New federal ‘financial aid toolkit’ for college

The federal government on Wednesday rolled out an online “financial aid toolkit” for guidance counselors, parents and others to help students learn about funding options for college.

The Web site, operated by the Education Department, is one of several Obama administration initiatives aimed at helping consumers navigate the often-bewildering higher education market.

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For instance, a search tool enables counselors to find videos targeting high school students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Or infographics to help current college students learn about types of aid. Or handouts to help military families learn about student loans.

“By equipping counselors and mentors with financial aid information, we can help to ensure current and potential students are getting the assistance they need to successfully navigate the process of planning and paying for a postsecondary education,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a news release.

One of Obama’s major consumer-information efforts is the development of a new rating system for colleges, which is controversial among college presidents.

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