Student loan debt consumes the lives of millions of individuals across the U.S., so much so that 56 percent of millennials hold off experiencing major life events such as buying a house or a car due to an inability to pay for much else other than those loans, according to a 2015 report from Bankrate.
In an effort to educate students on the student loan process and how to handle debt, Student Government has teamed up with the Office of Financial Aid to push FGCU students to responsibly deal with their debt as well as provide borrowers with a variety of resources.
“SG will primarily be working with the Financial Aid Office as they have already started this campaign and have put initiatives in place to provide resources for students,” student body president Thieldens Elneus said. “I have met with the university provost and administration to explore ways all departments can assist and bring awareness to students.”
SG will be relaying information to students about the paying-back process through various platforms, such as through social media and tabling around campus. It will also be working with Iontuition, an online program that helps users handle their money more responsibly by creating a repayment strategy, matching students with the best possible school for them based on major, projected income and graduation rate.
“Student Government’s role is assistance in the getting information out to students in order to make them aware and get them engaged with programs such as Iontuition, which is a resource that gives students all the tools and information regarding their loans,” Elneus said. “Through our social media and our tabling events, we will have information to give out.”
There are two types of student loans, direct subsidized and direct unsubsidized. Subsidized loans entails the U.S. Department of Education paying interest for your loan at least half the time while you’re in school and during a six month grace period after you graduate. Unsubsidized are available for students who don’t demonstrate financial need and requires borrowers to pay interest during all periods.
According to the Financial Aid and Scholarship page on the FGCU website, the school applies loan funds to the student’s account to pay for room and board, tuition and related fees first. If any additional money is left over, it will be returned to the borrower.
“The end goal is to ensure that our campus is aware of their student loans and resources that are here to assist them in taking the necessary steps to get ahead and keep FGCU’s default loan rate at or below four percent where it currently is,” Elneus said.