Beyond Exit Counseling: Resources for Your Students

Krystyna Dias .

In our blog, Exit Counseling: Can We Do it Better?, we discussed how integrating student loan wellness into a continuous financial wellness program is beneficial for students. But what about our new alumni? Federal loan repayment is probably as confusing today as it has ever been — a new web platform, new servicers, new repayment plans, the prospect of partial or total loan forgiveness — it’s enough to make our heads spin, so imagine how recent graduates, who are expected to start repayment soon, must be feeling. Not only that, but the bumpy rollout of the new FAFSA® has sapped all the resources in our offices leaving no time to contemplate providing proactive guidance to our new grads.

If you’d like to do more for your alumni, but don’t have much bandwidth, take advantage of our trusted industry partners that specialize in student loan repayment and offer free services to those repaying student loans. Here are a few to share:

Federal Student Aid has many online resources available to reinforce the information you provided at exit counseling including…

In addition, you can check out these industry partners:

The Institute of Student Loan Advisors (TISLA) was founded by Betsy Mayotte who has been doing compliance and advocacy work in the student loan industry for more than 20 years. Borrowers can find detailed information about loan repayment plans and forgiveness programs on the website. Additionally, borrowers having difficulty can email the team with questions about their specific loans or seek assistance resolving a dispute. Note that TISLA is not affiliated with the federal government or any agency and acts as an independent resource for student loan borrowers.

The AccessLex Institutehas been serving graduate and professional students since 1983. Although it is best known for its support of law schools, AccessLex has resources for anyone borrowing student loans while in college or trying to repay them afterward, including:

  • The AccessConnex® program allows students and borrowers to speak individually with Accredited Financial Counselors (AFC©) about a variety of financial topics including student loan repayment, budgeting, investments and insurance. If you work with an undergraduate population and know of students applying to law school, there are specific resources for them too.
  • The student webinar series often features topics to aid in successful student loan repayment that are applicable to anyone repaying loans regardless of academic program.
  • In case you were feeling left out, there are also professional development opportunities for administrators as well, though not all are free.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Office of the Ombudsman FSA. This will be another reminder from loan exit counseling and an important one. If a borrower is having a problem with their student loan account, for example they believe the balance being billed is incorrect, and have exhausted all avenues working through their servicer, they can open a case with the Ombuds Group. There is a list of items that need to be provided as part of the complaint and this information can be shared by mail or online. While borrowers don’t always get exactly what they want, they will at least be educated as to why their request/dispute could not be resolved as they had hoped.

Now that you have all these great resources, figure out the easiest way to share them with your alumni. Send a mass email early in the fall, take out an ad in your alumni magazine, and/or get the information up on your institution’s website on pages your alumni are most likely to visit. All these avenues can be effective and available to you by collaborating with your Alumni Office.

So many resources, so little time… Are you having a hard time keeping track of the various resources you need to get through the day? Keep it together by bookmarking the Higher Education Assistance Group blog. Let us do the legwork so the information you need is only a click away!