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Report Shows Boston Colleges Provide Insufficient Aid Data

High School seniors trying to determine the costs of attending college in Boston may be facing an impossible task, a recently released study of 68 post-secondary institutions shows.

The study, conducted by Sandra Willett, a graduate student in the Kennedy School of Government, reveals that potential students making initial requests of financial aid information usually receive incomplete responses and often receive no reply at all.

Colleges questioned often neglected to mention even basic federal and state student-assistant programs, failed to estimate available financial aid and did not state their basic charge, the study shows.

Willett said yesterday that institutions could provide potential students with tables containing information about student financial aid awards. That information would enable the inquirers to figure out their own financial aid package.

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George B. Weathersby, associate professor of Education, under whose auspices the study was conducted, said yesterday that part of the problem at the colleges can be attributed to grossly understaffed administrations, especially the financial aid offices.

Weathersby said that governmental bodies and individual students should also share the blame. He criticized the government for not knowing the number of colleges in Boston and students for not being aggressive enough in pursuing the desired information.

Low Priority

Both Willett and Weathersby agree that one major problem on the federal level is the low priority that this educational reform has.

Willett added that bureaucratic complications and the lack of current data are the cause of much government misinformation.

Willett said that she had sent copies of her study to House and Senate educational subcommittees as well as to student lobby groups with the hope that they would act on it.

Weathersby said that he has presented his results to a number of statewide representatives. The unofficial feedback, he said, leads him to believe that this problem is not limited to Boston's schools.

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