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Program addresses college costs

By Victoria Advocate
Dec. 8, 2012 at 6:08 a.m.


Victoria College has teamed up with American Student Assistance on a movement to address the college affordability issue by revolutionizing how students finance and repay their higher education. Through a game-changing educational membership program called SALT, Victoria College and ASA are helping students learn how to navigate higher education financing, successfully manage any resulting debt and build money skills for life.

While a college degree has never been more valuable than in today's global economy, many students and families are unsure of how to successfully pay for higher education. About 12 million students borrow for college each year, but many make uninformed decisions, either borrowing more than they need or failing to take advantage of loans that offer the lowest rates and flexible payment options.

A record one-in-five households now owe student loan debt, five million Americans are behind on their student loan payments and more than 13 percent of student borrowers default within the first three years. Struggling student loan borrowers delay purchasing homes, cars and other consumer goods, with dire consequences on the U.S. economy.

VC is taking steps to address this higher education and economic crisis with SALT, a dynamic, multichannel educational service that combines online and offline interactions to deliver decision support, engaging content and one-on-one loan repayment guidance in a simple and motivating experience.

SALT uses a variety of channels to meaningfully engage members and positively influence their behavior. Members receive:

proactive communication about student loan repayment options

one-on-one repayment counseling with student loan experts

a personalized online dashboard to track all their federal and private student loans in one place and compare payment options

a highly interactive web financial education curriculum and other educational content

multiple self-serve web tools and calculators to assist with budgeting

in-person group financial education training at their higher education institution

advocacy and assistance with resolving complex student loan related problems; and

meaningful benefits and incentives relevant to either the higher education experience or to the financial needs they face after completing college, such as assistance with job, internship and scholarship searches.

SALT is created by American Student Assistance, a 56-year-old nonprofit that empowers college students and alumni to successfully manage and repay their student loan debt. Previous ASA programs have demonstrated that students who are provided with proactive, customized and targeted communication are 50 percent less likely to fail in loan repayment.

VC joins a growing number of colleges and universities nationwide that have already signed on with the SALT movement.

Victoria College students and alumni automatically become SALT members and gain full access to SALT's services. Current VC students and alumni can visit SALTmoney.org/VictoriaCollege to sign up.

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