Study Finds College Financial Aid Award Letters are Opaque and Require Careful Analysis, Says Ameritech Financial

Woman Looking at a Financial Aid Award Letter

Financial aid award letters sent out to recent college enrollees are confusing, vague, incomplete and even misleading, concludes a recent study of 515 American colleges by New America, a non-profit specializing in, among other areas, education policy. This study examined more than 11,000 award letters and found that, despite the importance of plainly communicating the total cost of going to college, the letters often omitted and sometimes misrepresented important gaps in funding. The opacity of financial award letters clearly illustrates how students can so quickly become mired in student loan debt. Ameritech Financial, a document preparation service company that helps borrowers apply for federal loan assistance programs, can assist students who find themselves overwhelmed by student debt and sort through the equally vexing challenge of repayment.

“Fully grasping the details within a financial aid award letter can be daunting, especially when the institution provides unclear information,” said Tom Knickerbocker, executive vice president of Ameritech Financial. “When borrowers find themselves unable to recover from the debt that they have incurred, we recommend that they examine their own situation and find out if they might be eligible for help through a federal repayment program.”

Exemplifying the confusing jargon used in financial aid award letters, colleges utilized 136 unique terms for unsubsidized student loans, including 24 that did not include the word “loan.” Also, more than one-third of the colleges did not include the complete cost of their education. Additionally, 70 percent grouped aid together without defining the difference between grants, scholarships, loans and work-study. Nearly 15 percent termed a parent PLUS loan as an “award.”

When borrowers find themselves unable to recover from the debt that they have incurred, we recommend that they examine their own situation and find out if they might be eligible for help through a federal repayment program.

Tom Knickerbocker

Executive Vice President of Ameritech Financial

Ameritech Financial suggests that it’s best to be proactive about student loans and fully understand them before entering into agreements that will affect borrowers for the rest of their lives. If student debt is already weighing borrowers down, there are a variety of options for managing their loans, including short-term payment delays and long-term repayment plans. Deferment and forbearance can postpone the due date, but should only be used for temporary relief from payments. Income-driven repayment plans (IDRs) are long-term programs that base payments on income and family size and can end in forgiveness after 20 to 25 years of enrollment.

“We hope that our clients can adopt an optimistic mindset about their loans,” said Knickerbocker. “At Ameritech Financial, our goal is to help borrowers understand IDRs and determine if they may benefit from enrollment. Then, we help with the application and recertification paperwork as long as they wish to remain in the program.”

About Ameritech Financial

Ameritech Financial is a private company located in Rohnert Park, California. Ameritech Financial has already helped thousands of consumers with financial analysis and student loan document preparation to apply for federal student loan repayment programs offered through the Department of Education.

Each Ameritech Financial telephone representative has received the Certified Student Loan Professional certification through the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA).

Ameritech Financial prides itself on its exceptional customer service.

Ameritech Financial Newsroom

Contact

To learn more about Ameritech Financial, please contact:

Ameritech Financial
5789 State Farm Drive #265
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
1-800-792-8621
media@ameritechfinancial.com

Source: Ameritech Financial


Categories: Financing and Student Loans, Financial News

Tags: federal student loans, financial aid, income-driven repayment


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About Ameritech Financial

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Ameritech Financial is a document preparation company that helps borrowers enroll in the federal repayment program that matches their individual financial needs, potentially lowers payments and gets them on track for student loan forgiveness.