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(OPE Announcements) Subject: 2016-2017 Financial Aid Shopping Sheet

Posted Date:January 19, 2016

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

Subject: 2016-2017 Financial Aid Shopping Sheet

Summary: This letter provides updates, HTML specifications, and the Institutional Metric Data file for the 2016-2017 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. Since then, over 3,000 institutions have reported their commitment to ED. A list of institutions that have adopted the Shopping Sheet can be found at:

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. Two variable names were changed this year: UNITDID became UNITID and INSTITUITIONAL_GROUP became INSTITUTION_GROUP. An additional variable was added (GR_GROUP) that classifies the institution into a grouping based on the graduation rate cut points. Also we updated the methodology to calculate the tertiles (thirds) of the distribution, but the cut points have not changed significantly.

We thank you for your consideration in adopting the Shopping Sheet. If you plan to adopt the Shopping Sheet for the 2016-2017 academic year or wish to provide feedback, please contact us at

Institutional Metric Data Files

Frequently Asked Questions in PDF Format, 215KB,4 Pages

Last Modified: 01/18/2016