loans in financial aid, while other might not. Some intuitions include only federal funding; some might include private scholarships. Mr. Bonafé says that the Department of Education's Financial Aid Shopping Sheet is an excellent example of standardized terminology. This bill would make it easier for families to compare packages and make better financial decisions.

Amanda Klay: submitted testimony in support of HB-6587. She says that during her time at Higher Edge she saw hundreds of financial aid packages and saw firsthand how difficult these letters could be for students and their families. In particular, a clearer presentation of information would benefit low-income students who might be the first member of their families to attend college.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None submitted.

Reported by:

Devin Keehner, Assistant Clerk

Jeanie Phillips, Clerk

Date: March 29, 2017