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ED launches new financial aid toolkit

Online resource intended as a ‘one-stop shop’ for financial aid information

121113sotwThe U.S. Education Department (ED) has opened a new website aimed at guidance counselors and other advisers who help students choose and pay for college.

The Financial Aid Toolkit, available at FinancialAidToolkit.ed.gov, is intended to be a “one-stop shop” that consolidates financial aid resources into a searchable online database, making it easy for educators and administrators to find the information they need to support their students.

“By equipping counselors and mentors with financial aid information, we can help to ensure current and potential students are getting the assistance they need to successfully navigate the process of planning and paying for a postsecondary education,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a statement.

“This toolkit builds on the administration’s ongoing efforts to improve college access and affordability, and it is an important step toward meeting the president’s 2020 goal of having the most college graduates in the world.”

The searchable online database provides access to resources covering the entire financial aid lifecycle, from applying for financial aid to repaying student loans. It includes documents such as financial aid night materials, presentations, brochures, videos, and sample tweets and Facebook posts. The toolkit also offers professional development information, such as training opportunities and resources for self-instruction.

The launch of the new website builds on ED’s efforts to improve college access and affordability. These include ending student loan subsidies for banks and private financial institutions, shifting billions of dollars in savings back to students; keeping student loan interest rates from doubling this year; and capping loan repayments at 10 percent of monthly income for many borrowers, the Obama administration said.

More information about the administration’s efforts to improve college access and affordability can be found at http://www.ed.gov/college-completion.

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