How much college debt is too much? What will college loan payments be upon graduation? Will I be able to afford a car or a mortgage and pay my college loans? After graduation, where can USM alumni receive financial advice?
All of us have heard the frightening stories about college graduates carrying over $100,000 in college debt and are unable to find jobs. At USM, help can be found through SALT, a program created by the non-profit organization American Student Assistance (ASA). The program went live during USM’s spring semester Welcome Week when students were able to register for free accounts with SALT at computer stations on all three of USM’s campuses.
Through participation in SALT, students learn how to budget and manage their finances. ASA will have access to each student’s loan data, so once registered, students will be able to seek answers and advice regarding budgeting, taking out new loans, or upon graduation, loan consolidation.
The Finance Authority of Maine is paying for USM’s participation in this pilot project. During Welcome Week, USM staff trained in the program encouraged students to enroll in SALT so they could participate in the interactive web financial education curriculum or even seek one-on-one repayment counselling with loan experts.
For more information about what SALT has to offer USM students, contact Dan Welter, USM coordinator of student activities at 780-5081 or firstname.lastname@example.org who was instrumental launching the program at USM. For more information, visit SALT and for more information about FAME, contact Mary Dyer at 800-228-3734 ext. 3556.
USM Director of Financial Aid Keith Dubois explains that SALT helps students develop a financial literacy than many don’t have when they began borrowing money for college. Learning the importance of saving, paying college loan interest while still attending school, and being responsible consumers all will help students decide how avoid accumulating too much debt.