SUNY Launches Campaign For Student Debt –

The State University of New York (SUNY) has announced a system-wide effort to help combat student debt throughout New York.

In a press release, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo described the SUNY Smart Track Campaign as “an innovative, forward-thinking effort to help college students understand the realities of financial aid.”

Smart Track aims to reduce debt by supplying new tools and services to help educate students early on, as they’re deciding how to borrow, as well as retaining students at the highest risk for default. The campaign will also allow for working with all student borrowers to help them complete their degrees and secure a job after graduation to help pay off their student loans.

The campaign was launched at six pilot campuses for the 2012-2013 school year, with hopes that all 64 SUNY campuses will adopt Smart Track by Fall 2013.

Smart Track includes the following tools and services:

  • New SUNY Award Letter – SUNY has developed a standard format for presenting financial aid offerings at a campus while also displaying campus-specific graduation rates, default rates, and the median student loan debt of the campus’ students. The new SUNY award letter will incorporate this information, allowing students and families to easily compare colleges and make informed decisions on loan borrowing.
  • Student Loan Service Center Expansion – The SUNY Student Loan Service Center provides Perkins Loan servicing for students and their families. The Center will be expanded to serve all SUNY campuses and provide additional services to support Smart Track.
  • Early Engagement – SUNY has partnered with the U.S. Department of Education to develop a data-driven early-warning initiative that will use SUNY enrollment and federal student loan data to identify the root causes of loan default, enabling campuses to “flag” students who possess a high risk. Campus personnel will use the system to “flag” high-risk students and engage them from the moment they take out a loan through graduation. Additional services for these students will include information on responsible borrowing and a connection with a web-based learning center with loan payment estimators and other useful tools for managing finances.
  • SUNY Smart Track Online Resources – SUNY’s financial aid resources will be made available at a central online hub – a one-stop resource for borrowers. Financial aid experts will host online chats via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to answer questions and offer advice to students and families as they move through the financial aid process.
  • Net Price Calculator – The system’s Net Price Calculator enables prospective students to calculate the net costs of the attendance at any SUNY school by providing tuition, room and board costs, and fees for all campuses. The calculator also allows for customization by campuses.

Students enrolled in SUNY campuses can pursue online degrees in numerous academic disciplines. All programs are accredited through SUNY, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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