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(General) Subject: 2015-2016 Financial Aid Shopping Sheet

Posted Date:February 24, 2015

Author: Lynn B. Mahaffie, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Policy, Planning, and Innovation Office of Postsecondary Education

Subject: 2015-2016 Financial Aid Shopping Sheet

Note: On April 23, 2015 we updated this posting by replacing two attachments. The two attachments that have been replaced are “Data File Schema” and “Institutional Metrics Data.”

Summary: This letter provides updates, HTML specifications, and the Institutional Metric Data file for the 2015-2016 Financial Aid Shopping Sheet.

In July 2012, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet format and asked institutions to voluntarily commit to supplying it to prospective students. As of February 2015, over 2,000 institutions have reported their commitment to ED. A list of institutions adopting the Shopping Sheet can be found at:

Since its release, ED’s process for determining updates to the Shopping Sheet has included meeting with stakeholders and reviewing comments obtained through the mailbox. The feedback we received over the last few years has indicated that institutions and financial aid administrators are becoming more familiar with the Shopping Sheet template and more comfortable providing it to prospective students. Feedback from students and guidance counselors also supported minimal revisions to the Shopping Sheet. In response, ED is only making one addition to the 2015-2016 Shopping Sheet, the addition of an “American Opportunity Tax Credit” bullet under the “Other options” section. We hope that the addition of this bullet will make more students aware of the opportunity to claim this tax credit during the following calendar year after enrollment.

Just as last year, ED is releasing all components needed to complete institutional Shopping Sheets (HTML specifications and the institutional metric data file) as a compiled batch. All components are attached to this letter.

HTML Specifications: Institutions and their software providers may use the attached HTML specifications to produce and populate the Shopping Sheet, using the applicable fields from their existing data systems. The HTML includes a “download” button on the Shopping Sheet to allow prospective students to download their aid offer information into a machine readable format (XML). This XML layout is also attached. We encourage institutions providing the Shopping Sheet in electronic format to include this feature. Institutions that are delivering the Shopping Sheet in print form may want to remove the button. For convenience, a PDF version of the Shopping Sheet is also attached.

Institutional Metric Data File: The student information on the Shopping Sheet is populated using the applicable fields from institutions’ existing data systems. The data and information necessary to populate the institutional metrics section of the Shopping Sheet — the graduation rate, the loan default rate, and the median borrowing figures — are provided in the attached files. The institutional metrics data file is updated on an annual basis. In addition, this announcement includes the image files necessary for situations when there is no graduation rate data or cohort default rate data available for a particular institution. Data used to populate the metrics on the Shopping Sheet comes from ED’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and National Student Loan Data System. Therefore, accurate institutional reporting is necessary to ensure that correct information is populated within the Shopping Sheet metric data file and, ultimately, received by prospective students.

We thank you for your consideration in adopting the Shopping Sheet. If you plan to adopt the Shopping Sheet for the 2015-2016 academic year or wish to provide feedback, please contact us at

Institutional Metric Data Files

Last Modified: 02/23/2015