If you’re going to college or even thinking about it, make the National College Finance Center website your first stop.

The National College Finance Center is a free, first-stop, unbiased resource to help educate students, prospective students and families all across the country on how to evaluate their options for financing a college education. 

Glee actress Jane Lynch today unveiled the National College Finance Center website (collegefinancecenter.org) at a news conference in New York City.

When asked about her involvement in this project Ms. Lynch explained: “I have several people in my own family, graduating nieces and nephews, both in school or just out of school, and they all have a mountain of debt. In fact, one of them is now dealing with the collection calls because they are unable to pay off their student loan. They didn’t read the fine print. I’m doing this because I don’t want other kids to be saddled with that kind of debt.” 

“As a professional working with college students for the last two decades, not to mention a former student borrower myself, it could not be clearer to me: students, parents, prospective students, graduates — anyone dealing with cost of a college education — all need a trustworthy place to receive free, clear, unbiased information about their options. If you’re going to college or even thinking about it, make collegefinancecenter.org your first stop.  No one there is trying to sell you anything, the site will simply help you to seek free money first, borrow wisely and only if essential, and cope with repaying your student loans” adds Rebecca J. Weber, Executive Director, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). 

The main principles of the National College Finance Center website are: 

  • To provide the best resources and ideas for a higher education finance plan
  • To take maximum advantage of available grant and scholarship options
  • To minimize debt accrued in acquiring a college education
  • To understand that all student loans are not created equal
  • To understand important repayment strategies that will save money and stress 

The interactive, not-for-profit website provides comprehensive, state-specific information about obtaining scholarships and grants and provides guidance on the daunting variety of student loan options available today. Additionally, those who have already accrued student loan debt will receive customized information about the most effective options to pay that debt down. 

To help further exemplify the goals of the new National College Finance Center website, Lynch led students, parents, visitors and media through a fully realized and interactive telling of the Don’t Major in Debt campaign story with the Don’t Major in Debt Student House — inspired by the new trend in immersive theatre and to a large degree by the theatre phenomenon Sleep No More. In fact, the installation was produced by members of the creative and production team involved in that very show.

The drama of student life and college debt unfolded as visitors were led from room to room by following clues, watching videos, and witnessing and participating in true-to-life scenes. The arc of this immersive experience led participants from the clutter and confusion of paying for college to the knowledge and clarity offered by the website. Every moment of the experience was crafted to excite, entertain and educate. After a heightened theatrical experience, transitioning from confusion to clarity, disorder to order, daunting debt to a healthy financial future, students and their parents emerged equipped with an understanding of the website and its mission. 

This launch event was the culmination of the New York Public Interest Research Group’s (NYPIRG) ongoing grassroots awareness campaign entitled Don’t Major in Debt that has, over the past several months, established a presence on Facebook, Twitter and college campuses, with users sharing their personal college finance stories. 

The new College Finance Center website was developed and implemented by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC). The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), in collaboration with boutique media agency The Field (Social), directed a dynamic national public service announcement campaign to promote this valuable new resource.

NYPIRG is New York State’s largest student-directed research and advocacy organization, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit group established to empower, train and educate students and community members through organizing and advocacy efforts in order to solve significant problems affecting residents in New York State and across the country. As a vigilant government watchdog, NYPIRG’s principal areas of concern include, among others, consumer rights, accessible, affordable and quality higher education, and voter registration with a particular emphasis on typically under-represented communities. NYPIRG’s 20 college campus chapters provide much of our energy, resources and activism. Students at NYPIRG chapters work on projects based upon NYPIRG’s community-based, statewide and national agendas.