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financial aid toolkit

The U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday the launch of a new website that will support college advisers and guidance counselors in selecting the best course of access and affordability for prospective students. The Financial Aid Toolkit combines the vast scope of financial aid resources and other related materials into a large, searchable database.

RELATED: With GOP Cuts And Plus Loan Eligibility Changes, Obama Administration Looks To Get HBCUs Back On Track

Education Secretary Arne Duncan (pictured) was in Las Vegas yesterday at the 2013 Federal Student Aid Training Conference for Financial Aid Professionals, taking a moment to address the 6,000 attendees and introducing the Toolkit. Mr. Duncan also laid out plans by the Obama administration to create a college ratings system that would improve funds for institutions based on performance and the like.

However, it was the Toolkit’s roll out that would prove to be the most-significant portion of Duncan’s morning announcement, and it was further explained in the following press release:

By equipping counselors and mentors with financial aid information, we can help to ensure current and potential students are getting the assistance they need to successfully navigate the process of planning and paying for a post-secondary education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

This toolkit builds on the administration’s ongoing efforts to improve college access and affordability, and it is an important step toward meeting the President’s 2020 goal of having the most college graduates in the world.

President Barack Obama has been working closely with the Education Department as part of an earlier announced plan last August to bolster higher education programs. This move includes increasing the value of post-secondary education, making colleges more affordable, working with education leaders at the planning stages, and finding innovative ways to make the process readily accessible.

SEE ALSO: The ‘Nation’s Report Card’ Draws Academic Mason Dixon Line

Findings from The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (JBHE) list modest gains in the graduation rates of Black students. Although the JBHE found that students are graduating at just 42 percent, there has been an increase of about three percentage points over the last two years.

For more information regarding the Financial Toolkit, click here.

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