What is the financial aid shopping sheet?
The Financial Aid Shopping Sheet is a federal form introduced in 2012 that aims to help students and parents decipher and compare financial aid awards, helping them understand their costs before making the final decision on where to enroll. The form, which colleges and universities complete and send to students as a kind of standardized financial aid letter, lays out total costs of attendance, grants and scholarships offered, net costs, and potential monthly payments for the federal student loans the typical student would owe after graduation. Because the form does not vary school by school - as current financial aid letters do - the sheet makes it easier to comparison shop. The form, however, is currently voluntary, though institutions that receive funds from Federal military and veterans' educational benefits programs are required to provide the shopping sheet to students.