Student debt has surpassed credit card debt for the first time in U.S. history, and the amount of outstanding student loans is expected to exceed $1 trillion in 2011. College seniors graduated with an average of $25,250 in student loans in 2010, up 5 percent from the previous year, according to The Project on Student Debt.
The issue has prompted U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to call on higher education officials to work with greater urgency and creativity in reducing college costs, and spurred the Occupy Wall Street movement to set up a campaign focused on student debt.
Sourcebooks, a leading provider in college-bound resources for students and educators, recognizes the need for sound financial advice and guidance when it comes to the college search process. The publisher recently formed a new education division, Sourcebooks EDU, which made its first acquisition on Friday of managingcollegecost.com and myfinancialfit.com. The online financial aid resources were founded by veteran admissions and guidance counselor Frank Palmasani, to help families conquer college costs.
“The economic impact of the student debt crisis is one of the big unknowns that we are facing today in this country,” Palmasani said. “The Financial Fit College Search Program is intended to engage students, parents, and high school counselors in a unified quest of finding affordable college options. The ultimate goal is to help families manage their college costs without excessive debt.”
Every year, thousands of college-bound students and parents face the complexity and anxiety associated with filing for and receiving their college financial aid packages, as well as making decisions that will affect them financially for years to come. In a process fraught with myths and misinformation, families often find out at the last minute that the colleges of their choice come with unexpectedly high financial burdens.
“Frank starts with the college search process and provides tools to support families all the way through choosing and paying for college,” Sourcebooks CEO Dominique Raccah said. “Guidance counselors are telling us they cannot act as financial advisors and have no resources available to direct families to as they begin the college process. We’re finally going to be able to provide help.”
Managingcollegecost.com is a free, subscriber-based website that utilizes Palmasani’s vast and varied 25 years of experience to create a valuable resource for students, parents, and college admissions counselors. As users navigate the site, they will see features and links, along with 33 videos dealing with a wide range of issues pertaining to the financial aid process. Palmasani’s blog keeps parents up-to-date on the financial aid timeline while teaching them how they can help their student select the best AND most affordable option.
Building on this vision, Palmasani also created myfinancialfit.com, a subscription-based website designed to help families match their affordability threshold with the net price of colleges. Myfinancialfit.com offers a 10-item confidential and anonymous questionnaire that evaluates tax credits, cash flow, available savings, and reasonable borrowing, and then provides families with a college affordability range.
Sourcebooks EDU plans to make these tools more widely available, as well as enhance these resources with additional video, content, webinars, seminars, books, interactive ebooks, and software tools.
About Frank Palmasani
Frank Palmasani, founder of managingcollegecost.com and myfinancialfit.com, began learning about the financial aid process in 1976, his first year as a high school counselor. In 1981, he moved to the college level eventually becoming a director of admissions. After a twelve-year stint, he returned to the high school arena to a position that he continues to enjoy today, serving as a guidance counselor. Palmasani also has also delivered seminars on the college financial aid and planning process to an estimated 100,000+ people since 1985.
Sourcebooks is an independent publishing house dedicated to sharing our passion for books in a wide variety of genres. We publish over 300 new titles each year, and are honored to have 28 New York Times bestsellers. Sourcebooks is one of the largest woman-owned book publishers in the country. Visit www.sourcebooks.com for more information.