[author: John L. Culhane, Jr.]
In a recent blog post, the CFPB shared some of the feedback it has received on the beta version of its “Paying for College-Cost Comparison Tool” that it launched in April. (We tried out the tool when it was launched and wrote about what we found.)
The CFPB reported that the beta test was a success, with a survey conducted by an association representing high school counselors finding that over 80% of its members thought the tool was “useful” and that nearly half would recommend the tool to students/families without a single modification. The “military benefits calculator” also received positive feedback.
However, the CFPB did receive feedback indicating changes are needed. As an example, the CFPB reported that while it designed the tool for students and families with financial aid offer letters in hand, the feedback indicated that some users were trying out the tool “to take a guess about what certain colleges might cost them” before applying. Accordingly, the CFPB intends to take steps to ensure that users understand the purpose of the tool and that it complements existing tools offered by others. The CFPB also got specific feedback on items such as the need to include geography for school searches since some colleges have the same name and more explanations of terms (which might be done through the addition of “hover overs”).
In the blog post, the CFPB outlined its next steps for the project, which it hopes will culminate in a launch of a full version of the tool in the next school year. While it will continue to seek feedback on updates to the tool’s design and functionality, the CFPB plans to only share the updates with those who let the CFPB know they want to be included on the CFPB’s project update list.