By Owen Daugherty, NASFAA Staff Reporter
Federal Student Aid (FSA) this week announced updates to student loan entrance and exit counseling sessions hosted on StudentAid.gov to provide borrowers with a more streamlined and personalized experience.
The improvements and additions are part of FSA’s long-term strategic overhaul and its Next Generation Financial Services Environment (NextGen) initiative, with a key component of the enterprise consisting of implementing a variety of new digital tools that aim to modernize the federal office.
“Federal Student Aid’s goal is to ensure our customers understand the responsibilities and rights associated with taking out federal student loans,” FSA’s Chief Operating Officer Mark Brown wrote in a post on Twitter announcing the improved entrance and exit counseling sessions.
The updates to the entrance counseling bring shorter pages and briefer learning modules optimized for the web, in addition to newly incorporated loan repayment simulations that show borrowers the various repayment options. The College Scorecard will also be integrated into the session to allow for program-level data to be viewed by borrowers so they can estimate their debt and salary after they graduate.
Borrowers will also be able to toggle between different repayments options to see what their loan payments will be once they finish school.
The revamped exit counseling, which borrowers are required to complete when they leave school or drop below half-time enrollment, will feature integrated personalized loan information for each borrower to help educate them about their loans balances and repayment options.
The exit counseling session will also include a tool to simulate the process and eventual outcome of using different repayment plans. Further, the exit counseling session will have a feature that gives borrowers a recommended repayment strategy based on pertinent information such as marital, tax filing, and employment statuses.
In addition to the entrance and exit counseling improvements, FSA announced three new features would be added to the myStudentAid mobile app, including a status center, a page for each user’s personal documents, and an option to contact FSA.
“These new in-app features make it easier to manage your account with Federal Student Aid and get help when you need it,” a blog post on the changes said.
FSA also said it has added a borrower defense application in Spanish on its site so borrowers who have selected Spanish as their preferred language can have a more inclusive experience.
Publication Date: 2/24/2021