ED Debuts Consolidated Financial Aid Website, Chatbot for Students

By Joelle Fredman, NASFAA Staff Reporter

The Department of Education (ED) debuted a revamped, consolidated website for federal student aid information and a chatbot for some student loan borrowers on December 23 — two of a slew of technology innovations it teased at the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference in December.

Specifically, the StudentAid.gov site now hosts the student-facing portions of StudentLoans.gov, fsaid.ed.gov, and nslds.ed.gov, ED wrote in its announcement. ED also debuted a singular contact number — 1-800-4-FED-AID — which borrowers can call to assess all loan servicer contact centers. After dialing, ED wrote, borrowers will be assisted via an interactive voice response, “eliminating confusion and frustration for borrowers.”  

“[FSA’s] customers visit our websites more than 120 million times each year,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement. “By centralizing the information they need on one website, providing one singular phone number to call, and continually improving our mobile app, we can better serve students and cut down on the confusion of navigating the federal student aid process.”  

ED announced it would be consolidating the websites in a December 13 Electronic Announcement and in a Dear Colleague letter on December 20, and reminded the community about the change on social media.

In addition to a revamped website, ED also wrote that it is continuing to update the myStudentAid mobile app, and debuted its financial aid chatbot, Aidan. The chatbot — which ED wrote can already answer more than 800 questions about federal student aid — is now available to 10% of borrowers, and will be accessible to others on a rolling basis.

Other upcoming changes announced at the FSA conference include two new online tools for borrowers — the “Informed Borrower Tool” and “Loan Simulator” — as well as the “NextGen PPO,” a new online resource for financial aid administrators. All of these changes are part of ED’s overhaul of the federal student loan system, dubbed the Next Generation Financial Services Environment.

 

Publication Date: 12/23/2019


Meredith S | 1/3/2020 9:3:18 AM

It looks like there are no quick links to counseling, except entrance.

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