What is "Know Before You Owe"?

Money

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau started its “Know Before You Owe” initiative to make mortgage forms easy to understand and comparable. The need for clear information on how much debt they'll be taking on in order to go to college has never been greater. The CFPB is now is working with the Department of Education to create a financial aid version of the "Know Before You Owe" for students.

For many people, how to pay for a college education is one of the first major financial decisions they'll make.

It's more important than ever for students and former students to make smart decisions about financing their college education. Whether you're attending college soon, are a current student, or already have student loans, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) has put together some tools and resources to help you make the best decisions for you.

The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper 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, students and their families can compare the following across multiple financial aid offers:

  • Estimated monthly student loan payment after graduation.
  • Grant and scholarship offers.
  • School-specific metrics such as graduation, retention, and federal student loan default rates.
  • Estimated debt level at graduation in relationship to the average starting salary

The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper also includes a “Military Benefit Calculator” that can estimate education benefits for Service members, veterans, and their families. The calculator includes military tuition assistance and Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

The goal is to give students and their families an easy-to-understand view of how their decisions today impact your debt burden after graduation. Equally important, though, is that users can use the tool effectively. You can to adjust the loan amounts, savings, scholarship offers, and more, in order to reflect your individual financial situations.

Visit the CFPB's website to use the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper and see the true cost of attending college.

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GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill