NAICU Washington Update

College Scorecard Data Added to Student Loan Counseling

February 26, 2021

The Department of Education announced that it would be enhancing entrance and exit counseling for student loan borrowers using information from the College Scorecard.  Currently, student loan borrowers are required to participate in entrance counseling before they are able to receive the first disbursement of their loan and exit counseling when they leave school or drop below half-time enrollment. 

According to the Department, entrance counseling now has simplified, easy-to-understand learning modules that are integrated with the Scorecard. This integration, the Department says, helps to estimate debt and salaries after graduation so borrowers can make informed decisions about their education and loans.  The Department is using programmatic earnings data and cost of attendance from the Scorecard.  However, the Scorecard only has earnings data for the first two years after graduation, which ignores both the ability of bachelor’s degrees to transform the lifetime earnings of graduates and the broader benefits of a higher education. 

According to the Office of Federal Student Aid, borrowers are encouraged to accept the financial aid offer from their institution of choice, sign their student loan agreement, and then complete their student loan entrance counseling. This entrance counseling is only for first-time borrowers of either a Federal Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized loan for undergraduate students and for first-time borrowers of a Federal Direct PLUS loan for graduate or professional students. Exit counseling is completed when a student graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment. Parent PLUS loan borrowers are not required to complete exit counseling.

The learning modules created by the Department allow prospective students and families to complete an entrance and exit counseling demonstration to gain a better understanding of what to expect financially when applying for and attending a college or university. The learning module can also be completed by a student who has completed the FAFSA but has yet to accept an aid offer.   

In addition, the Department updated the borrower defense to repayment applications to include a version of the application in Spanish.