Legally mandated student loan entrance counseling attempts to prepare first-time borrowers of federal student loans for this challenge; yet, researchers hypothesized that the online modules most borrowers use for this purpose have significant shortcomings. This report (the third in a series of five from TG Research) describes a study in which researchers observed, recorded, and interviewed student loan borrowers as they went through federally mandated student loan entrance counseling using online counseling modules. By coding and analyzing data from these interviews, researchers identified how different aspects of the modules, especially the topics they attempt to cover, fail to account for first-time borrowers’ inexperience and learning needs. Based on these findings, researchers offer recommendations for counseling module designers, financial aid practitioners, and policymakers.
Chris Fernandez, With Carla Fletcher, Kasey Klepfer, and Jeff Webster
Fernandez, C., Fletcher, C., Klepfer, K., & Webster, J. (2015). A Time to Every Purpose: Understanding and improving the borrower experience with online student loan entrance counseling. TG Research. Retrieved from: http://www.tgslc.org/research/.