The U.S. Bank Foundation has granted North Idaho College $5,000 for a financial literacy and loan counseling program for students.
The grant will provide funding for the NIC Financial Aid Office to purchase SALT, a financial literacy and debt management program that helps students and alumni gain financial skills and success for a lifetime.
Community colleges experience a higher rate of student loan default than the national average of public four-year institutions and universities because the majority of community colleges have open enrollment or open access policies that allow anyone to enroll in college. Additionally, a majority of the students are low-income, first-generation (first in their family to attend college), and non-traditional students who are returning to school while struggling financially to care for their families.
Still, NIC Financial Aid Director Joe Bekken said that college officials recognize that the student loan default rate is too high. NIC’s goal is to reduce loan default through financial literacy education and student loan repayment counseling. NIC plans to implement the SALT program in the fall of 2013.
SALT was created by American Student Assistance (ASA), a national nonprofit organization for over 50 years. More information on the SALT program can be found at http://www.saltmoney.org/.
U.S. Bank Regional President Rick Murray (second to right) presented the $5,000 check to help combat student debt to NIC representatives recently. Pictured, from left, are NIC Financial Aid Director Joe Bekken, NIC President Joe Dunlap, ASNIC student government Senator Israel Musonda, Murray, and NIC Foundation President John Young.