About the 568 Presidents' Group
Statement of the Chairman
On behalf of my fellow presidents at our member institutions, I would like to welcome you to the 568 Presidents' Group web site.
In 1994, Congress created an antitrust exemption (Section 568 of the Improving America's Schools Act) that sanctioned efforts by institutions practicing need-blind admissions to discuss and agree upon common principles of financial aid need-analysis. By enacting this legislation, Congress recognized the value of need-based aid and the fact that students would benefit from colleges and universities working together to develop institutional policies that enhance access to higher education.
In response to this Congressional mandate, the presidents of a number of leading colleges and universities reaffirmed their commitment to need-based financial aid by endorsing a comprehensive set of principles for the fair determination of a family's contribution to the cost of an undergraduate education. That commitment grows out of a shared belief in the primacy of a need-based financial aid system that is both understandable and fair. All of our institutions practice need-blind admissions and we aspire to bring greater clarity, simplicity, and fairness to the process of assessing each family's ability to pay for college.
Toward that end, I and the other 568 Group presidents support the following financial aid principles:
- Families should contribute to educational expenses according to their ability and those with similar financial profiles should contribute similar amounts.
- To the extent they are able, parents and students have the primary responsibility to contribute to educational expenses before an institution awards financial aid.
- Institutions should evaluate both income and assets as part of the assessment of the family's ability to pay.
- The exercise of "professional judgment" by financial aid officers in assessing a family's ability to pay should recognize unique or extenuating financial circumstances in individual cases; such judgment is not the proper mechanism for systematically treating groups of students differently to advance institutional objectives.
- Each institution should inform applicants about the policies and practices it applies when measuring a family's ability to pay, carry out its policies consistently, and support the awarding of need-based aid.
- An institution that allocates any financial assistance that is not based exclusively on need should inform all prospective applicants of the standards it applies in allocating that aid.
Chairman, 568 Presidents' Group