Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, named Stanford on a list of 111 universities that have allegedly violated federal financial aid laws in an open letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan earlier this month.
The Higher Education Act stipulates that colleges explicitly state that only the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a requirement for federal aid. However, many other schools, including Stanford, ask for other profiles, such as the College Board’s CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE (more commonly known as PROFILE), in order to be considered for other aid.
In an email to The Daily, University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said that Stanford was “never in violation of the federal Higher Education Act” and that Stanford’s appearance on the list was an error. According to Lapin, the FAFSA is the only document used in determining federal aid at Stanford, and Stanford’s financial aid website clearly states the purpose of each required financial aid form.
Stanford’s other financial aid requirement, PROFILE, has been consistently used only for determining institutional aid. Congress banned the use of other profiles in 1992 in order to reduce the hurdles facing students seeking financial aid.
Lapin attributed Stanford’s inclusion on the list to the committee staff’s failure to directly verify with the named institutions. The University has since been in communication with the congressional staff and has subsequently been removed from the list of schools violating this law.