BERKELEY, Calif., Dec. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Moneythink, a national ed-tech nonprofit, is bringing Silicon Valley technology into the world of college finances with its new college affordability tool, DecidED. The first of its kind, DecidED is a publicly-accessible, easy-to-use, free webapp that empowers and equips students and their families to make holistic enrollment decisions.
Full and accurate college cost information is difficult to obtain, challenging to interpret, and hard to compare, leaving millions of students and parents confused and in the dark about their options. As a result, lower income and first generation students are disproportionately impacted with too few ways to forecast, prepare, and sustainably afford a college degree. The lack of clear, accessible financial information and support are contributing to high college dropout rates and an ever-growing $1.7 trillion national student debt amount. DecidED is designed to meet this problem at the scale and urgency at which it exists.
"Moneythink's goal has always been to help students navigate the complicated process of applying to and completing college in a financially responsible way. With DecidED, we're scaling that up by placing financial decision-making and ownership in students' hands as highly informed education consumers," said Joshua Lachs, Moneythink CEO. "Especially in light of COVID and the parallel racial and economic inequities, this tool brings cost transparency and clarity to students and their families in accessible, tailored ways, so they have affordable, supportive, high quality educational options at their fingertips. Today, we're equipping students to make smarter investments in their futures. While we're directly empowering students, our parallel aim is that DecidED will help force higher education to reimagine its design with students at the center, to compete on quality and price, and to prioritize opportunity and affordability for all."
Users can access DecidED through any web browser on their mobile phone, tablet, or desktop without the need to download additional software. Students submit a picture of their award to the app and quickly receive a simple, accurate and easy-to-understand explanation of their financial aid options along with critical fit factors like graduation rates, learning environment, and projected starting salaries. Students and their families are empowered to make confident, holistic enrollment decisions using the most essential information aligned with their individual goals and financial circumstances - all the while equipping themselves with long-term financial wellness habits. DecidED uses optical character recognition (OCR) and machine learning - the same technology used for mobile check deposit - to convert puzzling financial information into clean, structured data. The Moneythink team is the first to seriously invest in OCR for financial award letters and is committed to protecting student data while offering them tools to succeed.
About Moneythink: Moneythink is a national leader in youth-centered financial education nonprofit and the team behind DecidED. Through its human-designed centered product tools, Moneythink ensures that all students, especially those from traditionally under-served communities, are able to minimize financial complexity and risk while maximizing potential. Since 2008, Moneythink has served over 32,000 students across the country in its financial mentorship and virtual coaching programs.