Digital Gov

USDS-built web app seeks to help with student loans

Shutterstock image (Dencg) : digital government concept.

The Obama administration has introduced an initiative that seeks to modernize the way student loans show up on credit reports via a web-based app that gives students the ability to explore all the options available for repaying loans based on their incomes once they enter the workforce.

In a call with reporters this week, Liz Allen, deputy director of communications at the White House, said the app is designed to allow students to save and email themselves the information they gather "so that they can then easily access that information down the road as they're making these very big, important, complex decisions."

The U.S. Digital Service team showcased the web app in a tweet that features an animated GIF showing the 20 stages of its design.

The Education Department is working with USDS, the Treasury Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to get 2 million more student borrowers participating in programs such as the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan within a year. Education officials are working on a system to "further improve student loan servicing practices, promote borrowers' successful loan repayment and reduce borrower defaults," according to an Education Department solicitation.

The app was designed for mobility and simplicity.

"The idea is to try to make the information as clear to students as possible," Secretary of Education John King Jr. said. "I will say we've proposed to Congress a streamlining of the income-based repayment plans because we are concerned that having multiple plans with different terms and conditions can be a challenge for borrowers. We've made the streamlining proposal and continue to work with Congress toward that."

He added that officials are moving toward a single portal "because we do know that there this is a challenge that the portals for each of the [loan] servicers now differ, and that creates a challenge for borrowers."

King said another goal is to create a "one-stop shop" where borrowers can manage and repay their loans.

In a press conference with college reporters on April 28, President Barack Obama said, "There's no doubt that if done well, technology can potentially reduce costs."

About the Author

Aisha Chowdhry is a former staff writer for FCW.


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