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Last Wednesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched the next phase of its Know Before You Owe student loan project with the beta version of the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper, an interactive, online tool designed to help families plan for the costs of college.
With student loan debt crossing the $1 trillion barrier, the folks at the CFPB believe that students and families need to fully understand all the moving parts of borrowing money to pay for college before they wind up thousands of dollars in debt and without a plan for their financial future. The new online comparison tool helps students compare college costs so that they can find the one that works the best for their fiscal future.
The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper has been released to the world at the height of the college decision making process. As students sift through their acceptance letters, for a majority of them, it comes down to how they will actually pay for school; however, unfortunately, financial aid information is often filled with hard-to-understand industry terms and unique guidelines to the institution sending it. How can a family make an educated decision on college costs if it’s too complicated to understand the source material?
CFPB’s Know Before You Owe student loan project began in October by collaborating with the Department of Education on a draft Financial Aid Shopping Sheet that higher education institutions could use to present families with a uniform, easy-to-understand explanation of the total cost of post-secondary education and their options for financing it. The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper builds on that by helping students to compare the information across schools.
The beta version of the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper has more than 7,500 schools and institutions in its database, including vocational schools and community, state, and private colleges. It draws information from publicly available data provided by government statistical agencies. With the new tool, students and their families can compare the following across multiple financial aid offers:
- Estimated monthly student loan payment after graduation;
- Grant and scholarship offers;
- School-specific metrics such as graduation, retention, and federal student loan default rates; and
- Estimated debt level at graduation in relationship to the average starting salary
The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper also includes a “Military Benefit Calculator” that can estimate education benefits for servicemembers, veterans, and their families. The calculator includes military tuition assistance and Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
And, of course, ease the cost of college with scholarships. Find your matches today at Cappex.com
Up-to-date college news from this week:
Shooting at small Oakland, CA College
Tragedy struck this week at Oikos University in Oakland, CA as a gunman opened fire on campus killing at least 7. According to the AP, the shooter, One Goh, had intended to target a female administrator. In a news conference, Alameda County Dist. Atty. Nancy O’Malle said:
“On Monday, April 2, One Goh committed crimes of such enormity and brutality that our community, our country and citizens around the world are left reeling. The scope of this murderer’s rampage is unprecedented in Alameda County.”
Students Pepper Sprayed
While protesting rising tuition costs, students at Santa Monica College were pepper sprayed by campus police earlier this week. During a board meeting, over 100 students protested outside and were subsequently pepper sprayed with over 30 students needing medical attention. Chants ranged from “Let us in, let us in” to “No cuts, no fees, education should be free.” Santa Monica College president Chui L. Tsang was less than sympathetic to the students stating:
“Santa Monica College regrets that a group of people chose to disrupt a public meeting in an unlawful manner. The College has launched a full investigation into the matter. The College’s action comes at a time when SMC is confronted with the greatest budget crisis ever to face higher education in California.
Kentucky Wins National Championship
Led by national player of the year Anthony Davis, the University of Kentucky Wildcats won the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Their 67-59 win gave coach John Calipari his first national title and is the school’s eighth championship. Davis only shot 1 of 10 from the floor and all six of his points came from the free throw line. However, he had 15 rebounds, tied an NCAA championship game record with six blocks and added five assists and three steals.
Texting in Class
According to a US News and World Report Article texting is a huge problem in college classrooms. A study by University of Pittsburg of over 190 students showed that students read 2.6 text messages and sent 2.4 texts during one class. Author of the study Fang-Yi Flora Wei said:
“College students may believe that they are capable of performing multitasking behaviors during their classroom learning, such as listening to the lecture and texting simultaneously. But the real concern is not whether students can learn under a multitasking condition, but how well they can learn if they cannot sustain their full attention on classroom instruction.”
FLOTUS to Speak at Two College Graduations
First Lady Michelle Obama will be serving as the commencement speaker for at least three college graduations this spring. However, she will not be straying far from the White House! The lucky schools are North Carolina A&T, Virginia Tech and Oregon State University.
She’ll head to neighboring Virginia on May 11th , where she will be speaking at Virginia Tech. The First Lady chose Virginia Tech due to their resilience following the awful tragedy on their campus in 2007. The next day she’ll head to historically black college North Carolina A&T. She chose A&T because the school has “been instrumental in educating generations of African-Americans.”
Finally, on June 17th, she’ll head to Oregon State University where her brother coaches the Men’s Basketball Team. The school has been recognized for their ongoing efforts to champion healthy eating. As many know this has been the main cause for First Lady Obama in her first term.
Georgia Drops College Ban From Immigration Bill
State Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville has chosen to drop a provision from his immigration bill that would have barred undocumented immigrants from attending state colleges in Georgia. Sen. Loudermilk was unable to get the bill to the floor of the house with that language and as a result he has dropped this provision from the bill.
“There’s other provisions in there that we really need to streamline the process of identification and also security,” Loudermilk stated. “Instead of just jeopardizing all this when we didn’t have the support for the education part, I told them to pull that off if we need to and move forward with the rest of it.”
Final Four This Weekend
The Men’s NCAA Basketball tournament will come to a close this weekend as the Final Four arrives in New Orleans. The lucky schools who have made it this far all happen to be from the Midwest! This “all Midwest” Final Four features University of Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio State and Louisville. The semifinals will take place on Saturday, March 31 with the finals on Monday.
In a matchup of high profile coaches, John Calipari’s Kentucky will face off against Rick Pitino’s Louisville. Tip off for that game is at 6:09. Following the conclusion of the Kentucky/Louisville matchup, Ohio State and Kansas will square off in what is certain to be a great game. Tip off for that game is scheduled for 8:49pm.
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