Revamped student loan site is a hit
- By Megan Lisagor
- Feb 21, 2002
A redesigned Education Department Web site has boosted traffic and eased
the process of applying for student financial aid.
Accenture and the department's Office of Student Financial Assistance
re-launched the Free Application for Federal Student Aid site (fafsa.ed.gov)
Jan. 1, and the site registered a 59 percent increase in traffic during
the first month.
"It's faster, cheaper and easier," said Steven Shane, a partner at Accenture.
Six million students are expected to file online this year 2 million
more than in 2001. That projection translates to three out of every five
applications, reducing paperwork, staff time and, ultimately, cost.
The site features a new design, how-to worksheets and an option to print
a student aid report. A security measure also prevents the submission of
Another boost to user-friendliness is the ability to save information
while an applicant, for instance, finds the answer to a question or locates
a tax document.
"It was horrible," Shane said of not being able to set aside a partially
With an improved technical architecture and fewer servers, the site
is faster and cheaper to operate, he added.
In September 1999, Education awarded Accenture a share-in-savings contract,
estimated at $193 million over five years, to modernize the department's
financial assistance office.
Many other projects are in the works, including a single sign-on for
schools to access various aid systems.
"On the horizon, we're dramatically going after redundant data," Shane