Berkshire Community College (BCC) has teamed up with SALTTM, a financial education resource created by the nonprofit American Student Assistance® (ASA), to empower students and recent graduates to take control of their finances on a practical, day-to-day level.
SALT is a dynamic multichannel educational program that teaches students and alumni how to build money skills for life such as budgeting, choosing a bank, developing and maintaining good credit, and choosing wisely among loan options.
"We've partnered with SALT to ensure our students and alumni have support every step of the way as they navigate paying for college and repaying student loans," said BCC's Director of Financial Aid Anne Moore.
The program combines online and offline interactions to deliver decision support, engaging content, and one-on-one loan repayment guidance in a simple, useful, and motivating experience. SALT's web based financial literacy
programming is available to all BCC students including those who choose not to borrow. To participate, BCC students and alumni must follow a simple registration process at www.saltmoney.org.
Although community colleges are the best value in higher education, two-thirds of BCC students need financial aid including student loans. "When managed properly, student debt is a wise investment in the future and the
foundation for building good credit," said Moore. "Students run into trouble when they don't have the proper information or skills to make financial decisions in their best interest."
BCC joins a growing number of higher education institutions nationwide-from four-year private institutions to public institutions and community colleges-that have already signed on with SALT. SALT schools' students and alumni automatically become members and gain full access to the program's services.
While a college degree has never been more valuable than in today's global economy, student debt is a trillion dollar issue that is slowing our nation's economic recovery. Approximately 12 million students borrow for college each year, but many borrow more than they need, choose loans that don't offer the best consumer protections, or fail to take advantage of the many available programs to make repayment more manageable. As a result, as much as 30 percent of the nation's 37 million student loan borrowers are delinquent on payment 90 days or more-unable to buy homes, cars, or any other consumer purchases typically associated with starting out in life.
As a public purpose nonprofit organization, ASA is committed to offering full SALT services free of charge to students and alumni whose higher education institutions participate in the program. In order to do so, ASA has established a contribution-based model whereby multiple stakeholders interested in student success-including federal or state government, colleges and universities, foundations or other nonprofit organizations, and corporate sponsors-all contribute to the overall cost of delivering the service.
"We recognize that loans are a reality for some of our students," said Moore. "We want to alleviate their burden by ensuring they have the proper support network to face the debt head-on, make wise decisions, and take
advantage of existing remedies."
SALT recently launched its "Face the Red" campaign (FaceTheRed.com) to raise awareness of both the problem of student debt and existing solutions to help student borrowers take control of their finances.
For more details about BCC's partnership with SALT as well as available resources to current students and alumni, contact Anne Moore at 413-236-1644. For more information about SALT, visit www.saltmoney.org.