Forward progress continues on the Next Gen FSA initiative and StudentAid.gov, our single front door on the web for students, parents, and borrowers. On June 28, 2020, we made additional updates to features designed to promote financial literacy and improve the information and self-service tools available to our customers. These updates continue to provide students, parents, and borrowers with clear, actionable information about the aid they have received and personalized guidance on the loan repayment process.
This announcement summarizes updated features that are now available.
Updates to StudentAid.gov
Loan Simulator Enhancements – Loan Simulator, which initially launched in February, has been enhanced to include additional functionality. Borrowers with varied loan portfolios, such as borrowers who have both Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans, can now receive more refined recommendations, including multiple repayment plans appropriate for their various loan types and their unique financial situations and goals.
Later this year, we plan to add a “Borrow More” option to the Loan Simulator tool. This feature will simulate the impact of taking out additional federal loans for a borrower’s current program of study or a future program of study in which a borrower may enroll.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Help Tool Enhancements – The PSLF Help Tool has been updated to provide borrowers with information about employer eligibility through an FSA-managed employer database.
The PSLF Help Tool currently only helps borrowers to self-assess whether their employer likely qualifies for PSLF by selecting one of five employer types but does not contain employer-specific information. This recent update adds an employer search feature where borrowers who are logged in to the site can use their employer’s Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN or EIN) and their dates of employment to search a new employer database for specific eligibility information about the employer. After a borrower finds his or her employer in the employer database, he or she will immediately receive a notification of the employer’s eligibility status as eligible, ineligible, or likely ineligible for PSLF.
This update will improve borrower literacy about the PSLF program and reduce the number of ineligible forms filed (due to non-qualifying employment). Note: An employer marked as “likely ineligible” indicates that the employer is tax-exempt under the Internal Revenue Code, but is not a 501(c)(3) organization, and further indicates that it is an employer about which we have not yet made a determination about the employer’s eligibility status. In our experience, not-for-profits that are not 501(c)(3) organizations seldom qualify for PSLF, though they may qualify if the organization provides a designated public service. Borrowers employed by such organizations can and should submit employment certifications so that we can determine whether the employer qualifies.
The employer database will be regularly monitored and updated by FSA to reflect changes in an organization’s tax status and other determinations we make about employer eligibility.
In the coming months, we will make additional enhancements to the PSLF Help Tool and will make the employer database searchable by the public.
Additional Tools and Features Available Throughout 2020
Throughout calendar year 2020, additional tools and features will be introduced to improve our customers’ understanding of and interactions with the Title IV aid programs. Details about new tools and features will be provided in forthcoming Electronic Announcements posted on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website. We will also share information about the Next Gen FSA initiative through partner emails, social media posts, and targeted outreach campaigns to ensure everyone knows what to expect going forward.
We appreciate your patience and support as we implement the Next Gen FSA initiative.