Blog

Aug
7

Putting students in control of their loans

Loanlook.com is a one-stop site for students and parents to track, plan, manage and effectively control all aspects of their Federal student loans and grants. Private education loan information will be available on the site starting in September 2012.

Loanlook supports a comprehensive community of users. High school seniors who are planning to go to college, parents with PLUS loans, students in college and those in repayment are all served by the site.

At a time when the administration, Congress, U.S. Department of Education, student groups, lenders, economists and parents are focused on the student loan “bubble”, loanlook.com presents a solution for each stakeholder with a bold statement—put students in control of their loans.

The biggest differentiator and benefit of loanlook.com is the availability of trained loan counselors via a Customer Service Center and WebChat. Counselors assist students and parents to better navigate what the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, recently called “the mystery of higher education.”

The site gives users a number of unique, self-service functions not seen in typical repayment tools including: a payment Optimizer that shows borrowers how to pay the least amount of interest on multiple loans and achieve savings through a shorter repayment period; DocSpot, a document repository to store pertinent loan documents; an Affordability and Repayment Module to help reduce over-borrowing and anticipate future payment amounts based on selected field of study and employment outlook; and a LoanRecords section that allows users to keep track of conversations with servicers and lenders.

A growing number of schools are offering loanlook.com as a service to their students. These include new enrollees, current students and those who have their loans in various stages of repayment. Loanlook.com is now deploying its service to over 200,000 students with well over $3 billion in loans.

Loanlook, Inc. President and CEO Balaji Rajan stated that “for too long students have just accepted repayment difficulties with a fatalist attitude. In truth, they have always had several methods to avoid serious repayment problems. The only way to fix the problem for students is to give them full information and control over their decisions. The sector has relied on a myriad of forms, letters, loans, servicers and repayment plans. Many of the requirements conflict with the best interest of the student. Loanlook.com breaks down these barriers with full, complete information and encourages students towards repayment options instead of the standard forbearance.”

The information on the site contains many Federal agency priorities including: those announced by the White House on data transparency; the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) “Know Before You Owe” initiative; and the latest College Score Sheet announced jointly on July 24, 2012 by the CFPB and the Department of Education. Loanlook.com beta was released in March 2011. The site continues to develop based on feedback received from users, partner colleges and universities as well as on-campus outreach programs.

“Our business model is not to recruit students to sell them credit cards, loans or insurance,” said Rajan. “The term ‘financial literacy’ is overused to indicate how to obtain credit, inform students about consequences of default and so on. What loanlook.com offers is functional financial literacy. It is not theory. The numbers are right there in front of the student…and they can make their own choices from the moment they enroll in college.”

“There is an entire country worried about this problem and we expect to work with high schools, colleges, the Department of Education, CFPB and private sector lenders to be a part of the solution by reducing over-borrowing, delinquency and default,” Rajan explained.

Loanlook, Inc. estimates that the use of loanlook.com by students before they finalize their loan amounts could reduce excessive borrowing by up to 20 percent and result in billions of dollars saved by taxpayers, the Federal government and students.

Loanlook.com uses a technology and security architecture that is compliant with: FISMA/NIST SP800-53 standards; the BS17799 and ISO 27000 Series; and is PCI-DSS and SSAE-16 certified.