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Paying for College: Help us make it easier for you to choose

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April is a time when students and their families anxiously await their college acceptance letters. But for families across the country, the good news of getting into college isn’t the end of the anxiety. Figuring out how to finance a college education can also be daunting.

We want to find a way to make it easier to compare different options when making decisions on student debt. There is a lot of data out there on schools and loans, and we thought we’d try to get the key information into one place to help students see how their choices today might impact their financial lives in the future.

Today, we’re asking for your input to develop a new interactive tool to help navigate financial aid offers and student loans.

We’ve already put together a prototype. In this beta version, you can enter the financial aid information you’ve received from colleges, adjust your family’s contributions, input scholarships and military benefits, and much more. Our beta version can give you a rough estimate of your monthly payment after graduation, as well as a sense of your overall debt burden in relationship to the average starting salary of a college graduate. You can also see school-specific indicators like graduation rates.

But we need your help. We need students and families to tell us what is helpful and what is confusing. For the experts out there, we need you to tell us how to think about some of the technical assumptions, like interest rates and salary data. The information you provide will help us determine where to make both big changes and little tweaks.

We’ll be sure to report on what we’ve heard back to you and to other agencies working to make the process easier and simpler. Use the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper and tell us what you think.

We also challenge the developer community to make their own apps and web tools to help students make more informed decisions. Our prototype relies on data that are available to all of us, and we welcome the competition!

The CFPB wants to make sure that the student loan market works well for all students and their families. That’s why we worked closely with the Department of Education on our Know Before You Owe student loans project, launched a student loan complaint system, and created the Student Debt Repayment Assistant for borrowers navigating their repayment options.

With your help, we can make financial aid season a little less stressful when it comes to student loans.

  • http://www.smartblondecreative.com Smart_Blonde

    I am so happy to see this resource available. You all need to more widely advertise the availability of this information. I really really wish that I had had resources like this available to me when I was getting ready for college.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ernest-Johnson/1486561236 Ernest Johnson

    It’s real simple!

  • Guest

    Did you all know there is a better product on the web?  Check out rightchoice.net!

  • http://healthandfitnessnow.blogspot.com/ Fitness and Health

    Wish you good luck!

  • Sarah Bauder

    This is nicely done.  I like that the loan amounts are coded so that a student cannot put in more than the federally allowed limits. There is enough information for the family to make knowledgeable decisions on how to pay for college and to cross compare institutions.  Obviously the tool assumes the parent/student is going to know the difference between an alternative loan and a PLUS loan; interest rates; etc.    It would be convenient to have a link to the institution’s financial aid website included.  Many institutions offer special financial aid programs that offset debt.

  • http://appzguru.com/ Sair

    The excellent idea, it will really facilitate life to students!

  • Becky in Maine

    what is the source for your information?  I work at a college, and we submit grant information to the federal government and also the common data set and none of the information on this site matches it.  Also, what year is the data for??

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