Monday, September 21, 2015

The Valuable Default Prevention Resource You May Have Forgotten

Submitted by: Angela Henry, USA Funds Account Executive

If you’re following the best practice of involving many areas of the campus in your default prevention efforts, did you remember to include students in that mix?

If you’re not enlisting the help of your students, you’re missing a valuable resource for driving home messages about debt management, financial literacy and student success.

When working to communicate with students about the importance of completing their education and repaying their student loans, it’s important to call on current and former students to provide input and help spread the word. After all, students relate to their fellow students — and often their insight and assistance is more impactful than anything a faculty or staff member can do or say.

Here are a few ways to include students in your default prevention efforts:

Peer mentoring
I’m a big believer in peer mentoring, which has been successful at a number of schools. Your students most likely are going to discuss money matters with their peers on campus anyway, so why not make sure they’re hearing from peers through a formal mentoring program that offers guidance based on accurate, relevant information?

Entrance and exit counseling
Student testimonials make a strong statement, so include in loan counseling current and recent students who can speak to the lessons they learned about borrowing for college. These current and former students can provide valuable information about how to successfully manage debt, based on their own money management successes and failures.

Financial literacy presentations
Train a group of students to be financial literacy presenters. Whether in classes or at special events, these students can follow a prescribed set of lessons that provide helpful information about financial literacy and succeeding in higher education.

Planning and communicating
Include students on an advisory board for financial aid activities, to gather input about the most effective ways to assist students in paying for their education and repaying their loans. Students also should play a major role in efforts to get out the word about your default prevention activities and events.

Where to begin
If you need help finding current and former students to help with your default prevention activities, student government, professors, student-employees and alumni relations staff at your institution are all great resources.

If you’re looking for information and assistance with your default prevention planning, www.usafunds.org offers a variety of tools and solutions.


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