Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the U.S. Department of Education has established a new streamlined website and several social media tools that will make it easier for students and families to navigate the financial aid process and make informed decisions about paying for college. The launch of the new website, StudentAid.gov, follows a report from the U.S. Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about consumer protection issues with private student loans and recommendations to improve the student loan marketplace.
"A higher education is getting more and more expensive," said Congressman Cohen, Father of the Tennessee HOPE Lottery Scholarship Program. "This new website will help parents and students determine what financial aid programs will help them best pay for college. The website is easy to understand and easy to navigate. I encourage Memphis families and students to visit studentaid.gov to see how to best prepare for college and get federal assistance."
The new website, along with the Financial Awareness Counseling Tool that launched last week, serves as the Department's response to President Obama's June 7 directive to enhance online and mobile resources for loan repayment options and debt management. StudentAid.gov is the first step in a multi-phase project to provide consumers with a one-stop website where they can access federal student aid information, apply for federal aid, repay student loans and navigate the college decision-making process. The site combines content from several Department websites and presents the information in a straight-forward manner -- and it is designed to be fully accessible on tablets and smartphones. In addition, the Department has revamped its Federal Student Aid social media sites, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, to provide more options for students to learn about student aid.
Also included on StudentAid.gov is the Student Loan Debt Collection Assistant, an interactive tool designed to help borrowers who have fallen behind on their federal or private student loan payments. The tool was developed in partnership with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and is also available through the CFPB's site. For borrowers who have missed payments but are not yet in default, this tool can help them avoid thousands of dollars in penalties and fees by helping them access an alternative payment plan. For borrowers already in default on their federal student loans, this tool offers an added benefit -- clear information on how to access the full range of special repayment options available to federal student loan borrowers. The tool also provides tips to borrowers with private student loans on how to negotiate with debt collectors. Future releases of StudentAid.gov will incorporate additional websites and tools.
For more information about federal student aid, visit StudentAid.gov or the sites on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FederalStudentAid), Twitter (http://twitter.com/FAFSA), or YouTube (www.youtube.com/federalstudentaid).