UCCS works to prevent large student loans by teaching financial literacy

COLORADO SPRINGS — A local university’s financial aid office is working to prevent large student loans by teaching students about financial literacy.

During the first few weeks of school at UCCS, financial aid counselors take classes with freshmen and freshmen. They give presentations on financial literacy and how to be a responsible borrower.

Nearly 10,000 UCCS students receive federal aid in the form of student loans and approximately 5,000 students receive aid in the form of private loans. UCCS students on average owe less than $25,000 in student loans, which is $12,000 more than the state average.

“The good news is that our students are borrowing wisely,” said Jevita Rogers. “Financial literacy is extremely important to us here…So our students are graduating with much lower debt loads than Colorado and nationally.”

Rogers is the senior executive director of student financial aid, employment, and scholarships at the University, and she credits some of the steps and actions they’ve taken to educate students about financial literacy.

“I think one of the things that UCCS has done very well is trying to constantly remind students to be an informed consumer and to borrow prudently. The slogan is follow your ABC, always borrow prudently,” Rogers said. “Federal student loans also have many advantages for students, the interest rates are much lower and there are also possibilities for cancellation of these loans.”

Part of the lesson is teaching students about debt, other ways to pay tuition, and save money. It is compulsory to learn for first-year and first-year students.

“It’s extremely important for us to get students to understand because they are aware of their debts,” Rogers said.

Sometimes student aid counselors are also asked to speak to classes with juniors and seniors, before graduation and major financial decisions are made. In addition, all new students also receive a financial literacy guide.

UCCS also offers non-mandatory courses on financial literacy. Additionally, there is also a federal mandate in place, where new borrowers at all schools are also required to do loan entry counseling.

Nate Lucci is a senior in college and he remembers his freshman year, which was the first year he took out a student loan, when a counselor came to his class.

“I feel like students really need to know that, especially at such a young age. They don’t know much about loans and all that stuff. the fact that UCCS was walking around and teaching kids about it was really awesome,” Lucci said.

For freshmen like Brianna Berry, these resources helped her borrow responsibly for her freshman year of college.

“I think having those resources and being able to understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into is really, really important for starting college,” Berry said.

Colorado College also offers student loan start-up resources and calculators on its website. Some of their financial literacy conversations target students who are the first in their families to attend college.
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Geraldine L. Melton