Financial Planners Are Making a Dent in Student Debt
In a world of rising tuition costs, the dream of graduating from college debt-free is unlikely for most students. But an innovative program at Iowa’s Grand View University aims to change that by giving students access to an unlikely ally: a financial planner.
The title of the position is “GV Completion Coach,” but the role is that of a traditional financial planner. The coach sits down with students to crunch numbers and find ways to keep debt at a minimum.
“I didn’t have as much of a financial cushion as my brother did so I thought I might have to take out some loans,” said Kendall Antle. “My parents were paying my tuition, but I needed to cover my room and board and other expenses,” Kendall Antle, a student at Grand View, told the Des Moines Register. “When we sat down with my coach, we figured out exactly what number I’d have to hit each year to pay my percentage so I wouldn’t have to take out loans.”
With his coach’s help and a commitment to working several jobs while attending school, Antle is set to graduate this spring with zero debt. That’s an amazing achievement, considering the Federal Reserve of New York reports .the average student loan debt hovers around $34,000.
The GV Complete program, which encompasses more than just coaches, was launched in 2014. It includes the following provisions: Predictable tuition, access to a completion coach (the school currently employs seven of them), and a financial plan that students put together with help from their coaches.
Overall, the plan seems to be working. The average student debt at the school fell from $38,160 for students graduating in 2014 to an anticipated $31,953 for seniors who will graduate in 2018.