On-line tool aims to help students get the low down on cost of college

Helping students clearly understand the total cost of attending college and making informed decisions about paying for their education is the stated aim of a new web-based tool rolled out Wednesday by the federal consumer financial protection agency.

The “Your Financial Path to Graduation” web tool, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said, helps students turn financial aid offers into plans to pay for school step-by-step. “Along the way, it explains terms, offers money saving tips, and tracks uncovered costs,” the agency said. “Once students finish making a plan, the tool estimates the total debt at graduation and offers information to help the student evaluate whether that debt is affordable in the long run.”

Students can save their plans and revise them if their circumstances change, the agency said.

The bureau indicated it wants students to use the tool on their own or with guidance from high school counselors or college financial aid advisors. Colleges and universities, the agency said, can also send prepopulated links to students as an interactive supplement to other financial aid communications.

“The Bureau is currently seeking high schools, colleges, and college access organizations to pilot the tool during the coming school year,” the agency stated.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Releases Online Tool to Help College Students Determine How to Pay for College