Education Department Launches New Loan Counseling Tools to Help Borrowers Manage Their Debt
Students who are graduating this spring are now able to take advantage of new tools that can help them better understand their loan debt and stay on track in repayment. The U.S. Department of Education has launched two key features on its StudentLoans.gov website: a Complete Counseling Web page and a new Repayment Estimator that lets borrowers compare what their monthly payment amounts would likely be across all seven repayment plan options.
Both improvements are part of the Obama Administration’s ongoing effort to make college costs more transparent and help students make informed decisions at every step of the process – from selecting a postsecondary institution to financing their education to repaying their loans.
"With college graduation around the corner, thousands of students will soon start to repay their loans, and we want to help them select the repayment plan that makes sense for them," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "These tools give students the information they need to understand how to better manage their student loan obligations. Our goal is to make the entire challenge of college costs much less daunting, and these tools are additional steps in that direction."
Today's announcement builds on the Education Department's previous initiatives to carry out the Presidential Memorandum of June 7, 2012, which called on the Secretaries of Education and the Treasury to improve information available to borrowers about their student loan repayment options. Last July, the Department unveiled the Financial Awareness Counseling Tool (FACT) – an interactive loan counseling tool that covers topics ranging from managing a budget to avoiding default. The Complete Counseling Web page combines a number of resources, including FACT, into one comprehensive site.
The Education Department has already begun to receive feedback on the Complete Counseling site, and it is planning to release an upgraded version later this year. Meanwhile, the Department wanted to ensure that 2013 graduates could access the tool as they plan their next steps in managing their student debt. Federal student loan borrowers can access both of the new resources today by signing in to their accounts at StudentLoans.gov.