CFPB Rolls Out Tool To Help Students Comparison Shop For Financial Aid

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is in its infancy, but already it’s taking steps to create tools that can help people in a very real way. It rolled out a beta version of a cost comparison shopping tool, aimed at guiding students and their families through the process of researching financial aid options.

On its site, the CFPB notes how tough it can be to navigate schools, grants, loans and all the various financial dealings involved in going to college. Their new prototype Financial Aid Comparison Shopper is one way they’re trying to help with all of that information.

Our goal is to give parents and students, especially high school seniors, an easy-to-understand view of how their decisions today will impact their debt burdens after graduation. This tool helps users make side-by-side cost comparisons between schools, tailored to their unique financial circumstances and estimated costs of attendance.

The tool isn’t in its final form yet, and the CFPB is urging consumers to test it out for themselves and provide feedback that could impact its functionality before the full launch.

Try it out and let them know if it was useful, informative, easy or hard to navigate, or any other comments and criticism.

Comments

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  1. XTREME TOW says:

    Enter text…Thank you very much! This is very helpful!

  2. Thaddeus says:

    It’s a good start provided students and parents actually know how to read and interperate the data. Hopefully they will let you put in more than three schools once the final version hits.

  3. Hi_Hello says:

    it would be nice if you didn’t have to enter all the same info for each school…

    like the pell grant.

    • Thaddeus says:

      Agreed. That stuff is pretty standard from school to school, depending on the cost of attendance. Maybe the next version will have logic that will see you’re looking at schools in same COA range and allow for such a thing.

  4. GrayMatter says:

    My God! It is so sluggish!! I entered in some numbers and it literally took 30 seconds for the system to respond.

  5. SlimDan22 says:

    I thought this compared Student loans from different financial institutions, not how much schools cost. (Although I’ll take government loans anyday). I already know what schools cost more in my state lol

  6. Clever_Innuendo says:

    This tool seems very helpful for a first-time student just graduating from high school. However, it wasn’t very helpful to me because I am a current student at a community college, and I’ll be receiving an associate’s degree next spring. I’m trying to compare the costs of schools for transfer, not for a full four years living on campus with 18-year-olds in a dorm. lol. (I also noticed that the numbers didn’t change, regardless of whether you selected “on campus” or “off campus,” which doesn’t seem right.)

    It would be great if they could add an option for transfer students who already have associate’s degrees that factors in only two years of school to complete a bachelor’s degree, as well as different loan limits (since juniors and seniors have higher loan limits that freshmen and sophomores). Also, there should be an option to factor in the amount of loans that I have already taken out so I can see the total cost for the next two years added to my current debt burden in a nice, neat (horrifying) visual representation.

    Furthermore, I agree that it should allow to you compare more than 3 schools and should not require so much copy pasting for the numbers. The numbers should essentially be the same for each school, since your EFC determines Pell grant eligibility, and same for loan amounts based on number of credits earned. The only thing that would be different is that each school might offer different scholarships.

    It definitely has potential though!

  7. edububble says:

    Wow. This left me with plenty of questions like:

    * Why does the average in-state public university generate $15,600 in debt EACH YEAR? I thought the College Board claimed that the average college debt was only $25k for all four years?

    * Princeton University supposedly leads to about $16,000 in debt. Yet it claims that it offers so many grants that no one gets loans?

    I wonder if this is really accurate.