New Research Points To Gaps In Student-Loan Counseling

"Each year a larger share of new graduates leave four-year colleges with student-loan debt, and the average balance of those who borrowed is higher, too," The Chronicle of Higher Education's Head Count reports

"Students who borrow through the federal loan programs are required to go through entrance and exit loan counseling. But there hasn’t been much evidence on how well that system works.

To help fill that hole, TG, a nonprofit organization that guaranteed loans in the discontinued federal bank-based program, has undertaken a four-part research study in consultation with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Two researchers at TG discussed the project at a session during the association’s annual conference here on Sunday.

TG hopes to find out if students learn from the required counseling, and how it could be improved, said Jeff Webster, the organization’s assistant vice president for research and analytical services.

The project includes 70 to 80 user-experience tests, in which researchers study actual borrowers going through the government’s online counseling tool, which a majority of colleges use to meet the requirement. The study uses surveys to test borrowers’ knowledge and gauge their satisfaction with the counseling, and also captures their feedback as they work through it."

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