“For every dollar borrowed to pay for further education, students and parents may end up repaying two dollars or more, depending on the choices they make,” stated CFPB Director Richard Cordray in remarks at the University Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., on April 11. Director Cordray traveled to South Dakota at the invitation of Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., who, in part, was responding to concerns from South Dakota banks and credit union about the Bureau’s impact on their business. Johnson noted, “Congressional oversight of any government agency is important, but Congress can’t accomplish that without input and feedback from those being regulated. I believe that the CFPB will benefit from the input and feedback from today’s meeting with South Dakota banks and credit unions.”
During his visit, Cordray unveiled a national initiative aimed at helping families understand the cost of higher education. According to Cordray, the beta Financial Aid Comparison Shopper is an interactive online tool designed to help families plan for the costs of post-secondary education. The tool has more than 7,500 schools and institutions in its database, including vocational schools and community, state and private colleges. It draws information from publicly available data provided by government statistical agencies. With the prototype, families can compare across multiple financial aid offers: estimated monthly student loan payment after graduation; grant and scholarship offers; school-specific metrics; and estimated debt level at graduation in relationship to the average starting salary.
“Students' concerns should be focused on how to get a good grade on their next test, not whether tuition costs will put them into lifelong debt,” Johnson stated.