Forward progress continues on the Next Gen FSA initiative and StudentAid.gov, our single front door on the web for students, parents, and borrowers. On Feb. 21, 2021, we made additional updates to features designed to improve the information and self-service tools available to our customers. These updates continue to provide students, parents, and borrowers with clear, actionable information about the aid they have received and personalized guidance on the loan repayment process.
This announcement summarizes new and updated features that are now available.
Updated Features on StudentAid.gov
Several features were updated with this release.
Redesigned Direct Loan Entrance Counseling and Direct Loan Exit Counseling – Entrance Counseling and Exit Counseling on StudentAid.gov have been fully overhauled. Both redesigned counseling processes include
- information presented in smaller “modules” to offer a more streamlined experience,
- integration with the College Scorecard to provide specific and personalized data based on a borrower’s selected school and program of choice,
- loan repayment calculations to demonstrate different repayment plan options based on the borrower’s eligibility and borrowing history,
- different counseling material based on a borrower’s enrollment status (one for undergraduate students and one for graduate/professional students), and
- new knowledge check questions to reinforce important take-aways.
Loan Simulator Updates – Loan Simulator has been updated to pull in additional program level information from the College Scorecard to allow for an enhanced experience in the Repayment and Borrow More modules.
myStudentAid Mobile App Updates – We have added a few features to the myStudentAid mobile app. Users will now be able to view the Status Center, access the Contact Us page, and view documents from the My Documents page directly in the app, rather than being linked to a mobile browser.
TEACH Grant Disclosure Statement Format Update – Previously, the TEACH Grant Disclosure Statement was only sent to TEACH Grant recipients via a paper letter. As of Feb. 21, 2021, TEACH Grant Disclosure Statements are now available electronically on StudentAid.gov (from the My Documents page) for recipients who have opted to receive electronic correspondence.
Borrower Defense to Repayment Application Update – The application is now available in Spanish.
Minimal Operational Impact to Schools
While Entrance Counseling and Exit Counseling have been revised, there should be minimal operational impact to schools.
Schools will continue to receive counseling acknowledgements from the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System as they do today. There are no changes to the data elements or valid values returned in the COD Common Record or the CREC response file. There are also no changes to the counseling information viewable on the COD website or provided in weekly counseling reports.
Schools will continue to use the COD website to set their option to participate in Entrance Counseling. As a reminder, if a school chooses not to participate in the electronic counseling process, a student will be able to select that school from the dropdown menu within the counseling module but will receive an error message telling him or her to contact his or her school.
All counseling remains on StudentAid.gov (the web URL references have been updated; however, redirects are in place).
Demo versions of the counseling processes remain available for all users to view without needing to log in to StudentAid.gov. Note: When viewing the demo versions, the data displayed will not be personalized, and repayment calculations will be based on national average indebtedness.
Additional Tools and Features Launching in 2021
Throughout 2021, additional tools and features will be introduced to improve our customers’ understanding of and interactions with the Title IV aid programs. Details about new tools and features will be provided in forthcoming Electronic Announcements posted on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website.
We will also share information about the Next Gen FSA initiative through partner emails, social media posts, and targeted outreach campaigns to ensure everyone knows what to expect going forward. Additional information about the Next Gen initiative, including fact sheets and image walkthroughs on various resources, can be found on the FSA Data Center.
We appreciate your interest and support as we implement the Next Gen FSA initiative.