Over recent years college debt has increased at a growing rate with the Federal Reserve currently reporting the average amount of college debt to be $32,731. Of those who owe education debt, 10.3% are reported to be behind on their payments. The level of debt and negative impact to credit for those who default is a major burden to student’s financial security after graduation and their piece of mind.
Ohio Christian University, as a Christian institution, has a goal not only of education but also to instill principles of biblical stewardship into our students. Additionally, the university wants to ensure students are able to pursue their callings after graduation without financial restriction. To advance these goals, Ohio Christian recently partnered with Ardeo Education Solutions to offer the Payback Promise Loan Repayment Assistance Program to all incoming traditional undergraduate students.
“When we are dealing with our type of student,” said Vice President of Enrollment Kevin Jones, “a lot of ministry and education majors, there is a fear that the job they feel called for isn’t going to provide enough for them to pay back their loan. So, this is a way for us to guarantee it.”
Payback Promise program acts as a safety net that helps students repay federal, private, and Parent PLUS loans if they make under $45,000 after graduating from Ohio Christian. The level of assistance received is determined on a sliding scale, with graduates who make under $20,000 eligible for full reimbursement. The Payback Promise reimburses graduates quarterly for payments they have made towards their loan as long as they are working full time.
“Students need to realize that they still need to repay their loans,” said Director of Financial Aid Allison Browning. “it’s not just a free-for-all that we are going to pay back all of your loans with the Payback Promise.”
Both Jones and Browning said they believe the program will improve loan repayment rates because while it doesn’t take away the responsibility to pay, it does ease concerns about balancing their dream job with managing loan payments and living expenses.
“I think students won’t be as intimidated about the repayment process if they know that there is help available,” Browning said.
The Payback Promise program covers students in any major and sets Ohio Christian apart from other universities in its commitment to support students even after graduation.
“We’re the only school in Ohio that does this for all our [traditional] students coming in,” Jones said. “It’s something that is completely free for the student. It’s not free for us but we think it’s a good investment.”
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