Community Colleges Help Students Avoid Default

Career College Central summary:

  • Community colleges such as Clover Park Technical College (CPTC) are helping students avoid default through programs by urging them to take advantage of SALT, a third-party financial literacy program the college had just joined. Through SALT, students put loan payments on pause until they can find jobs.
  • CPTC signed on with the SALT program in September because it doesn’t have the resources to provide its own financial counseling to students and is concerned about rising default rates. The college’s two-year default rate for 2011 was 12.3 percent, up from 9.5 percent in 2010. The three-year default rate was 20.7 in 2011, the first year it was calculated.
  • SALT was developed by a nonprofit organization called American Student Assistance. More than 240 higher education institutions are using the program, including 94 community and technical colleges. (SALT is not an acronym; the name was chosen because salt was one of the world’s first currencies.)
  • SALT  is interactive, with online videos, apps and “money 101” courses to help with budgeting, as well as the basics on student loans. It provides immediate access to information in a variety of formats—such as downloadable PDFs, email or phone calls.
  • There is no charge to students who take advantage of SALT’s services, such as financial counseling and debt management. SALT can help them combine loan repayments from different services or change the repayment schedule but it can’t renegotiate interest rates.

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