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Department of Education Announces Launch of “One-Stop Shop” for Counselors to Assist Students in Selecting and Financing Higher Education; Issues RFI for Ideas to Test Alternative Ways of Administering Financial Assistance Programs
Dec 11, 2013

On December 4, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education announced the launch of an online "one-stop shop" aimed at guidance counselors and other advisers, such as staff or volunteers at community-based organizations, who assist students through the process of selecting and financing their higher education. The Financial Aid Toolkit, available at FinancialAidToolkit.ed.gov, consolidates financial aid resources and content into a searchable online database, making it easy for individuals to quickly access the information they need to support their students. Later today, Secretary Duncan will formally introduce the toolkit to more than 6,000 financial aid professionals attending the 2013 Federal Student Aid Training Conference for Financial Aid Professionals.

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On December 6, the Department published a notice inviting institutions of higher education that participate in the student assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (the HEA), and other parties, to propose ideas for new institutionally based experiments designed to test alternative ways of administering the student financial assistance programs to be a part of the ongoing Experimental Sites Initiative (ESI).

The Secretary is particularly interested in experiments that will improve student persistence and academic success, result in shorter time to degree, and reduce student loan indebtedness.

Based on the suggestions submitted in response to this notice the Secretary will design experiments and corresponding evaluation plans. The Secretary will subsequently publish a second notice in the Federal Register to announce approved experiments, describe implementation and evaluation, and invite institutions to apply to participate in the experiments.

Recommended ideas are due by January 31, 2014. More …