By Samantha Simon
Students and recent graduates now have all the benefits and free access to a new program called SALT.
SALT is a money management education resource that helps students reach their financial and educational goals.
American Student Assistance (ASA), a non-profit organization, created the program to help students reach their financial goals while working for a diploma. Students can access online and offline support to figure out the best ways to borrow less, take out the right type of loans and learn life financial skills.
When users log onto saltmoney.org, they can access a personal dashboard where they can review all their federal and private loans in one area.
SALT teaches students and alums the basic financial fundamentals including income, expenses and savings. Students can review SALT’s tips on paying for next semester, repaying student loan debt, paying bills and making a large purchase right after signing up for an account.
Another benefit SALT offers is career advice and guidance. After enrolling in the program, you can access SALT’s database with over 50,000 jobs and internship opportunities from more than 23,000 employers.
Along with those benefits, there is also a continuously updated list of more than 2 million scholarships worth $15 billion.
According to SALTmoney.org, SALT manages a portfolio of 1.4 million college student borrowers, and is proud to say that 94 percent of these loans are in good standing. For four years in a row SALT has beaten the national cohort default rate by 54 percent.
Director of Financial Aid Kevin Paskvan said the university felt the need to partner with a company like SALT because of the national increase in student loan borrowing.
According to a U.S News & World Report, students suffer from a lack of financial literacy that leaves them unable to navigate the complex maze of financial aid applications and loan options, further adding to their money troubles even after they leave school.
The report also said national student loan debt now tops $1.1 trillion, with the average student accruing more than $26,000 in debt upon graduating.
In some instances, this debt occurs from students simply not understanding the loan process, and not being educated in personal finance.
Paskvan said that having access to SALT could assist students with their personal finance goals and with managing their overall loan debt. The program includes important financial literacy to help students become more aware of what they are getting into, and how to manage everything.
Paskvan came to the university in July, and at that time the decision to implement SALT had already been made. Paskvan said he has been responsible for getting the service up and running.
According to Paskvan, since the program just recently went live it is hard to tell how many students have actually enrolled.
Paskvan said the university had not participated in a program like SALT in the past, and that its yearly membership is approximately $5,000.
“I really do feel this is a great benefit for our students and families. Anyone can sign up free of charge to use SALT,” he said. “There is a lot of great information on the site, and I would encourage everyone to use it.”