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College Abacus Unveils College Search Tool for Low-Income Students

College Abacus has released a new tool, Pell Abacus, designed to help simplify 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."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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