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Helping Families Finance College: Improved Student Loan Disclosures and Counseling

Families are confused by the college funding process. With three federal loan types (each with different rates, fees, and terms) and unlimited direct-toconsumer marketing of private student loans, it’s not surprising that students and parents make uninformed decisions that cost them more than necessary. Consumers (especially students without parental support and parents whose first child is headed to college) lack readily accessible and understandable information about the cost of a college education. Indeed, nearly 50 percent of undergraduate private student loan borrowers fail to exhaust their low-cost federal student loans to finance their college education. Students and parents identified several touchstones in the college funding process that could be improved to help them make informed decisions.