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Next Gen FSA: Improvements to the Student, Parent, and Borrower Experience

Latest Next Gen FSA News

In December 2017, we announced the Next Gen Federal Student Aid (Next Gen FSA) initiative, which takes big steps toward improving the way students, parent, and borrowers interact with and access the benefits of the programs administered by Federal Student Aid.

In late December 2019, the first big launch of Next Gen FSA implementation kicked off with the consolidation of multiple websites into a single, digital front door: StudentAid.gov. As a result, students, parents, and borrowers can access all the information and tools they previously used, but through an improved interface.

Improvements to Help Customers Manage Their Loans and Grants

We made substantial progress this year and look forward to even more improvements with each new release. Our goal is to make the web and mobile experience more intuitive and provide customers with a variety of tools to help them manage their student aid journey.

To meet this goal, we give customers easy-to-understand, timely information at critical points along the way.

On May 16, 2021, our virtual assistant, Aidan®, became available to all users on StudentAid.gov. We also made improvements to Loan Simulator, the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment, and the Articles section. Updates to the myStudentAid mobile app include the addition of the Master Promissory Note (MPN), Aidan, and the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment. These enhancements provide personalized, self-service tools that support financial literacy and offer important information and guidance about your federal student aid.

Latest Enhancements

Aidan®

Aidan® is a virtual assistant that can answer common questions about federal student aid by using advanced technology to evaluate customers' requests and guide them to the correct information and resources. When Aidan launched in December 2019, the tool was available to 10% of visitors who were logged in to StudentAid.gov. In subsequent releases, Aidan was made available to more and more visitors.

With this release, Aidan is now available to anyone visiting StudentAid.gov, including those who are not logged in. This increased availability expands customer self-service and improves access to federal student aid support.

Loan Simulator

Loan Simulator helps you develop strategies to manage and pay off your federal student loans. The tool can be used to find the best repayment strategy for you, figure out how to manage loans when you're struggling to make payments, or simulate what will happen if you borrow more money to help pay for college or career school.

In 2020, we began providing temporary COVID-19 emergency relief measures on federal student loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education. Relief includes the suspension of loan payments, stopped collections on defaulted loans, and a 0% interest rate. As of May 2021, Loan Simulator has been updated to include these flexibilities, providing better repayment plan estimates so you have more accurate information while planning your loan repayment strategy.

New Articles on StudentAid.gov

As of May 2021, the StudentAid.gov Articles section has been redesigned to align with the look and feel of StudentAid.gov. The Articles landing page still includes a featured article but now allows visitors to filter and view articles by topic. Social media integration is also new, making it easier to share our articles via Facebook, Twitter, or email.

Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment

The Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment (Acknowledgment) is an optional tool for new and current federal student loan borrowers that helps you plan and prepare for receiving federal student loans. For new borrowers, the tool provides information on the basics of loans, interest, and repayment while also providing resources to assist in estimating total borrowing for an academic program. For current borrowers, the tool provides you with up-to-date information about your federal grants, federal student loans, and your remaining aid eligibility. With this release, we modified the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment based on customer feedback and best practices. A new landing page provides three options for a more personalized experience: undergraduate student, graduate student, parent of an undergraduate student. The Acknowledgment also was redesigned to present information in smaller, easy-to-understand

New Additions to the myStudentAid mobile app

Since its launch in 2018, we've continued to improve the myStudentAid mobile app. With the May 2021 release, we've added three more features to the mobile app experience: the Master Promissory Note (MPN), Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment, and Aidan.

The MPN is a legal document that borrowers must sign, promising to repay their federal student loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees. With the MPN's functionality available on the myStudentAid mobile app, borrowers can easily submit their MPNs from their mobile device.

Aidan and the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment allow customers to get questions answered and review and submit their Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment while on the go. Note: Though customers can now access Aidan on StudentAid.gov without logging in, mobile app users will need to log in to access this feature.

Federal Student Aid Website URL Redirect List

As part of the Next Gen initiative, the StudentLoans.gov and former StudentAid.ed.gov web pages are now being redirected to the new pages on StudentAid.gov so as not to disrupt the student, parent, and borrower experience. View a comprehensive list of all the old and new links. This list will be updated on an ongoing basis as other Federal Student Aid website content and functionality are consolidated into StudentAid.gov.

All former URLs will be redirected to the new location except outdated ones. It is strongly recommended that webmasters and content owners of external websites linking to FSA websites update the URLs so their websites will not be adversely affected for the future updates and upgrades.

Resources for Reference and Outreach

You may find the resources below useful as you prepare to help students, parents, and borrowers with the new site.

  • Next Gen StudentAid.gov Walkthrough and Coming Attractions: FSA Conference Session video—In early December 2019, FSA provided an overview of our plans for a new digital platform which combines four websites (StudentLoans.gov, StudentAid.gov, FSA ID, and NSLDS) along with their corresponding functionalities. FSA described specific features to highlight the improved experience for our students and borrowers. View the session's PowerPoint slides.
  • Next Gen FSA Sample Tweet—Sample tweet with video describing what students and borrowers can expect from Next Gen FSA in this newest release and in coming months. Retweet to share information with the students, borrowers, and parents who follow you.
  • Next Gen FSA Sample Facebook Post—Sample Facebook post with video describing what students and borrowers can expect from Next Gen FSA in this newest release and in coming months. Share with students, borrowers, and parents.

May 19, 2021