Cap-and-gown? Diploma? How about the ideal exit counseling package?

Cap-and-gown? Diploma? How about the ideal exit counseling package?

By Rob Davenport, senior writer at TG’s HigherEDGE®

Semester end can turn into gridlock for students, especially graduating and departing ones who have federal student loans to repay. Taking finals, moving, and finding job prospects can overwhelm even the most organized student. What can you do to counterbalance these factors and send borrowers off ready to start repayment?

How about a small portfolio of repayment resources and information that students can take with them? After the graduation dust has settled, this supplement to exit counseling could serve as a guide to repayment and be as important, in its way, as a diploma. Here’s what that exit counseling takeaway might contain.

  • Lifelines, also known as contacts: Provide your students with the names and numbers of all the parties involved in managing their loans. Include your school’s financial aid office number along with the Web site and phone number for the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).
  • “What do I do now?” The manual: Life after college can bring on a bit of culture shock for former students. They may have to move across country, find new friends, and even make their own meals (if they ate dorm food). You can explain this transition process and offer advice on how to make the best of it, for example, by including cost-of-living information for various areas of the country.
  • Brochures aplenty: Individual pamphlets on repayment plans, deferment and forbearance, and the consequences of default can reinforce responsible repayment and offer students tips on how to take advantage of these borrower benefits. 
  • The mover’s postcard: Schools are required to gather contact information before a student leaves school; however, these addresses can be temporary. Offer your departing students blank postcards that they can fill in with their new addresses once settled and mail back to your office. 
  • Career DIY materials: Do-it-yourself is the name of the game for job-hunters, who have to create and shape their careers. Sharpen your students’ career-building skills by offering materials on crafting a resume, drafting cover letters, interviewing, and following up on a job offer.
  • Budget helper: Many lenders and servicers offer online budgeting worksheets to help students estimate expenses in and out of school. Provide a hardcopy of the same thing, preferably with a link to an online version noted on the page.
  • E-Z money management: Managing credit and expenses are skills students may already have a handle on. However, you can emphasize effective money management with a short booklet that reviews concepts and features tips on putting these ideas into practice.
  • Online connections: Compile and supply a list of useful Web sites for the student borrower, job-hunter, and mover. The Occupational Outlook Handbook, produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is available online and offers just one example of the many career resources available to departing students at the click of a mouse.

More counseling inspiration

Need more ideas on what to provide your departing students? Consider grace counseling outreach which many service providers offer as part of a comprehensive default management package. 


This article supported by TG HigherEDGE

Rob Davenport has more than 10 years experience writing on higher education issues, including default management, financial literacy, and college outreach. As a writer for TG’s HigherEDGE Default Management Solutions, he focuses on how schools can build an effective default management program. In particular, he provides advice on enlisting campus support for the default prevention cause, educating students in debt management, and connecting borrowers with the right resources throughout repayment. Rob also works closely with other HigherEDGE staff. HigherEDGE offers a comprehensive default management service designed to help schools take control of default. Among other things, HigherEDGE provides schools with campus consulting, counseling for borrowers as they enter repayment, and outreach to borrowers with delinquent loans. You can contact Rob at (800) 252-9743, ext. 4846, or by email at robert.davenport@tgslc.org.

 

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