3 COLLEGES THAT HELP YOU HANDLE STUDENT DEBT By Teddy Nykiel With collective U.S. student loan debt nearing $1.5 trillion, some colleges are testing innovative solutions to help reduce student borrowing. Using no-strings-attached student loan payoff-assistance programs, college loan alternatives and annual student debt letters, these three universities are doing their part to curb college debt.
University of Pittsburgh
The University of Pittsburgh is offering graduating seniors up to $5,000 in federal student loan relief with one request: They pay it forward. The school’s new program, Panthers Forward, will help recent graduates chip away at student debt and introduce them to alumni mentors to encourage professional development. Students have no obligation to repay the gift, but the university is encouraging recipients to make financial contributions to sustain the program. The university selected 150 class of 2019 seniors for the program’s inaugural year, including history major Cassidee Knott. “I like the fact that Pitt was able to acknowledge that student debt is so outrageous and work with students to help them make it less daunting,” says Knott, who estimates she has about $100,000 in student loans.
After graduation, the university will make loan payments directly to participants’ loan servicers.
Purdue University’s Back a Boiler income-share agreement program is an alternative to private student loans and parent PLUS loans. In an income-share agreement, or ISA, students get tuition funding in exchange for a fixed percentage of their future income for a set period of time. There’s a cap on the total amount they can pay back. 2017 Purdue graduate Andrew Hoyler received $16,000 through an ISA in his second year of school. Now, 5.89% of the monthly income he earns as a regional pilot goes toward repayment. Hoyler will make payments for 104 total months — about eight and a half years — or until he has paid back 2.5 times the initial amount, or $40,000.
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