AG launches site to help families make sense of college finance packages

As high school seniors and their families make college decisions, some are sorting through financial aid award letters. Attorney General Maura Healey on Wednesday launched a campaign to help families understand those financial aid packages before making a final decision on which school to attend.

"I know looking through and figuring out those packages aren't very easy, and I'm a lawyer," Healey said at a press conference Wednesday. "Acceptance letters are not straightforward. Financial aid award letters are really difficult and can be confusing."

 The attorney general's website uses graphics, sample forms, and other resources to help students and families understand and compare award letters. Users can calculate the cost of each school and, after financial aid, how much they would still need to borrow.

"Sometimes the award letters don't even list what it's going to cost – the full cost – of going to college... It doesn't list tuition, it doesn't list fees, it doesn't list room and board," Healey said. Watch: AG Healey, Treasurer Goldberg, Jim Rooney 

Healey's office is collaborating on the campaign with uAspire, a nonprofit that provides student counseling. uAspire is a member of the Student Debt Working Group formed last year by Healey and Jim Rooney, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Post-secondary education "is an education marketplace of buyers and sellers," Rooney said Wednesday. "Any marketplace needs transparency and to inform consumers about their investments and purchases, about costs and financing, and about outcomes and results."

 Making financial aid and repayment options more transparent will help local ensure students and families can continue to contribute to the Greater Boston economy, Rooney said.

–Sam Doran/State House News Service