Written By: Mackenzie M. Festa, D. Kip Holderness Jr., A. A. Neidermeyer, and Presha E. Neidermeyer
This study explored how an alternative presentation of loan information affects financial-aid decisions among
students (n = 204) at a large public university. Building from decision-aid literature and using an experimental
design, we found that when financial-aid forms were formatted in a way that makes interest rates more accessible
and salient, students tended to: (a) accept fewer high-cost private loans and (b) work more during the college
years. Results indicate that minor revisions in financial-aid documentation can have a significant impact on
students’ financial-aid choices. Those working in the fields of higher education and financial counseling and
planning can use this information to further educate borrowers prior to the encumbrance of student loan debt.