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ERIC Number: ED522550
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 40
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Critical Choices: How Colleges Can Help Students and Families Make Better Decisions about Private Loans
Reed, Matthew
Project on Student Debt
Every year millions of students and families sit around their kitchen tables and grapple with how they are going to pay for college. All too often they approach what may be the most important financial decision of their lives armed with incomplete, confusing, or inaccurate information about their options. College financial aid offices have a unique opportunity--and responsibility--to help students and families make informed and careful decisions about both how, and how much, to borrow. This report attempts to shed light on ways that colleges can help students and their families avoid unnecessarily risky and costly debt. To learn about current college practices, the author and his colleagues interviewed financial aid administrators at 22 varied colleges around the country and examined financial aid award letters from several additional colleges. Currently, most private student lenders require colleges to confirm basic information about the student's enrollment and costs before the lender will issue a private loan. This "school certification" process gives colleges a powerful opportunity to help students make sound borrowing decisions. They focused primarily on college practices related to school certification, and in the process identified some additional notable practices. In short, they learned that a college's actions and involvement at crucial decision points in the borrowing process can have an enormous impact on whether students and their families make sound and informed choices about private student loans. Their findings clearly demonstrate that colleges of various types, sizes and locations have taken meaningful steps to provide prospective private student loan borrowers with timely information about their options, and that such efforts can help reduce unnecessarily risky borrowing. Appended are: (1) U.S. Department of Education "Self-Certification" Form; (2) Alternative Loan Processing Certification Form, Loyola University of New Orleans; (3) San Diego State University Alternative Loan Procedures; and (4) San Diego State University Alternative Loan Counseling. (Contains 62 footnotes.) [This paper was written with contributions from Lauren Asher, Seth Frotman, and Debbie Cochrane. Funding for this paper was provided by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.]
Project on Student Debt. Available from Institute for College Access & Success, 405 14th Street 11th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612. Tel: 5110-559-9509; Fax: 510-845-4112; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A