Release Date: February 20, 2013
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo will begin using a standardized financial aid award letter beginning with the 2013-14 academic year that will allow students and their families to see clearly the cost of attending UB and financial aid offerings to the student.
The standardized letter, to be used by all 64 campuses in the State University of New York system, is part of the SUNY Smart Track campaign, a commitment by SUNY to transparency in college financing.
SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher joined Vice President Joe Biden last June to announce that SUNY would be among the first universities in the nation to embrace the Obama administration’s new “Know before You Owe” financial aid transparency initiative.
The SUNY Smart Track Award Letter, based on the federal Financial Aid Shopping Sheet, provides each student with such information as the estimated cost of attendance at the student’s particular campus during the coming academic year, grants and scholarships offered, estimated remaining cost after grants and scholarships, loans offered, federal work study, and student and family options.
The letter will enable students and their families to easily compare colleges and make informed decisions on loan borrowing. It also includes campus-specific information such as graduation rate, loan default rate and median student loan debt.
“UB offers its students a high-quality education at an affordable price, and we know that in this tough economy cost has become an increasingly important consideration for students,” says A. Scott Weber, senior vice provost for academic affairs. “The SUNY Smart Track Award Letter will outline clearly the cost of attendance and financial aid opportunities, providing students and their families with the information they need to make an informed decision about the financial commitment associated with their education.”
Weber adds that U.S. News and World Report “recently ranked UB 19th nationwide for graduating students with the least amount of debt, with more than half of UB students finishing undergraduate school debt-free.”
The SUNY Smart Track initiative aims to reduce debt and loan default rates among SUNY students, with a system-wide goal of decreasing the loan default rate by at least 5 percent over the next five years.