Keeping the Promise: Enhanced Entrance and Exit Counseling on StudentAid.gov

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Federal Student Aid has renewed our commitment to delivering innovative tools and resources to empower you throughout your financial aid journey. This month, we’ve made updates to some of those pretty well-known resources on StudentAid.gov: entrance and exit counseling.

Entrance counseling—required before you receive your first Direct Subsidized or Direct Unsubsidized Loan as an undergraduate and before you receive your first Direct PLUS Loan as a graduate or professional student—ensures that you understand the responsibilities and rights that come with taking out a federal student loan. Exit counseling—required when you leave school or drop below half-time enrollment—provides important information needed to prepare for repaying federal student loans.

Entrance and exit counseling are critical parts of the financial aid journey, and we’re excited to make this experience better for you.

Entrance counseling now has simplified, easy-to-understand learning modules that are integrated with College Scorecard. This integration helps to estimate your debt and salary after graduation so you can make informed decisions about your education and loans. You can also see what your loan payments might look like under different repayment plans.

The new entrance counseling modules directly support student financial empowerment and walk students through segments, such as:
• Estimate the Cost of Your Education, which uses an interactive tool to provide a detailed, estimated breakdown of your cost of attendance;
• How Much You Can Expect to Borrow, which explains how interest accrues and features an interactive tool that estimates how much debt you can expect to have at the end of your program; and
• Prepare for Repayment After School, which provides you with pertinent student loan repayment information, including your projected net and gross salary, estimated monthly payment amount, and recommended maximum monthly payment amount.

After completing all modules, you can download or print a summary of your entrance counseling session.

The enhanced exit counseling process includes personalized loan information about your specific loan balances, repayment options, and responsibilities. It also features a tool to simulate the impact of using different repayment plans, as well as a summary of the next steps toward repayment.

The new exit counseling modules include topics like Determine My Repayment Strategy, which provides an assessment of your federal student loans and recommends a repayment strategy based on key information such as your marital, tax filing, and employment statuses. This module and others featured throughout the exit counseling session offer timely information to prepare you for loan repayment.

In addition to the updates to entrance and exit counseling, Federal Student Aid has added three features to the myStudentAid mobile app: Status Center, My Documents, and Contact Us. These new in-app features make it easier to manage your account with Federal Student Aid and get help when you need it.

The final update we’ve made this month is to the borrower defense application on StudentAid.gov . It’s now available for customers that have selected Spanish as their preferred language. This update ensures that we’re providing an equitable, inclusive experience for all of our customers.

I hope you find these enhanced tools and features helpful as you navigate your federal student aid journey with us. We’re your trusted source as you learn about, apply for, receive, and repay federal student aid. Follow me on Twitter for regular updates and for more information about FSA’s tools and resources.

By: Chief Operating Officer Mark Brown, Federal Student Aid

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