The University of Delaware has been selected as one of 51 American colleges and universities to participate in a student loan counseling program established by the U.S. Department of Education, according to The News Journal in Wilmington, DE.
The program is an experimental pilot program created by the Department of Education intended to better help students navigate the often confusing student loan system.
How will this program inform students about the complicated American student loan system? Select student loan borrowers at participating universities will be required to partake in an extra counseling session before adding to their student debt total in their sophomore, junior, and senior years of higher education.
The program was created to test the impact that extra student loan counseling sessions can have on a student debtor. Usually, loan counseling sessions have been reserved for before a student’s freshman year and after they graduate. Now, selected students will take another student loan class in between those those standard sessions.
Student loan borrowers that are taking out education loans through the Federal Direct Loan Program will be randomly placed in one of two groups. Students placed in the first group will go through mandatory loan counseling; the session will be a brief, online course that the student must undergo each time they borrow more money.
Those students placed in the second group will not have to undergo any extra student loan counseling sessions.
Before, student loan counseling sessions that took place before freshman year usually lasted around 30 minutes and could be completed online. The exit counseling sessions that took place after graduation took about the same time and could be completed online as well. Exit sessions informed students of when loan payments would be due and helped them calculate monthly payments.
In a statement to The News Journal, Director of Student Financial Services at UD, Melissa Stone, said the following, “When you’re a freshman coming in, there’s so many changes going on. Yeah, you may have to do the entrance counseling online, but you may not completely understand it at the time. But there’s nothing the four years you’re here that kind of reminds you where you’re at.”
Now, it is expected students at the University of Delaware and other participating colleges will be more informed about their student loan situation during their time on campus.
“Students at these institutions will receive proactive and ongoing counseling, and they will gain tools to better understand and manage their own finances,” U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell said in a statement.
The experimental student loan counseling pilot program is to continue for the next several years, according to the Department of Education. It adds to the various programs and initiatives that have been enacted in the past decade to improve the nation’s student loan debt crisis and make college more affordable.
According to LendEDU, there are 43.3 million student loan borrowers in the U.S. that collectively owe $1.41 trillion in student loan debt. Further, 60 percent of college graduates left school with student loan debt, and the average borrower owes $28,400 in student loans.
Author: Mike Brown
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