Following McCaskill Request on Student Loan Counseling, Education Department Changes Course Agency announces loan counseling experiment and new college completion toolkit, programs advocated by Senator following College Affordability Tour
BigNews.Biz - Dec 25,2016 - Following McCaskill Request on Student Loan Counseling, Education Department Changes Course
Agency announces loan counseling experiment and new college completion toolkit, programs advocated by Senator following College Affordability Tour
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill applauded the announcement by the Department of Education that it will begin a loan counseling experiment and has released a new college completion toolkit. Following her College Affordability Tour across Missouri earlier this year, McCaskill had urged the Department to reconsider a decision not to allow colleges and university to require that student borrowers complete personalized debt calculators as part of their entrance counseling.
“Student debt has a serious financial impact on students, families, and our economy—something I heard firsthand from so many students and educators across the state, who are worried about how their loans will affect them long after graduation,” said McCaskill, a graduate of the University of Missouri. “At our urging, I’m glad the Department of Education took a concrete step in helping first-time borrowers understand the real world implications of student loan debt and untying the hands of the administrators who want to help them—and I’m looking forward to working with them to help move this program from an experiment to a permanent tool.”
McCaskill’s College Affordability Tour centered on innovative, effective ways to make college more affordable and decrease the enormous amounts of loan debt that students are facing. Those goals included a boost to Pell Grants to make them available more than twice yearly, encouraging higher and faster graduation rates, and more resources for students who choose to dual-enroll to get ahead, enabling them to graduate sooner and cut down on the amount of loans they may need.
One survey showed roughly half of all first-year students underestimate their student debt and more than a quarter of students with federal loans incorrectly stated they have no federal debt. Personalized debt calculators, like the Financial Awareness Calculation Tool, give student borrowers the opportunity to calculate an estimate of their loans and the repayment process.
According to the Institute for College Access & Success, the average debt for a Missouri graduate of a public 4-year institution or private non-profit 4-year institution is $25,844 and the proportion of Missouri graduates from those institutions with debt is 59 percent. Missouri ranks 33rd in the nation in terms of how much debt students graduate with and 31st in the nation in terms of how many students graduate with debt.
Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/education to read highlights of McCaskill’s work to improve education.