ESF Joins SUNY in ‘Smart Track Campaign’ to Battle Student Debt
SUNY commits to transparency in college funding
The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) will join other SUNY campuses in the use of a standardized financial aid award letter for the 2013-14 academic year as part of the SUNY system's Smart Track campaign committing to transparency in college financing.
The new award letter will allow students and their families to see clearly the cost of attendance and financial aid offerings at each SUNY campus, including campus-specific information such as graduation rate, median borrowing and loan default rate.
"ESF is committed to providing a high-value educational experience to all of our students," said ESF President Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr. "Participating in this SUNY program enhances our commitment to both our students and their families."
The SUNY Smart Track campaign gives prospective students the most comprehensive and transparent financial aid information available so they can make informed decisions about how to pay for their college education," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher.
Beyond the new standardized form, SUNY's Smart Track campaign calls for an expansion of SUNY's Student Loan Service Center, early engagement of students at risk of default and providing new and improved online resources such as a net price calculator, chats with financial aid experts and financial literacy materials.
Development of the standard financial aid award letter was first announced when SUNY launched its Smart Track™ campaign in September. With the launch, SUNY adopted the concept of transparency of financial aid and college costs, and the system began offering students the most proactive, comprehensive financial aid information and services in the country.
More recently, in the 2013 State of the University Address, Chancellor Zimpher announced that SUNY Smart Track™ would contribute to a wider system-wide goal of decreasing the loan default rate of SUNY students by at least five percent over the next five years.
The average indebtedness of a SUNY graduate is $22,575, well below the national average of $26,600. The vast majority of SUNY student loan borrowers repay their loans successfully.
The SUNY Smart Track™ Award Letter was developed by a committee of campus financial aid directors, and others, who were tasked with adopting the intent of the federal Financial Aid Shopping Sheet while creating a unique version for SUNY. Additionally, the campaign calls for an expansion of SUNY's Student Loan Service Center, early engagement of students at risk of default, and providing new and improved online resources such as a net price calculator, chats with financial aid experts and financial literacy materials.
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