College Money Matters Educates
the Next Generation of Borrowers
As federal student debt climbs with a record 43.4 million borrowers, College Money Matters, Inc., a local nonprofit serving college-bound high school students, offers free, valuable information on paying for college without amassing punishing levels of loan debt. College Money Matters has launched an interactive, independent, ad-free website, https://collegemoneymatters.org , designed to provide, clear, engaging, and unbiased information about how to finance a college degree without incurring more debt than students and families can handle.
This site was developed after years of research with high school students and their counselors to help them navigate college financial planning in the ways today’s young people best absorb information. The site uses short articles and posts, games, engaging graphics and videos, downloadable content and a specially selected list of other useful websites and resources.
Student loan debt has become a hot topic in the political arena, as this overwhelming and unprecedented debt continues to crush families’ finances. As student loan debt topped $1.74 trillion dollars in 2022, even more than credit card debt, consider the following statistics, according to Education Data Initiative ( https://educationdata.org/student-loan-debt-statistics):
College Money Matters, a 501 ( c ) 3 corporation, was created in 2018 by Nancy Goodman, a former Citibank Vice President, and a group of engaged volunteers including school counselors; finance specialists; systems designers and strategic marketing consultants. Their goal is to ensure that high school students have the information they need to make good financial decisions about attending college.
Four years ago, Goodman was mentoring a first-generation college-bound student, who was about to borrow $35,000 a year to attend a small private college in Connecticut. Goodman reviewed the realities of the tuition and living expense numbers and compared that with her potential post-college salary, expenses, and college loan payments. When confronted with this information, the student walked away from the only college she had been accepted to and decided to attend community college for a year and think differently about her financial future.
When young people have full, understandable information, and some real numbers, they can make smarter decisions about their futures. The lack of understanding of the highly complex student loan system, as well as the timing of the college application process (i.e. applicants don’t get a second chance to apply if the schools that accept them are too expensive) have been major causes of today’s student loan ‘crisis.’ Another lesser-known issue is that 60 percent of students take longer than four years to graduate so they spend more money than necessary to get a degree; or they attend community college without taking courses that can transfer to four-year colleges.
Six things every student should do to minimize college debt:
1. Make sure you have a financial safety school as one of the schools you apply to
2. Make sure you fill out FAFSA and don’t ignore requests for more information, so that you can have the best chance of financial aid and low-cost government loans
3. Graduate in 4 years: make sure you take enough credits and the right ones
4. Attend a school where you can do the work and not have to re-take courses
5. Plan ahead and make sure you know the full costs of attending for all four years
6. Do the math and calculate what your loans will cost you over a ten-year payback period
Collegemoneymatters.org does not take advertisements or sell user information. They are unaffiliated and are not selling any products or services. They rely on contributions and grants so that they are not beholden to private lenders, universities or other interested parties.