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Student Experience: Improvements to the Financial Awareness Counseling Tool

August 30, 2012

In a recent post titled Pam’s Link Alerts: U.S. Department of Education Releases Financial Awareness Counseling Tool, we informed you that the U.S. Department of Education released a new Financial Awareness Counseling Tool to help students understand their financial aid and manage their overall finances. The tool provides students with five interactive tutorials on the following topics: Understand Your Loans, Manage Your Spending, Plan to Repay, Avoid Default, and Make Finances a Priority.

Since the July implementation, the Department heard school feedback that the order in which Financial Awareness Counseling and Entrance Counseling are presented on has caused confusion for some students. The students who must complete Entrance Counseling are completing only the Financial Awareness Counseling, which, as they have previously communicated, does not meet the regulatory requirements for Entrance Counseling.

In mid September 2012, the Department plans to remedy the situation by implementing the following changes:

  • They will re-order the list of bulleted items on the home page so that “Complete Entrance Counseling” is presented first.
  • They will add a new section at the bottom of the Financial Awareness Counseling landing page informing borrowers that Financial Awareness Counseling does not satisfy Entrance Counseling requirements.
  • They will include hyperlinks to Entrance Counseling and Exit Counseling at the bottom of the new section on the Financial Awareness Counseling landing page.

As a reminder, a school can identify students who completed Financial Awareness Counseling by referring to its Counseling Report, currently available via the school’s COD Reporting Newsbox on the COD website. The Counseling Report provides information about students who completed counseling via and selected the school to receive information about their counseling session. The Counseling Report contains both Entrance Counseling and Financial Awareness Counseling information. The Counseling Type Indicator values are:

  • S – Subsidized/Unsubsidized Entrance Counseling
  • P – Subsidized/Unsubsidized/PLUS Entrance Counseling
  • L – Financial Awareness Counseling

Students’ information is reflected on the report even if the school does not opt to receive system-generated responses.

For more information on Financial Awareness Counseling, refer to the June 29th Electronic Announcement’s attachment titled “Financial Awareness Counseling. If you have questions, contact the COD School Relations Center at 800/848-0978 for Direct Loans. You may also e-mail

Dawn Knight, Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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