Promote and Support College Access & Student Success
+ Collectively, EFC members offer a variety of robust and successful programs and services to students and families in their states, including affordable student loans and refinancing loans, scholarship and grant programs, financial aid and default prevention counseling, and extensive college planning and financial literacy programs. In 2016, EFC members provided over 2.5 million families the resources needed to successfully plan, save, and pay for college.
+ Guiding students through the maze of higher education options is the first step to ensuring they have a successful postsecondary experience. Most nonprofit and state agency student loan organizations offer free programs to help students select, apply for, and finance their education; these programs include college counseling services, SAT classes, financial literacy training, help with applications and essays, and FAFSA assistance. Many organizations also run programs for adults pursuing a professional degree, homeless and foster youth, and other non-traditional populations. Such free college access and success programs reach millions of students each year.
+ It is key to ensure that vulnerable borrowers, including first-generation or low-income students with no family experience in the intricacies of education financing, be provided the tools and guidance they need to choose the best school, borrow appropriately, complete their degree, and successfully repay their loans.
+ EFC members have hyper-local insight into the communities they serve, working closely with their respective state governments; community organizations; colleges and universities; local elementary, middle, and high schools; and youth organizations. The relationships EFC members maintain with education providers and policymakers in their states give them in-depth insight into the specific needs of students in their states.
+ Most nonprofits and state agencies incorporate financial literacy portals and curriculum into regular borrower outreach, aiming to reduce student indebtedness by educating student borrowers and cosigners about responsible borrowing decisions. These programs are comprehensive, covering topics such as budgeting, credit scores, identity theft, default aversion, the impact of debt on lifestyle, and financial aid options and processes.
EFC recommends the federal government support these initiatives and explore ways to leverage the existing infrastructure of state-based nonprofit student loan organizations, who have proven records of success in operating as the go-to sources in their communities and states for saving, selecting, and paying for college and managing student loan debt.
Specifically, EFC recommends that the federal government provide nonprofit and state-based organizations the resources (such as College Access Challenge Grants) to continue to offer and expand their services to an even greater number of students and families —including through the development of tools to help colleges better counsel their students. One such tool would allow students to project their debt-to-income ratio based on the average starting salary for the student’s field of study; this would inform students about the dangers of borrowing more than they can afford to repay.
Read the 2017 EFC College Access and Student Success Data Report Book here.