The U.S. Department of Education announced in 2017 that major changes are imminent in the federal financial assistance system. The initiative, called Next Generation Financial Services Environment or Next Gen, will modernize the technology and operational infrastructure of the system that provides assistance programs and improve the processes of filing applications for federal agencies Student Loans through repayment.
Updates have been made to various parts of the system since the announcement, but some changes are pending. Even if you’ve used the myStudentAid mobile app or interacted with a chatbot called Aidan, there are likely other changes that you haven’t heard of.
Here’s a look at four of the biggest changes related to next gen and what to expect from federal student loans as a student or as a borrower:
- New website StudentAid.gov.
- mobile myStudentAid app.
- New tools for borrowers.
- A single repayment platform.
New StudentAid.gov website
The new website StudentAid.gov was launched in December 2019. It consolidates the content and resources of three different websites – formerly StudentLoans.gov, fsaid.ed.gov, and nslds.ed.gov – to simplify the way visitors learn about and apply for student aid and federal Pay back federal student loans.
Prior to this change, students and borrowers had to navigate different websites during different parts of the federal grant application process. Now, on this new single website, you can do everything from submitting the free federal student grant application (FAFSA) to getting on and off counseling, consolidating student loans, signing a master’s note, and tracking information about your student loans.
For a limited number of people, the new StudentAid.gov website also includes a virtual assistant called Aidan, which uses artificial intelligence to answer questions. The aim is to provide real-time information in such a way that the process becomes more modern, leaner and more user-friendly. If the pilot is successful, Aidan will be available to additional users soon.
myStudentAid mobile app
The myStudentAid App Introduced in 2018, it allows students and parents to fill out and submit the FAFSA from a mobile phone.
Depending on your requirements, you can now submit the FAFSA on paper, on the computer or via the mobile app. The app provides instructions on how to complete the FAFSA and gives users access to the IRS data retrieval tool, which automatically fills in information from your federal income tax return.
The app also has a myCollegeScorecard feature that allows students and families to view and compare information about the schools they have selected in their FAFSA.
New tools for borrowers
Next Gen is launching two new tools for students and borrowers: the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment, formerly known as the Informed Borrower Tool, and the Student Loan Simulator.
When the annual student loan confirmation is available, students entering college in the 2020-21 academic year must use it as part of their federal loan Incoming advice. It provides projections of student loan status and debt, estimates monthly payments, and displays data from the College Scorecard, a Department of Education website that provides information about schools and subjects, including median graduate earnings.
The annual student loan confirmation will also help borrowers understand basic credit concepts such as interest rates and capitalization.
The Student Loan Simulator is an assistant that guides users through a series of questions that allow them to compare repayment options like fastest withdrawal deadline, lowest monthly payment, or lowest total amount paid. The tool combines earnings, family size and other details of the borrower with the credit data of the Federal Office for Student Aid to create an individual repayment strategy.
Also a new help overview This feature enables users to view details of each grant and loan received. The tool can help them track their remaining eligibility for Direct Loans and Pell Grants, as well as see their progress in repaying their loans, receive notifications on their account, and track how many qualifying payments they have made for lending to the public Have rendered service.
A single repayment platform
Borrowers whose federally administered loans are repaid and assigned to Student loan provider Great Lakes or Nelnet can now participate in the pilot project for the new “Make a Payment” Program. For the first time ever, you can schedule monthly payments directly through StudentAid.gov.
Under the current system, most borrowers still have to interact with a website provided by their servicer during the repayment process. As the next-gen initiative evolves, all direct borrowers will be able to repay their federal student loans on StudentAid.gov.
Together, these updates aim to significantly improve the user experience for students, families, and borrowers.