Albany, NY - November 3, 2016 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the state Department of Financial Services has adopted a new regulation requiring all institutions of higher education and vocational schools in New York to immediately begin providing a uniform Financial Aid Award Information Sheet to undergraduate students when responding to financial aid applications. This regulation implements a priority Governor Cuomo laid out in his 2016 State of the State Address to help students and families better understand and compare financial aid packages of different New York schools. Student loans are now the second largest consumer financial obligation behind mortgages, with approximately $1.3 trillion in outstanding debt.
"Deciding what college to attend and how much debt to incur in pursuit of a higher education is a major life decision and students deserve to have all the facts," Governor Cuomo said. "This action will help ensure New York students and their families have all the information they need in a simple, easy to understand format that will help them make the best decision for their future."
Schools began offering versions of the information sheet for students applying for financial aid for the 2016-2017 school year under temporary emergency regulations, but schools will now operate under the adopted permanent rule. The Financial Aid Award Information Sheet provides a summary of what a school will cost, details financial aid options, and supplies important data on a school’s graduation rate, median borrowing rate, and loan default rate.
The U.S. Department of Education utilizes a similar form, however it is less extensive and is not mandatory, aside from schools that accept assistance to make loans to military students.
Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo said, "DFS, through its Student Protection Unit, works hard every day to serve as an aggressive financial watchdog for students and their families and to provide New Yorkers vital information to make smart financial choices. The Financial Aid Award Information Sheet will be a powerful tool for students and families when choosing a school and evaluating all associated costs."
Schools can find information on the regulations and model forms here.
Students and families can find additional tips, advice, and other information to help make smart, long-term choices when financing their educations at the Department of Financial Services’ Student Protection Unit website. New Yorkers who have questions about financial aid or who wish to file a complaint can contact the DFS Student Protection Unit at (800) 342-3736 or by visiting the DFS Student Protection Unit website.