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Students Continue to Default on Loans

With the looming national debt and the large percentage of college students defaulting on student loans, debt management is a topic on everyone’s mind. Today, there are innovative students taking measures into their own hands to help their college peers become financially literate. Audrey Morin is a junior at the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF). While statistics show that a large proportion of students graduate from UMF with over $30,000 in student loan debt, as a junior she’s only at $12,000. By the time she graduates, her student loan debt will be $15,000. Even though her school loan debt will be half of many others, she was still overwhelmed by her overall financial picture. Student loans are so easy to get, and many students don’t stop to read the fine print and think about the financial consequences once they enter the real world.

200276897-001Luckily, Morin was able to turn to the the peer financial adviser for guidance under a new financial outreach program at UMF. The program, UMF Campaign for Financial Literacy, was created by students for students. With help from her financial peers, she now has a better understanding of her financial picture, what’s ahead and how to save money and pay on the loan interest while still in college.

The UMF Campaign for Financial Literacy was developed by a senior and intern in the financial aid office just last year. The goal is to provide student peers with personalized money management strategies for debt management. This peer-to-peer approach helps students learn how to minimize the amount of debt that they are accumulating while in college and make good financial decisions.

Strategies are also given on how to maximize the amount of money that they can save while in college along with how to prepare for the repayment of student loans after college. The program has been a huge success and was place on the popular Prezi website under the title “Budgeting as a College Student.” This program has had thousands of hits with many requests for language translations. Many have remarked that the program is holistic in its approach.

Presently, there are six interns promoting the program with campus workshops and one-on-one counseling. Plans are in motion to reach out to high school students to educate about debt management before they take out student loans.

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