As the chief operating officer at Federal Student Aid (FSA), I am committed to ensuring that borrowers receive high-quality service that helps them access the benefits granted by law. The work we do at FSA is crucial for protecting the more than 43 million Americans who have federal student loans.
Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that pursuing a college education is not just about getting accepted and enrolling in a college. First-generation and low-income college students were burdened with the struggle to pay expensive college fees for a virtual education while being separated from on-campus resources and in-person support from students and faculty. For first-generation and low-income college students, being accepted into a college is a major accomplishment that opens the door to numerous possibilities, such as having higher average salaries and healthier lifestyles. However, there needs to be more support for first-generation and low-income students throughout college, not just to the acceptance letter, for them to enjoy the benefits of obtaining a college degree.
By: Federal Student Aid
As students and families prepare for education beyond high school, cost is a critical consideration. At Federal Student Aid, we know students and families often have to make tough decisions about higher education, and we know the COVID-19 emergency has made some of those decisions even harder.
In typical times, submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form is the first step students and families should take to access federal dollars for college or career school; this is especially true during this challenging period.
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.