SUNY UNVEILS SYSTEMWIDE "SMART TRACK" FINANCIAL AID WEB SITE

4/11/2014

Exclusive Online Tools Help Students and Families Prepare for the Costs of College

ALBANY (N.Y.) -- As highlighted at the White House Summit on Increasing College Opportunity, State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today announced the launch of the SUNY Smart Track™ financial literacy website, which includes an exclusive new set of tools to assist SUNY students with planning for the costs of college and making informed decisions about which of the system’s 64 campuses may be right for them.

SUNY Smart Track™ is a key component of SUNY’s access, completion, and success agenda, serving not only to make the costs of college more transparent and affordable, but to ensure that students have the knowledge, resources, and guidance they need to complete their degrees on time and with less loan debt.

“SUNY Smart Track™ is the nation’s most comprehensive campaign to promote and ensure financial literacy among students,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “This new website makes available every useful means of measuring, comparing, and planning for the costs of college, and we are proud to bring this toolkit online for our students, especially now, while acceptance letters are arriving in the mail and students are deciding which of our colleges to attend.”

The interactive financial aid literacy tools at the site were developed to support and assist students through every financial phase of attending college, from choosing the college that is right for them and deciding about how much to borrow, to creating a budget, applying for aid, working through college, and avoiding credit card scams and identity theft. Additionally, financial management articles and background materials are posted to keep students informed throughout their enrollment at SUNY, and beyond.

The specific tools implemented were researched and selected by a SUNY task force comprised of enrollment and admissions staff as well as financial aid and business officers, faculty, and student representatives from across the system’s 64 campuses.

“The financial literacy website was designed to assist prospective, current, and former SUNY students with every financial aspect of earning their degree,” said SUNY Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Financial Aid Patti Thompson. “There is a great deal of information about the costs of college available to students today, and with this site as well as the standard Financial Aid Award Letter now used by every campus, SUNY is the first system nationally to have created such a seamless, transparent, and easy-to-use support system for all students as they navigate those costs.”

"SUNY has always prioritized keeping college accessible under Chancellor Zimpher's leadership, and the launch of the Smart Track™ financial literacy tools is yet another way our students can be empowered to finish on time, without breaking the bank," said Tremayne T. Price, student trustee and president of the SUNY Student Assembly. "Tuition at SUNY campuses is amongst the lowest in the nation, and now with these tools in-hand, our students can better focus on learning, knowing they are well informed of how to tackle the fiscal hardships many of us face in these difficult times. I applaud the University for consistently addressing college affordability."

About SUNY Smart Track™

The SUNY Smart Track™ campaign was first announced in September 2012 to address a growing national concern about the lack of transparency as it relates to college costs and financial aid, and the amount of loan debt accumulated by college students.

As part of the campaign, SUNY campuses have adopted a standardized Financial Aid Award Letter to give students a clearer and more complete picture of the costs associated with their attendance at each SUNY campus, allowing them to easily compare those costs among campuses within SUNY.

Once student borrowers are enrolled, campus staff stay engaged with them directly to provide counseling or assist with other activities that contribute to the student’s successful completion of a degree and their ability to pay off their loan. 

Since its initial launch, SUNY Smart Track™ has grown to be the nation’s most aggressive and comprehensive push to ensure financial aid transparency among students. 

About the State University of New York

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating nearly 463,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs, and more than 1.8 million NYS citizens in professional development and personal enrichment programs, on 64 college and university campuses. There are nearly 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu


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Mike Albright
Director of Communications
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Middletown, NY 10940
845-341-4728
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