Learn more about Online Counseling

Mapping Your Future's Online Counseling enables schools to enhance their default prevention plans and enhance financial aid processes by maintaining contact with students through enhanced counseling and data collection. Outreach with prospective and current students is increasingly important to make sure students receive the information they need to understand financial aid rights and responsibilities. Mapping Your Future offers many counseling types.

In addition to enabling schools and borrowers to meet federal loan counseling requirements conveniently (anytime, anywhere), Online Counseling also enhances the loan management education of the borrower by actively involving them in the counseling - making Online Counseling an important default prevention tool. Furthermore, it gives you the opportunity to spend more time with those students who need individual assistance.

Online Counseling meets all current U.S. Department of Education regulatory requirements, and the Direct Loan and Direct PLUS exit counseling sessions meet requirements under both the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and Direct Loan Program. However, there are a few items you need to address to fully comply with the counseling requirements:

  • Respond to students' questions (Mapping Your Future allows students to ask you a question during the session)
  • Provide students with the following information, which you can easily do on your customized page:
    • Direct Loan and Direct PLUS entrance:
      • A name and contact information for questions regarding rights and responsibilities and loan terms and conditions
      • The definition of half-time enrollment during regular terms and summer school (if applicable)
      • Information about the importance of contacting appropriate offices if withdrawing
    • Direct Loan and Direct PLUS exit:
      • Provide estimated repayment information (Mapping Your Future offers customization options to assist with this)
      • For Direct Loan Program borrowers, information on how to contact the party servicing the Direct Loans. General Direct Loan contact information is included in the counseling sessions.
  • Maintain counseling records for your borrowers according to record retention requirements
  • Forward students' Direct Loan and Direct PLUS exit counseling records to the guaranty agency and Direct Loan Program. Online Counseling allows you to meet this requirement easily:
    • Guaranty agencies provide a service, retrieving exit records for borrowers with loans in the FFELP. You still are responsible for ensuring the guaranty agencies do so on time.
    • You can easily export Direct Loan and Direct PLUS exit records for Direct Loan borrowers in the NSLDS Exit Counseling Submittal Template and then upload them to NSLDS. (As an alternative, you can print records and mail them to the Direct Loan Program.)

Learn more about using Online Counseling for the Direct Loan Program and about recent regulatory changes Mapping Your Future made to the counseling sessions.

See for yourself

If you want to view the counseling sessions from the borrower perspective, start a counseling session. Choose Texas as your state and then select the MYF Demo School. If you choose to complete the form for the demo school, donít enter any of your real data.

Review the counseling types

Mapping Your Future offers a variety of counseling sessions:

  • Direct Loan entrance
  • Direct Loan exit*
  • Spanish Direct Loan entrance
  • Spanish Direct Loan exit*
  • Perkins entrance
  • Perkins exit
  • Direct Loan and Perkins combined entrance
  • Direct Loan and Perkins combined exit*
  • Nursing entrance
  • Nursing exit
  • Health Professions entrance
  • Health Professions exit
  • Direct PLUS entrance
  • Direct PLUS exit*
  • Direct Loan and Direct PLUS combined entrance
  • Direct Loan and Direct PLUS combined exit*
  • TEACH Grant exit
  • Financial Literacy
  • Grace Period and Repayment
  • Loan Management
  • Non-Traditional Student
  • Private Loan

*Mapping Your Futureís Direct Loan and Direct PLUS exit counseling sessions meet requirements under both the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. Schools must provide additional information to fully comply with loan counseling requirements (see above).

Mapping Your Future also has a service for schools and others that want to create an online lesson, whether for institution, state, or private loans or any other subject matter appropriate for online learning. For a minimal fee, the customer can work with Mapping Your Future to provide a counseling or education program modeled after Online Counseling, including the security and record retrieval functions. If you're interested in Counseling and Online Education powered by Mapping Your Future, contact us.

Understand the steps for borrowers

  1. You instruct the borrower to complete counseling (you can link to the counseling type from your own site or provide the web address).
  2. The borrower visits Mapping Your Future and clicks on the "complete Online Counseling" link (or follows a link from your site). The borrower can go through this session anytime, anywhere - from home, from a computer lab, and even in another country.
  3. The borrower reads and follows the instructions, reads the counseling content, and correctly answers the questions.
  4. Once the borrower has completed all the questions correctly, he or she completes an online form to provide information to you. The borrower reviews the information submitted on the form, confirms that all is correct, and clicks the submit button.
  5. The borrower receives a confirmation number and a page summarizing the information submitted and the rights and responsibilities statement. The borrower should print this page or make a note of the confirmation number.

Learn about your notification options and record retrieval

You can elect to receive e-mail notification when borrowers complete counseling. You have several options for each counseling type in which you participate:

  • Individual--One e-mail sent per counseling session at the time the session is completed
  • Batch--One daily e-mail per counseling type, listing all borrowers who completed counseling during the prior business day
  • None--No messages sent to notify you when borrowers complete counseling. If you select none, you still can elect to receive a message on occasions when borrowers enter a question or comment on the counseling record.

The e-mail notification contains limited information, as e-mail is not secure. To retrieve counseling records so you can retain them per record retention requirements, you can login to a secure area on the Mapping Your Future site [the Financial Aid Office Access Area]. You have several options for retrieving data:

  • Retrieve paper counseling records
  • Export electronic counseling records (store them electronically and/or import them into your system)

Mapping Your Future also provides documentation on SchoolExpress, a program which enables you to retrieve data automatically. SchoolExpress does require involvement of your school’s technical staff for development and implementation.

Get to know your customization options

Schools using Mapping Your Future's Online Counseling have several free customization options:

  • Choose the questions borrowers must successfully answer when completing a counseling session
  • Expand counseling content to include an additional topic of financial literacy and money management tips
  • Add average indebtedness information for your school so students can understand their potential total debt picture
  • Determine whether borrowers must complete a budget during the counseling session
  • Add a customized page of information for borrowers to view when beginning their online counseling
  • Streamline the loan application steps into a seamless process for your students by using the end URL feature to direct students to the MPN after completing entrance counseling
  • Require borrowers to complete all fields on the student form (not just those fields that regulations require)

Get started now

To sign up, complete the school submission form. After you complete the form, the Mapping Your Future staff will contact you, usually the same or next business day for verification purposes and to provide training. The staff approves the submission, adding your school to the list of participants of Online Counseling. You can begin instructing borrowers to complete counseling immediately.
The Mapping Your Future staff sends an e-mail message to you, summarizing your participation and account information and providing helpful links (including the Online Counseling User's Guide and customer service).

Contact us

If you have any questions, please contact us, e-mail us directly at feedback@mappingyourfuture.org, or call a customer care staff member:

(573) 796-3730