The student loan is a very common element in the typical college experience. They provide students with the means to pay for the cost of attending college and the associated goods and services needed to earn a degree. That financial help simply needs to be paid back upon completion, and there is often a good amount to pay back for the majority of students.
According to the Federal Reserve, Americans owe over $1.48 trillion in student loan debt across roughly 44 million borrowers. Although the data is somewhat dated, in 2012, 71 percent of students of students graduating from four-year colleges had student loan debt, with 66 percent of graduates from public colleges leaving with loans at an average debt of $25,550. Currently, 3.6 million borrowers’ loans are in deferment and a total of 4.3 million borrowers have defaulted on their loans.
Although the cost of attendance at a SUNY school is among the lowest in the country, student loans are still a common method to cover student expenses. Leaders throughout SUNY know that students need to be educated about their loan experience so as to not be taken by surprise after successfully earning a college degree.
To help our students avoid any detrimental post-loan circumstances, SUNY has partnered with Inceptia, a nonprofit organization committed to offering effective and easy-to-understand solutions in financial aid management, default prevention, and financial education, to provide resources that will help our students be better informed about their student loan summaries. The SUNY Financial Literacy Tools provide a wide variety of resources that cover personal financial literacy, from budgeting, responsible credit card use and avoiding identify theft to the basics of banking, borrowing and working through college.
With these tools made available, our students will have the ability to be financially educated and empowered to take control of paying back their loans and making themselves financially stable without any surprises or hiccups in the process.
Loan Summary, which is a new program provided by Inceptia to help students keep track of their loans, provides students with their individual borrowing habits and history, including aggregate amounts and their estimated monthly payment. The program is accessible through an online portal, Student Loan Knowledge HQ, which includes features such as loan repayment tips, individualized loan payment plans, and a tool to calculate anticipated post-graduation income. Moreover, students will receive timely and strategic outreach communications through Inceptia, providing them with periodic reminders to use the tools and review their summaries, ultimately leading to making informed borrowing decisions.
The partnership with Inceptia adds yet another tool to Smart Track, SUNY’s comprehensive effort to assure financial aid transparency, further echoed by Inceptia’s president and CEO, Randy Heesacker:
“With the recent proposal from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, recommending that all New York colleges be required to provide students with borrower summaries, SUNY is ahead of the curve”, said Inceptia president and CEO Randy Heesacker. “We are proud to support SUNY in their pursuit of financially educating and empowering students. Helping them manage student loans responsibly throughout their higher education journey and beyond is a shared passion for both of our organizations.”
Resources provided through Smart Track cover many areas of personal finance beyond loans. Moreover, to help streamline certain facets of financial aid, all 64 of SUNY’s campuses use a standard financial aid award letter that outlines the cost of attendance and financial aid offerings, as well as campus-specific graduation, median borrowing, and loan default rates.
With early outreach and engagement, financial literacy tools like those brought to you by Smart Track and Inceptia help students and their families make the best decisions when it comes to college financing. Now that many students are nearing the end of their high school careers and preparing for college, it is as good a time as ever to begin learning about a secure financial future. The Financial Literacy Tools for high school students provides a large number of resources for these students and their families.
Whether it’s lending a hand during the application process or providing assistance after graduating, early outreach and engaging students about financial matters every step of the way is just another reason why SUNY is a smart investment.
Julie is a Communications Assistant at SUNY System Administration.