College Abacus Launches College Search Tool Aimed at Low-Income Students
College Abacus has launched a new tool, Pell Abacus, designed to help streamline the college search for low-income students likely to be eligible for Pell Grants.
Currently a beta release, the new tool integrates data from the College
Scorecard initiative and provides projected net costs for each school, as well as "school-specific data on a range of different financial
factors, such as average loan payments for Pell students, the percentage of students who receive Pell Grants and the average monthly income
percentage spent on federal loan repayments after college," according to a news release.
To simplify the process, the tool asks students if they are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches at their school. If students answer
yes, Pell Abacus makes a series of assumptions that can be paired with other personal information to skip additional questions about finances
while providing similar results to those available by visiting specific college Web sites.
The tool is also designed to be mobile friendly, as many students from low-income families primarily access the Internet through phones.
"By making this process simple to navigate without tax forms and accessible on mobile phones, we're removing some of the key barriers
preventing low-income students from exploring their full range of college options," said Abigail Seldin, co-founder of College Abacus and vice
president of Innovation & Product Management at ECMC Group, in a prepared statement. "Our goal with Pell Abacus is to not only streamline
the college search process for underserved students, but to empower them by providing meaningful context around the most important financial
factors impacting college choice, from personalized net prices to school-specific loan repayment information."
Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].