Comprehensive nonprofit program teaches money skills for life
Niagara University has teamed up with SALT, a financial education resource created by the nonprofit American Student Assistance. SALT, available online at saltmoney.org, is a dynamic multichannel service that teaches students and alumni how to borrow less for college, borrow the right types of loans, make repayment stress-free, and build money knowledge for college and beyond.
Niagara University is the currently the only institution in the Buffalo-Niagara region to have partnered with SALT.
"We know that 99 percent of our students receive some form of financial aid and, as a university, we granted nearly $40 million in aid and scholarships last year," said Dr. Kevin Hearn, vice president for enrollment management and student affairs at Niagara University. "That being said, we understand that many students supplement their aid packages with student loans. Through the SALT program, we can work with students to ensure that they are making the best financial decisions while investing in their education."
A college degree has never been more valuable than in today's global economy. Approximately 12 million students borrow for college each year, but many borrow more than they need, or fail to take advantage of the many programs to make repayment more manageable. As many as one in three student loan borrowers are delinquent on payment 90 days or more, delaying the ability to buy homes, cars, or any other consumer purchases typically associated with starting out in life.
Niagara University is taking steps to address this higher education and economic crisis with SALT. The program combines online and offline personal interactions to deliver neutral decision support, engaging content and one-on-one loan repayment guidance in a simple, useful and motivating experience. SALT is meant to not only help students manage their student loans, but to help them develop a comprehensive understanding of personal finance.
Niagara joins a growing number of higher education institutions nationwide - from four-year private institutions to public institutions and community colleges - that have already signed on with SALT. Students and alumni at an affiliated SALT school automatically become members and gain full access to the program's easy-to-use tools and services.
As a public purpose nonprofit organization, ASA is committed to offering full SALT services free of charge to students and alumni whose higher education institutions participate in the program. In order to do so, ASA has established a contribution-based model whereby multiple stakeholders interested in student success - including federal or state government, colleges and universities, foundations or other nonprofit organizations, and corporate sponsors - all contribute to the overall cost of delivering the service.
"We recognize that loans are a reality for some of our students," Hearn said. "We want to alleviate their burden by ensuring they have the proper support network to face their debt head-on, make wiser decisions and take advantage of existing remedies."
To learn more about Niagara University, visit www.niagara.edu.