Effective Counseling, Empowered Borrowers

To manage their loans effectively, U.S. postsecondary student loan borrowers must make a variety of important decisions that require significant knowledge and financial skills and entail considerable risk. Federal law requires colleges to provide student loan counseling to their federal student loan borrowers, but there is significant room for improvement in the ways that policy promotes better-informed borrowing. This report (fifth in a series of five from Trellis Research) summarizes the findings of four previous Trellis studies on the financial counseling research literature, the legislative history of student loan counseling, the on-the-ground borrower experience with online counseling, and the measures some institutions have taken to better counsel their student borrowers. It uses these findings to inform policy recommendations aimed at more effectively providing student loan borrowers with the knowledge and skills to borrow and repay their loans in a responsible manner best suited to their individual needs.


Chris Fernandez, With Carla Fletcher, Kasey Klepfer, and Jeff Webster

Release Date

January 2016


Fernandez, C., Fletcher, C., Klepfer, K., Webster, J. (2016). Effective Counseling, Empowered Borrowers: An evidence-based policy agenda for informed student loan borrowing and repayment. Trellis Research. Retrieved from: https://www.trelliscompany.org/research/.