2018 news archives

ECMC awards $480,000 in college scholarships to 80 students in Oregon

August 15, 2018

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Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) is proud to recognize the 80 high school graduates from the class of 2018 who completed the ECMC Scholars Program. The students attended one of eight high schools in Oregon and earned up to $6,000 each in scholarships.

For the past two years, these students have participated in the rigorous two-year mentoring program designed to help them build social and study skills. Unlike a traditional academic scholarship, these students were selected to participate in the program based on their potential...not solely on their academic merit or test scores. Working in partnership with their school and the ECMC Scholars team, they've spent their junior and senior years actively preparing for college.

"ECMC created the Scholars Program to provide a pathway to postsecondary education for students who are motivated to continue their education beyond high school," said Paula Craw, ECMC vice president of student success and outreach. "By providing them with wraparound services in high school and support throughout college, we work to prepare students to reach their goals and achieve their dreams."

The scholarship funds can be used for enrollment in a degree or certificate program at an accredited college, university or career and technical education center. Students who earned the scholarships are planning to attend a variety of colleges in the fall, including Willamette University, University of Oregon, Eastern Oregon University and Mount Hood Community College.

"These students have shown great potential and drive throughout the program," said Sabrina Berg, ECMC Scholars Program manager. "I am proud of the progress they have made and am looking forward to supporting them throughout their educational journey."

Since 2008, ECMC has awarded $5 million to 837 ECMC Scholars students in Oregon alone. Over the past 13 years, ECMC has awarded $16.3 million in scholarships to 2,720 students in Virginia, Oregon and Connecticut. ECMC has committed to supporting an additional 440 students through the class of 2020 with the potential to award up to $2.64 million.

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Debt neutrality

The following article is from Collector Magazine

August 6, 2018

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Student loans are complicated and consumers have lots of questions about their debt. Here's how an on-staff ombudsman can help. ECMC's ombudsman Diane Zitur-Hagel is quoted.

Click here to view the article.

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Why your college financial aid letter may be misleading

The following article is from U.S. News and World Report

August 1, 2018

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After receiving a college acceptance offer, the next step for many families is understanding their financial aid award – a vital letter that often contains information on aid, such as grants and scholarships, and the cost of attendance.

But for many high school seniors and their parents, it can be difficult interpreting these letters. That's because colleges don't always make it clear how much a student or family is expected to pay.

While many financial aid letters focus on aid award amounts, some fail to include indirect costs for attending college.

"Colleges don't always provide the full picture when it comes to the cost of attendance – COA – on financial aid award letters," says Abril Hunt, an outreach manager at Educational Credit Management Corporation, a nonprofit focused on helping families pay for college. "Many schools include standard tuition and fees, but some leave out indirect expenses – things like room and board, textbooks, meals and transportation."

Financial aid is any form of funding that helps you pay for college, such as a Pell Grant or merit-based scholarship.

While the Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created a standardized form for financial aid offices called the Shopping Sheet, it's voluntary for colleges and universities to use. This standardized form is intended to make financial aid offers received from multiple schools easier for students to compare, but not all schools provide the Shopping Sheet; sometimes institutions only provide it to a certain group of students, such as veterans.

Last year, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa introduced the Understanding the True Cost of College Act of 2017 to provide greater transparency among financial aid letters. The act would require the Department of Education to develop a consumer-friendly financial aid offer form that institutions would be required to use.

"It's an important signal that students should have standardized information across different institutions types," says Colleen Campbell, associate director of postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress. The bill is still in the U.S. Senate, but higher education policy analysts don't expect it to be passed anytime soon.

Without standardization, financial aid letters are packed with technical jargon and abbreviations that even families with experience in financial matters can find confusing. Terms like "Unsub Loan" or "Fed Dir Unsub Loan" refer to the same thing – a direct federal unsubsidized loan.

For this reason, most award letters aren't useful for apples-to-apples comparisons, experts say. This makes it even harder for families to figure out which college they can afford.

In some instances, institutions even omit essential cost information.

A recent report by New America and uAspire analyzed 2016-2017 award letters from 515 colleges and universities and found that more than a third of institutions didn't include complete costs. Many letters didn't even include a bottom-line calculation; the study found more than half of the award letters didn't show what a student would pay.

For students and families who are trying to understand their college aid award letters, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Institutions often lump all types of aid together. Financial aid award letters often add all the aid together, mixing in grants, which don't need to be repaid, with loans. So it can be unclear to prospective students that they or their parents need to take out education loans to cover the cost of attendance.

"Be aware if student loans are listed, they might appear to reduce the total cost of attendance, but in reality, loans always need to be repaid with interest," Hunt says.

Rachel Fishman, one of the authors of the New America/uAspire report and deputy director for research with the education policy program at New America, says families should create a spreadsheet to scrutinize information from award letters. She recommends separating the different types of aid into different categories to understand a college's affordability.

Her instructions: "Make sure you're putting grants and scholarships into one category – essentially money that you won't have to pay back. The second thing: Remove the loans and understand those are the loans. Pull out work-study – work-study is a very different source of aid. And pull out parent PLUS loans because those are taken out by the parent, not the student."

Understand the pieces of a sample financial aid award letter and explore tips for minimizing college costs.

Following these steps should help families understand the amount that doesn't need to be repaid and how much needs to be earned or borrowed.

Parent PLUS loans aren't part of a financial aid calculation. Experts say these loans shouldn't be included in considering how far your financial aid goes since these loans are credit-based.

There's an application process for parent PLUS loans, so these dollars aren't guaranteed. Parent PLUS loans also carry a higher interest rate compared with some private education loans and don't have the same borrower protections as federal undergraduate direct loans, such as flexible repayment options.

"Sometimes the institution will package [financial aid awards] with federal and sometimes state and institutional aid, and then will add on a parent PLUS loan to close their unmet need gap and will make it look like the student owes nothing. So that can be misleading – it leads students to think that they don't have any costs and that they're going to college for free. In actuality, they do have significant costs," Campbell says.

In fact, the New America/uAspire report found that among the award letters from more than 500 institutions to Pell-grant eligible students, nearly 15 percent of letters included parent PLUS loans appearing as an award; Pell grants are federal dollars given to students from low-income households.

One example from the report, reproduced above, was a 2016-2017 award letter from the University of Arizona. Under the summary of costs and financial aid in the letter, parent PLUS loans were referred to as "credit-based aid offered" and included in the calculations, which made it appear as though there was no net cost after aid.

Work-study can't be used to cover your immediate costs. This type of aid works differently than grants – it's money that must be earned through work-study employment.

"The money is really great for covering some of those indirect costs like your books – especially for your second semester. You can't count on that money to pay your bill when it arrives in August. You're going to have to get that money through a paycheck," Fishman says.

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Financial survival guide for recent grads

The following article is from OppLoans

August 6, 2018

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How Can Recent Grads Avoid Credit Damage?

The diploma is on the wall. The graduation cap is stashed in the attic. Two months after walking, how's the class of 2018 doing?

For many, unfortunately, the transition from college life to the real world can be tough. In fact, a recent survey by OppU found that seven in ten recent grads had damaged their credit within two years of finishing school.

So how do young people entering adult life and all the responsibilities that come with it avoid the mishaps that tank the credit of so many of their peers?

We spoke to four financial experts and asked for their top tips. Here's their survival guide to navigate the financial pitfalls of early adulthood.

Money Management
Alayna Pehrson, BestCompany.Com

  1. Only purchase items you can afford. Many people see a credit card as a way to buy things they can't afford upfront. Unfortunately, this can result in exceeding your credit limit and having large bills you can't pay. Stick to using your credit card on things you CAN afford and you will lessen your risk of credit damage.
  2. Take advantage of apps and other online resources. Most college students are tech savvy already and thrive off of using apps. There are many apps and online sources you can use to keep track of when you have to pay your bills. Since paying your bills on time is incredibly important when it comes to your credit score, use what you can to keep track of payments.

Credit Cards
Brent Dunn, Wholesome Financial Partners Inc.

  • Make at least minimum payments. Set payments on auto-pay for ALL accounts.
  • Get a zero percent introductory APR if needed. Buy essentials with that and just pay minimum payments.
  • You DON'T need to carry a balance if you want good credit.
  • Pay credit cards in priority of APR while paying minimum payments for lower APR loans.
  • No debt is good debt. You have to pay it back. Use it with caution.

Student Loans
Abril Hunt, ECMC

  • Monitor your debt.
  • Monitor student loan debt throughout the college career so when you graduate you know what you owe. Informed students who know what their payments will be have an easier time keeping up with payments and planning for them.
  • Students can easily track their federal loans via the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS).
  • Pay your student loans on time.
  • Not paying your student loans will negatively affect your credit score. Make sure you choose a repayment plan where you'll be able to make your payments every month and still live comfortably.
  • There are now many more choices for loan repayment than in the past. Borrowers should consider their estimated income, other financial commitments, the length of time they will be repaying their loan, and the total amount of interest they will repay over the life of their loan.

Banking
Shawnee Huie, Cleared Renter

  1. See if your bank lets you use your savings for overdraft protection. Even in college I was approved for a $1k overdraft line just in case I ever went over my daily budget. Would rather spend a few dollars in interest than overdraft fees!
  2. Set up budgets and alerts in Mint.com. I use Mint.com to categorize my expenses and send me alerts when I'm over my usual spending, or the budget I set for each category. For example, it just told me this week I've spent way more on restaurants than usual, so I know to keep an eye on that the rest of the month now.

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Perkins Act Reauthorization will jumpstart CTE and help close America's Skills Gap

The following article is from LinkedIn

August 1, 2018

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President Trump signed into law the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, which reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act—the primary law governing federal funding for career and technical education in the United States—for the first time since 2006. The overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation will authorize more than $7.5 billion in federal grants to states for their CTE programs.

ECMC Group commends Congress and President Trump for acting to reauthorize the Perkins Act. Closing America's skills gap is a pressing issue for our nation's students, workers and businesses, and it is encouraging to see lawmakers from both sides of the aisle join hands to address this growing challenge.

This legislation is only the beginning. It will take a collective effort to build a pipeline from education to the workforce that prepares all Americans for well-paying jobs in the rapidly changing 21st century economy. Our sleeves are rolled up for continued work with our students and colleagues in higher education, business and government to tackle this challenge under the new Perkins framework.

ECMC Group is deeply committed to the key tenets of this refresh of the Perkins Act. Here's how we're applying our expertise across our organization to meet these objectives:

Flexibility

No two job markets are the same, therefore, each workforce development system must be tailored to solving the unique challenges in local areas. The Perkins Act allows states to develop their performance targets for CTE without having to negotiate with the Department of Education, a positive step toward encouraging experimentation and development of best practices.

The bill's bipartisan supporters say it will "encourage states, schools and local CTE providers to update education and job training to meet the needs of the local economies, ensuring students have the skills needed to remain competitive."

ECMC Group is equally committed to answering this call and helping local economies meet their workforce development needs. Take Atlanta, which has a demand for surgical technologists that outpaces the national average: the recently launched associate degree program in surgical technology at our Altierus Norcross campus goes directly to meeting this need. Each of our Altierus campuses collaborates with local employers and other partners to refine our programs and develop new offerings to fill local skills gaps.

Collaboration

Across the country, there has been a growing commitment to closing the skills gap in recent years. Major corporations have created new training programs and committed millions of dollars in grants, and politicians at the state and federal levels have found bipartisan agreement, reaching across the aisle to work together. In spite of this collective effort, the skills gap has not improved, in large part because programs are siloed across different federal departments and state agencies, and data on what works in one area is unable to be applied to another.

The new legislation does several things to enable better information sharing and accountability measurement across all levels of government and external stakeholders at the state and local level:

  • Requires state grantees to establish performance targets and gather data for specific groups of students; and
  • Creates greater alignment amongst federal programs like the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) by adopting "many of the core definitions and performance accountability measures from other pieces of federal education and workforce development legislation."

ECMC Group is deeply committed to breaking down these walls and aiding in data-sharing and accountability. We have begun to work with the state workforce boards in the locations where we have campuses and with numerous other stakeholders—including community organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters that help underserved populations seeking access to good jobs, governors' offices, businesses and learners—to drive improvements in CTE. We're hopeful this legislation will encourage more streamlined and effective collaboration to meet workforce needs.

Underserved Communities

Finally, the legislation sets aside specific funding to encourage underserved populations, including those from economically disadvantaged families and people with disabilities, to seek out CTE offerings and participate in those programs.

Through our work with ECMC Foundation, we share a commitment to reaching these communities and helping them achieve their goals in our focus areas of College Success and Career Readiness. Our Foundation grantees are making this vision a reality in communities across the country with funding that goes directly to proven, evidence-based initiatives.

For instance, a challenge grant supported by our Foundation is helping fund a partnership between three campuses to create and enhance summer bridge programs designed to support black male students' transitions onto their campuses. And the Foundation supports a California initiative to help the state's colleges and universities serve incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students.

We applaud Congress and the White House for their commitment to ensuring American workers succeed in the 21st century economy. We're excited to see additional federal funding being committed to this effort and are eager to see how increased educational equity can be brought to bear in CTE programs across the country.

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It's time for business to back a new skills training pact

The following article is from the Star Tribune

July 9, 2018

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Monthly jobs reports have drawn applause for impressive top-line numbers, but a troubling pattern persists in the U.S. labor market. Even as unemployment remains at its lowest point in nearly two decades and unfilled jobs are at record highs, wage growth continues to lag.

There is a strikingly simple reason the current job market feels precarious: the fundamental social contract between employers and employees is broken.

Pension benefits, the heart of the decades long precedent in which workers came to expect employers would invest in their retirement, have eroded in recent years. Wage growth has not kept up with productivity growth. As a result, workers now shoulder both the costs of training to develop and maintain employable skills and the costs of retirement. These burdens have resulted in high student loan debt and insufficient retirement savings.

Simultaneously, employers remain hamstrung because of a lack of skilled workers and a growing skills gap, raising questions about who is responsible, practically and financially, for helping workers keep their skills sharp.

Employers and workers have been at a standoff, with businesses hesitant to invest in career training for workers who they feared would take their new employer-financed skills to a better-paying job elsewhere and employees reluctant to take on debt to pay for career education that didn't guarantee access to better-paying jobs. Meanwhile, both employers and employees have suffered — and with them, so has the nation's economy. According to a study from Korn Ferry, the skills shortage could create 85.2 million unfilled jobs and cost nearly $8.5 trillion across 20 major global economies.

Building a more robust infrastructure for learning new skills and lifelong learning has never been more important. A new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that while 10 percent of U.S. jobs are at high risk of being wiped out by automation, another 28 percent will require worker retraining.

Now is the time to consider a new contract, one in which workers and businesses partner on education and skills training for their mutual benefit and higher education plays a more central role in helping to advance fulfilling, stable middle-class careers. Unlike the old contract, which focused on employers helping employees after they left the company or retired, a new contract should focus on business and workers sharing the responsibility — and the costs — of investing in lifelong learning.

At my organization, which works with businesses in many sectors, we are seeing growing willingness from employers to put skin in the game. Businesses are recognizing that closing the skills gap will require investments in their workers. Last year, total U.S. worker-training expenditures rose 32.5 percent to $90.6 billion, reflecting the serious dearth of skilled workers in industries ranging from nursing to manufacturing to software development.

Yet, a financial commitment is only the first step. Solving this problem requires innovative new models that break down the firewalls between the classroom and the office. Programs like apprenticeships and tuition reimbursement, which help workers "earn while they learn" and have been pioneered by leading corporations like Walmart, Starbucks and Siemens, should be part of the new contract.

We also must unlock the power of bringing educational and training curricula into companies in a robust way, to provide comprehensive, company-approved skills training to employees. At ECMC Group, we are investing in this model for its potential to transform the way in which our nation's workers attain and refresh the skills needed for the jobs of the present and the future.

Competitive global economy demands we view education holistically, as a lifelong process to ensure workers' skills are regularly updated.

Public expectations remain high: three-quarters of people agree that "a company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the community where it operates." It's time for the U.S. business community to establish a new training contract with employees and, with the help of educational partners, rise to meet the challenge of strengthening the workforce for today and tomorrow.

Jeremy J. Wheaton is president and chief executive of Minneapolis-based ECMC Group, a nonprofit that helps students succeed through programs promoting financial education, college access and college completion. He is also the president and CEO of Zenith Education Group, a nonprofit provider of career school training.

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ECMC Group employees build classroom kits for Junior Achievement

June 29, 2018

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On Wednesday, June 27, Minneapolis-based ECMC Group partnered with Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest to create specialized kits that will be used to teach financial literacy to students in grades K-5 in the Twin Cities area.

The following videos recap the event.


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College Nights Wrap-Up 2018

June 19, 2018

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ECMC College Nights events, held annually in the spring at 170 sites across California, Connecticut, Oregon, Tennessee, and Virginia were a fantastic success in 2018. In this, our 12th year, we reached over 17,000 high school students and their families where they were given essential information to help them plan and pay for college.

ECMC's focus is on reaching the highest-need students and families. College Nights are traditionally held at high schools where eligibility for free and reduced lunch is 50 percent or greater. In addition, we sponsor the events at a few community college sites in rural, high-need areas where it makes sense for the events to be centrally located.

We also have a desire to help students earlier in the college-going process. As a result, ECMC's College Nights were moved to the February 1 through April 30 timeframe and primarily targeted at high school juniors and their families. The evening's program complements the ECMC Opportunities workbooks, which are updated and published annually to help students and families prepare for college.

As the sponsor, ECMC provides each site with posters for marketing the event, event materials that include the presentation, welcome posters, evaluation forms, scholarship entry forms, pens, balloons, volunteer t-shirts, reimbursement for pizza and refreshments (up to $600 per site) and three $500 scholarships that are awarded through a random drawing at each event.

Attendees are asked to complete an evaluation of the evening. Here are just a few of the many positive comments received:

"There was plenty of information on costs, financial aid, and grants. It was overall an amazing informational meeting."
Student—Sierra Vista High School, Baldwin Park, CA

"It really met my expectations—it was very informative. Everything was explained very well, and I was able to understand what was said."
Student – Lenoir City High School, Lenoir City, TN

"The event entirely met my expectations in that I received a lot of useful college information. Couldn't ask for much more!"
Student – Nelson County High School, Lovingston, VA

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Kaleidoscope partners with ECMC and Zenith Education Group to disburse millions in scholarships

May 31, 2018

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Kaleidoscope today announced its partnership with Minneapolis-based affiliates Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) and Zenith Education Group (Zenith) to administer and host multiple scholarship programs on the Kaleidoscope scholarship marketplace.

ECMC works to lower student loan default rates; sponsors financial literacy programs; and provides resources to help student loan borrowers successfully repay their loans. Zenith is a nonprofit provider of career and technical education.

Through the Kaleidoscope platform, ECMC will administer three scholarship programs totaling nearly $13 million, each unique in providing support to more than 3,500 high-need students.

"At ECMC, our scholarships provide financial support as well as guidance," said Paula Craw, Vice President of ECMC Student Success and Outreach. "By partnering with Kaleidoscope, we are able to spend less time on administration and more time providing resources to help students realize their educational goals."

By using the Kaleidoscope platform, ECMC scholarship applicants will gain access to additional scholarships through the Kaleidoscope marketplace. ECMC plans to leverage this partnership to encourage their scholars to submit scholarship applications for additional funding.

"We provide enterprise capable toolsets for scholarship-sized budgets," said Greg Dehn, Founder and CEO, Kaleidoscope. "Our aim is to ensure that as many dollars go to students in need as possible, while also providing modern technology capabilities to meet students in the mediums they spend their time today…online."

ECMC staff also will have access to automated tools through Kaleidoscope that will help expand their reach to school counselors and students with college advice and additional scholarship opportunities.

"It is rare that one single scholarship will cover 100 percent of the costs associated with most post-secondary education," Dehn said. "Providing students with easy access to scholarships allows them to spend more time focused on their goals and applications, and less time searching for scholarships."

Kaleidoscope will also be facilitating Zenith's newly developed Pathfinder Scholarship program, which will be awarded to students attending its Altierus Career College campuses.

About Kaleidoscope
Kaleidoscope offers a cloud-based scholarship marketplace that connects scholarship funders with students. The company's marketplace harnesses industry know-how and cloud technology to provide scholarship funders a digital, white-labeled program that celebrates their brand. Kaleidoscope improves financial output and delivers outcomes while providing a friction-free "uncommon application" experience that student applicants love. For more information, please visit https://www.mykaleidoscope.com/

About Zenith Education Group
Zenith Education Group is a nonprofit provider of career school training offering affordable, quality education and training for occupations in demand. Through its Altierus Career Colleges across the country, Zenith offers diploma and degree programs in the healthcare, skilled trades and IT fields. For more information, go to www.zenith.org.

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ECMC Group was featured on Channel 5 News about the Best Prep eMentor.

April 27, 2018

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ECMC Group was featured on Channel 5 News during the 4:30pm and 6:30pm shows. Sabrina Berg, Senior Community Relations Specialist for ECMC Group, was interviewed at the Best Prep eMentor lunch and FAB Life Game simulation.

The following videos recap the event.


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The College Place-Woodbridge and The College Place-Richmond announce new directors

April 6, 2018

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TCPs provide free resources to help Virginia students plan for college

RICHMOND, Va. – April 5, 2018 – Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) announced today The College Place-Woodbridge (TCP-Woodbridge) and The College Place-Richmond (TCP-Richmond) have hired new directors. Danny Eckstein will direct the Woodbridge location, while Jan Smith will oversee the Richmond location.

TCP-Woodbridge, located at Northern Virginia Community College, and TCP-Richmond, located at Virginia Commonwealth University, provide free information and assistance for students of all ages throughout the state. Through in-person, telephone and online support, the centers help students complete applications and financial aid forms, as well as locate scholarships that can decrease overall costs. Staff are also available to visit schools and to conduct workshops.

"ECMC is thrilled to welcome Danny and Jan, who bring substantial experience to help Virginia students and families in navigating the college-going process," said Paula Craw, ECMC vice president of student success and outreach. "We have a long history of college access work in the commonwealth and we're happy to have two fantastic student advocates to add to our team."

TCP-Woodbridge's main office is located at 2645 College Drive. To set up an appointment with a representative or to learn more, contact The College Place 434-242-9053 or woodbridgevatcp@ecmc.org.

TCP-Richmond's main office is located at 120 South Linden Street. To set up an appointment with a representative or to learn more, contact The College Place 804-827-1755 or richmondvatcp@ecmc.org.

ECMC has five other college access centers across the country: TCP-Colorado, TCP-Oregon, TCP-Connecticut, TCP-Northern California and TCP-Minnesota.

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ECMC opens college access center in Denver

April 6, 2018

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The College Place, located at University of Colorado Denver, provides free resources to help students plan for college

DENVER, Colo. – April 5, 2018 – Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) has opened a new college access center to help students of all ages prepare for college.

The College Place-Colorado (TCP-Colorado), located at University of Colorado Denver, provides free information and assistance for students throughout the state. Through in-person, telephone and online support, the center helps students of all ages complete applications and financial aid forms, as well as locate scholarships that can decrease college costs. Staff is also available to visit schools and conduct workshops.

"The College Place is an invaluable resource for students planning and preparing for college," said Chevy Lowe, director of TCP-Colorado. "I am honored to have the opportunity to work with all students and help them find the path that aligns with their goals and aspirations."

Ms. Lowe has been active in the higher education field for more than seven years. Her work has focused on serving and counseling students, with a focus on underserved student access.

TCP-Colorado's main office is located at 1201 Larimer Street, Suite 1007. To set up an appointment with a representative or to learn more, contact The College Place at 612-212-8831 or coloradotcp@ecmc.org.

ECMC has six other college access centers across the country: TCP-Minnesota, TCP-Oregon, TCP-Connecticut, TCP-Northern California, TCP-Richmond in Virginia and TCP-Woodbridge in Virginia.

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ECMC to assume contracts for four third-party guarantors serviced by Navient

March 20, 2018

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Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Navient to assume the third-party guarantor servicing contracts currently being managed by Navient. Effective July 1, 2018, the following four guarantors will become new third-party servicing clients of ECMC:

  • Michigan Guaranty Agency
  • Oklahoma College Assistance Program
  • Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance
  • Finance Authority of Maine

"ECMC remains committed to providing high-quality customer service that Navient's third-party servicing clients have come to expect," said Jan Hines, president and chief executive officer of ECMC.

"We are proud to have served student loan borrowers supported by guarantors in these four states over the years, and are pleased to turn over this important work to one of the largest, most experienced players in this field," said Jeff Whorley, group president, asset management and servicing, at Navient.

Navient and ECMC are working with these organizations to ensure a seamless transition and uninterrupted service support for borrowers.

About Navient
Navient (Nasdaq: NAVI) is a leading provider of asset management and business processing solutions for education, healthcare, and government clients at the federal, state, and local levels. Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, Navient also employs team members in Indiana, western New York, northeastern Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and other locations. Visit www.navient.com for more information.

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Helping students succeed

March 6, 2018

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The following article is from Minnesota Business.

Eighty-six percent of college undergraduates own smartphones. But even with so much information at their fingertips, today's college students remain novices when it comes to their finances. More than half of students surveyed in a recent LendEdu study reported having no personal finance education in high school. Perhaps, then, it is no surprise that more than 4.5 million Americans are in default on more than $75 billion in student loans.

Minneapolis-based nonprofit ECMC Group and its family of companies are working to change that fact by helping students prepare for college by empowering them to make informed choices about their fields of study, as well as the financial responsibility that may accompany those choices.

"We understand the critical role getting students to and through college plays in their future success and financial stability," said Jeremy Wheaton, president and CEO of ECMC Group. "Everything we do is focused on helping students succeed." ECMC Group works with students at every step of their higher education journey. In addition to providing financial education tools and services, the organization offers nonprofit career education and funds programs that affect educational outcomes — especially among underserved populations.

Providing the Right Tools
The cost of college has increased more than 150% in the last 20 years, making financial education a vital element in preparing for college.

ECMC — an affiliate of ECMC Group — offers a number of free resources on ecmc.org for students and families to help them prepare for their education beyond high school. Resources include the Opportunities Book — a free step-by-step workbook that provides the tools families need to make informed decisions about choosing the right school, completing a college application and navigating the financial aid process.

The organization also operates college access centers — brick-and-mortar locations across the country — that provide free college planning resources to families and students of all ages. From helping students complete college applications and financial aid forms to finding scholarships, The College Place (TCP) centers provide a wealth of support to students as they plan their higher-education journey.

Recently, ECMC opened its first TCP center in Minneapolis on the campus of Minneapolis Community and Technical College. The center serves students and families in the metro area and beyond.

To further educate students, ECMC created an interactive financial literacy game, FAB Life, which is designed to teach students about personal financing using real-life scenarios. ECMC also offers resources for educators, including a free educator curricula guide to help low-income and first-generation students realize their dreams of postsecondary education.

Mentoring Future Leaders
As part of its commitment to students as well as its focus on community outreach, ECMC Group partners with a variety of organizations to offer time and resources as well as opportunities for employees across the country to volunteer in their local communities. In Minnesota, the organization supports a variety of organizations, including Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Junior Achievement and BestPrep's ementoring program, where employees mentor high school students in ninth through twelfth grade via email.

"One of the great things about working with BestPrep is that we get to work one-on-one with students and we have an opportunity to make a direct impact on the college and career decisions they may make," said Sabrina Berg, senior community relations specialist with ECMC Group. "We have the opportunity to inspire them to go to college and join the professional world. Our employees have a strong passion for education and this partnership allows us to make an even greater impact on the lives of local students."

ECMC Group is proud of its robust volunteer and giving program. In 2017, the organization donated $1.6 million around the country, nearly $450,000 in Minnesota alone. In addition, 45% of employees in Minnesota participated in the volunteer program.

In the end, says Wheaton, ECMC Group's efforts all come back to the organization's mission to help students succeed.

"It is important for us to help students, to encourage them to continue their education and to help them understand that college can be possible for them with the right resources and support."

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More than 2,000 attend latino student leadership conference

March 6, 2018

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The following article is from the Statesman Journal.

IThe College Place Oregon director Jennifer Satalino was interviewed at the Cesar E. Chavez Leadership Conference. Click here for to watch the video.

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The College Place-Minnesota celebrated

February 28, 2018

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Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) held a grand opening for its new college access center on Feb. 21. The College Place-Minnesota (TCP-Minnesota), located at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, provides free information and assistance for students throughout the state.

The following video recaps the event and highlights the opportunities available at TCP-Minnesota.

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ECMC Group provides tools and services to help students achieve their academic and professional goals

February 27, 2018

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The following article is from the March/April 2018 MN Business Magazine.

Eighty-six percent of college undergraduates own smartphones. But even with so much information at their fingertips, today's college students remain novices when it comes to their finances. More than half of students surveyed in a recent LendEdu study reported having no personal finance education in high school. Perhaps, then, it is no surprise that more than 4.5 million Americans are in default on over $75 billion in student loans.

Minneapolis-based nonprofit ECMC Group and its family of companies are working to change that fact by helping students prepare for college by empowering them to make informed choices about their fields of study as well as the financial responsibility that may accompany those choices.

"We understand the critical role getting students to and through college plays in their future success and financial stability," said Jeremy Wheaton, president and CEO of ECMC Group. "Everything we do is focused on helping students succeed."

ECMC Group works with students at every step of their higher education journey. In addition to providing financial education tools and services, the organization offers nonprofit career education and funds programs that affect educational outcomes – especially among underserved populations.

Providing the right tools

The cost of college has increased more than 150 percent in the last 20 years, making financial education a vital element in preparing for college.

ECMC – an affiliate of ECMC Group – offers a number of free resources on ecmc.org for students and families to help them prepare for their education beyond high school. Resources include the Opportunities Book – a free step-by-step workbook that provides the tools families need to make informed decisions about choosing the right school, completing a college application and navigating the financial aid process.

The organization also operates college access centers – brick and mortar locations across the country – that provide free college planning resources to families and students of all ages. From helping students complete college applications and financial aid forms to finding scholarships, The College Place (TCP) centers provide a wealth of support to students as they plan their higher education journey.

Recently, ECMC opened its first TCP center in Minneapolis on the campus of Minneapolis Community and Technical College. The center serves students and families in the metro area and beyond.

To further educate students, ECMC created an interactive financial literacy game, FAB Life, which is designed to teach students about personal financing using real-life scenarios. ECMC also offers resources for educators, including a free educator curricula guide to help low-income and first-generation students realize their dream of postsecondary education.

Mentoring future leaders

As part of its commitment to students as well as its focus on community outreach, ECMC Group partners with a variety of organizations to offer time and resources as well as opportunities for employees across the country to volunteer in their local communities. In Minnesota, the organization supports a variety of organizations including Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Junior Achievement and BestPrep's e-mentoring program, where employees mentor high school students in ninth through twelfth grade via email.

"One of the great things about working with BestPrep is that we get to work one-on-one with students and we have an opportunity to make a direct impact on the college and career decisions they may make," said Sabrina Berg, senior community relations specialist with ECMC Group. "We have the opportunity to inspire them to go to college and join the professional world. Our employees have a strong passion for education and this partnership allows us to make an even greater impact on the lives of local students."

ECMC Group is proud of its robust volunteer and giving program. In 2017, the organization donated $1.6 million around the country, nearly $450,000 in Minnesota alone. In addition, 45 percent of employees in Minnesota participated in the volunteer program.

In the end, says Wheaton, ECMC Group's efforts all come back to the organization's mission to help students succeed.

"It is important for us to help students, to encourage them to continue their education and to help them understand that college can be possible for them with the right resources and support."

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ECMC opens college access center in Minneapolis

February 21, 2018

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Minneapolis-based Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) has opened a new college access center to help students of all ages prepare for college.

The College Place-Minnesota (TCP-Minnesota), located at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), provides free information and assistance for students throughout the state. Through in-person, telephone and online support, the center helps students complete applications and financial aid forms, as well as locate scholarships that can decrease the cost of tuition. Staff is also available to visit schools and conduct workshops.

"We're thrilled to provide this important resource to Minnesota families to help them make informed decisions about educational opportunities beyond high school," said Jeremy Wheaton, ECMC Group president and CEO. "In 2017 alone, we reached more than 45,000 students throughout the U.S. with resources like our TCP centers as part of our mission to help students succeed."

To commemorate the grand opening, ECMC is offering a $1,500 scholarship. Students can register for the scholarship at TCP-Minnesota between now and March 30, 2018.

"The College Place is a fantastic resource for students of any age who have a desire to continue their education but need help initiating the process," said Linda Leech, director of TCP-Minnesota. "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with students and families during such an important time in their lives."

TCP-Minnesota's main office is located at 1501 Hennepin Ave, Suite T.2700. To set up an appointment with a representative or to learn more, contact The College Place at 612-200-5433 or minnesotatcp@ecmc.org.

ECMC has six other college access centers across the country: TCP-Colorado, TCP-Oregon, TCP-Connecticut, TCP-Northern California, TCP-Richmond in Virginia, and TCP-Woodbridge in Virginia.

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ECMC launches College Nights; offers tips for completing OSAC scholarship application

February 21, 2018

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Oregon students and families wanting to learn more about planning and paying for college can attend one of 27 College Nights planned throughout the state between now and April 30. The events are sponsored by Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), which provides college access and financial education resources to empower students to make informed choices about their futures.

During the next three months, ECMC will give away more than $40,000 in scholarships at the events. The company has sponsored College Nights in Oregon for the past 12 years.

"College is a critical decision for students, both financially and personally," said Jennifer Satalino, director of ECMC's The College Place (TCP) Oregon. "Bringing these college planning workshops to students and families will allow them to make more informed decisions and feel comfortable with the process."

College Nights are interactive events designed to help students and their families choose the right college, navigate the financial aid process and find scholarships while avoiding scholarship scams. In addition, attendees at each event will have the opportunity to win one of three $500 scholarships.

Attendees will receive a copy of ECMC's Opportunities booklet, a free college planning workbook that features worksheets, checklists, and helpful tips along with Oregon-specific information for high school students and their families. The books are also available free for download in English and Spanish.

A full list of the Oregon College Nights is available here.

Tips for filling out your OSAC application
Each year, the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission's Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) partners with private donors, employers, foundations and organizations throughout the state to administer more than 500 scholarships that students can apply for with one common online application.

With the March 1 deadline fast approaching, ECMC is offering tips for students completing the application:

  1. Do your homework: Before you begin the online application, research scholarships in the online catalog based on your GPA, extracurricular activities, test scores and more. Scholarships are also searchable based on your current high school and residence. Apply for to up to 40 scholarships with your submission.
  2. Share your skills and successes: When creating your personal statement remember to take credit for all your activities, accomplishments and awards. Check out OSAC's tips for writing compelling personal statements. Additionally, a key portion of the OSAC scholarship application is filling out an Activities Chart. This will help log all your accomplishments and will provide those reading your application with a snapshot of what you're like outside the classroom.
  3. Be on time: The application deadline is March 1, at 5:00 p.m., PST.
  4. Apply often: You are eligible to apply when you're in high school and each year you're in college.

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Barriers to education—cost

February 21, 2018

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College is expensive; no one will deny that. According to CollegeBoard, in the past decade alone (2007-2017), tuition rates rose 26% at private nonprofit colleges and 37% at public four-year colleges. Those rates jump to 129% and 213% respectively when comparing current tuition with that of just 30 years ago, accounting for inflation. With no end in sight to the continual increase in the cost of an education, low and middle income students are facing more difficult choices than ever.

The rising cost of academia is forcing us to place a cost value on college education — an invaluable commodity. Is an education worth $45,000 in student loan debt? Is it worth going to your last-choice school because it's the cheapest? Is it worth working two jobs and falling asleep in class to make tuition payments? These are just a few of the questions students must grapple with before setting foot on-campus or enrolling online. And for many, these questions are daunting enough to make them believe that college is not a serious option for them, no matter its value.

Students are experiencing sticker shock. What used to be the affordable options of two- and four-year public colleges are no longer easily paid for by part-time and summer jobs, and the threat of student loan debt looms ever present. For those who don't have significant family financial contributions, college can suddenly seem very out of reach, which is why we wanted to use this edition of our Barriers in Education series to explore one of the largest deterrents to higher education: cost.

Our panel, comprised of college planning and financial aid experts from universities, non-profits, and financial institutions, spoke with us about how we can help students plan for college and take advantage of all the resources available to them. Emphasizing above all that students should wait to see what all their financial offers are before ruling out any schools — sometimes the school you least expect can offer you the most money. We cannot let rising costs become a discouraging barrier for students wishing to gain an education. Read on to learn about resources and support that can help student see the true value of a college education.

People really need to think outside the box when it comes to scholarships. They also need to look in their own backyard first. Local scholarships may be smaller, but they add up, and competition is less fierce. I tell all my students to get on Google and search their hobbies, accomplishments, and interests that are unrelated to school along with the word 'scholarship'.

By Abril Hunt
Manager of Outreach and Financial Literacy for ECMC

CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR HISTORY AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH ECMC HELPING STUDENTS PLAN THEIR FINANCIAL PATH TOWARDS COLLEGE?
I have been counseling students with challenges related to paying for and staying in college for two decades. I have worked at 2-year, 4-year, and graduate schools, as well as a career college. When working with students and their parents on issues related to paying for school I regularly draw from the challenges I had as a first-generation student.

WHY DOES THE COST OF ATTENDING COLLEGE FUNCTION AS SUCH A DETERRENT FOR STUDENTS?
It's a lot of money! Traditional students have a hard time getting past the sticker shock of a four-year degree. You can explain the cost vs. benefits, but many don't have enough life experience to relate. I also think there is a fear of the unknown and all the "what ifs" – What if I run out of money? What if I flunk out? What if I can't find a job after graduation? What if I lose my job and can't afford to repay my loans?

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PAYING FOR COLLEGE?
Many people think there is only one path to college graduation. However, not all students attend full time for four years, especially non-traditional and commuter students who have to balance work, family, and school. Students may also choose to study half time or three-quarters time, and take a semester or two off to work and save money. Many schools offer a tuition discount for students taking between 12-18 credits. That could be two extra classes per term, which accelerates your pace towards a degree.

Another misconception students have is that they won't qualify for financial aid. This is probably the most pervasive myth out there. While it's correct that there is an income threshold for need-based aid, all FAFSA filers, regardless of their parents' income, qualify for unsubsidized Direct Loans and PLUS loans. It's so important to fill out the FAFSA every year regardless of your current income. You never know what the future holds. It also is helpful to work with a financial aid counselor, who can help you complete the form.

Students also think they have to be a straight-A student to qualify for scholarships. It's true that colleges and universities offer academic-based scholarships, but those aren't the only scholarships out there. You can still win scholarships even if your grades aren't stellar. In fact, very few private scholarships are based on academic performance. Scholarship sponsors look for students who best match their unique criteria. They might be looking for artistic ability, athletic talent, overcoming obstacles, or even something a bit unusual. People really need to think outside the box when it comes to scholarships. They also need to look in their own backyard first. Local scholarships may be smaller, but they add up, and competition is less fierce. I tell all my students to get on Google and search their hobbies, accomplishments, and interests that are unrelated to school along with the word 'scholarship'. One of the coolest scholarships I have seen a student earn was for her essay on knitting a sweater. When I was in school, I had a scholarship from the American Quarter Horse Association and I didn't even own a horse!

A final common misconception is the belief that colleges will reduce a student's financial aid package when they receive a private scholarship. That's not exactly true. Federal regulations prohibit schools from awarding aid in excess of the student's total cost of attendance. If a student has a financial aid package that meets 100% of their cost of attendance and a private scholarship comes in, it creates an over-award. In that situation, the private scholarship funds will be used to reduce loans or work study. It is possible for a student to bring in so many private scholarships that the school might reduce its own grant funds. However, that is not a hard and fast rule. The bottom line is that replacing loans with scholarships reduces the student's cost of attendance because loans have to be repaid while scholarships do not.

WHAT CHOICES ARE YOU SEEING STUDENTS AND FAMILIES HAVE TO MAKE BASED ON THE COSTS OF HIGHER EDUCATION? HOW DOES THIS AFFECT LOW-INCOME FAMILIES? MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES?
For middle-income families, I am seeing a lot more who are choosing local colleges, so that their students can live at home and commute to save money. Some families are choosing to send their student to community college for two years, rather than directly to a four-year institution. I am also seeing fewer families who have the capacity (or desire) to borrow PLUS loans for undergraduate students to attend private, independent colleges. For most truly low-income families, the PLUS Loan is just not an option, so any financial aid gaps really limit their choices. This is why low-income families in Rhode Island, Tennessee, and my home state of Oregon, are loving the tuition-free community college options. San Francisco and New York offer similar programs. Louisiana, Arkansas, Minnesota, and South Dakota have varying tuition-free options for students studying high-demand fields.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH ALL STUDENTS AND PARENTS/ GUARDIANS KNEW ABOUT FINANCING AN EDUCATION?
For parents especially, the first thing I make sure they understand is that a LOT has changed since they were in school. The days of being able to work a summer job to save money for the next year's tuition are long gone. In addition, the cost of college has increased more than 150% in the last 20 years. Unfortunately, increases to financial aid and personal income have not kept pace with rising tuition costs. That leaves a gap for most families that is difficult to address if they wait until their senior year of high school to prepare.

Early awareness and financial literacy play a vital role in academic and financial preparedness for college. I encourage high school students to start looking for scholarships their junior year. They can't apply at that point, but they can get all of their documents ready. Many students come to school expecting to continue living their parents' lifestyle and the adjustment to living frugally is a foreign and unpleasant concept. However, it's vital to their quality of life after graduation. The adage "live like a student when you're a student or you'll live like a student once you've graduated" has stuck around for so long because it's true. Manicures and sushi nights are absolute budget busters for college students.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO STUDENTS THINKING ABOUT APPLYING TO COLLEGE, BUT AREN'T SURE THEY CAN AFFORD TO ATTEND?
Know your bottom line. College is the second largest financial investment you'll make in your lifetime, and yet the total costs aren't always clear from the outset. When it comes to financial aid award letters, not all colleges include both direct and indirect expenses in the total "Cost of Attendance" (COA). While most schools outline baseline tuition and fees, some omit certain "indirect expenses" like room and board, textbooks, meals, and transportation. In addition, not knowing how much a full year of college will cost makes it difficult to put an aid letter in context. If the aid letter you recieve doesn't include an itemized expense breakdown or excludes the COA altogether, don't hesitate to call the school's financial aid office to get more information. Also, complete the FAFSA 4CASTER online at www.fafsa.gov. It will give you an early estimate of your eligibility for aid. Then, meet with the college or career counselor at your high school—they can refer you to a college access expert or center in your area that offers free college planning assistance.

Consider Wants vs. Needs. I talk to students about how we always seem to find ways to buy the things we really want, such as smartphones, Apple watches, designer bags, or other expensive items. How did we find the money to buy it? We sacrificed smaller things for the bigger desire. Affording college is the same. If something is important to you, you will find a way to make it happen. Many students start out on the four year plan, which stretches out to the five, six or even seven years of balancing life, work, and school. If you need help along the way, ask for it.

Scholarships! They are out there. But you really need to work at finding them. It's easy to do a cursory search on the web and believe you can't find anything, or if you do find something, only applying for one or two is a huge mistake. The more you apply for, the better your chances are at receiving one, and the more time you spend applying, the better your responses become. I tell students to keep a running document with all of their scholarship application responses. As they apply for more scholarships they will begin to see a common theme in the questions. Then, it's just a matter of personalizing the responses.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR ORGANIZATIONS LIKE ECMC TO PROVIDE RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS TO HELP THEM NAVIGATE THE COST OF COLLEGE?
There are many things to consider during the college planning process – from the financial commitment, to the academic offerings, to whether a particular school's environment and location is a good fit. I can't speak for other organizations, but at ECMC, we focus on student success in higher education and provide financial literacy training, support, and outreach to help students plan and pay for college, as well as manage debt. Our mission is to help students succeed.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS YOU SEE THE HIGH SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL DISTRICT'S YOU WORK WITH ARE SUPPORTING STUDENTS APPLYING TO COLLEGE, SPECIFICALLY FINANCIAL AID?
I see them reaching out more and more to college access and student success partners like ECMC. High school counselors are pretty resourceful and very dedicated to their students. They contact us at ECMC for support when they need it. We partner with local community colleges to offer free college access centers (The College Place) in several states. Our ECMC Scholars Program pairs students with mentors beginning in their junior year in high school and continuing through college, providing scholarships to those participants as well. In the Fall, schools often ask us to assist at FAFSA filing events.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THEM ADOPT?
I would love to see financial literacy incorporated into K-12 curriculum. At the very least, it should be a mandatory course to graduate from high school in every state, which it currently is not.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE ROLE OF A UNIVERSITY IS IN SUPPORTING STUDENTS STRUGGLING TO PAY FOR COLLEGE?
Schools are responsible for their cohort default rate, which is the percentage of a school's borrowers who default on their student loans within a specific timeframe. Students may understand that student loans represent a lot of money, but many still don't quite grasp the impact that this debt will have on life after college.

Financial challenges and needing to work are two of the main reasons students dropout of school. Failing to graduate leaves the student with debt but no skill set to pay it off. Financial literacy programs easily align with the public service mission of state colleges and universities. Schools can mitigate the percentage of defaulting students by promoting financial literacy as a value-add and weave programs into the campus culture. This in turn helps transition the next generation of taxpayers into the American economy. Unfortunately, there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution for a successful financial literacy program. What is successful for one school may not work as well for another. The success of financial literacy programs is usually driven by the availability of funding, time, space, and staffing.

WHERE DO YOU RECOMMEND STUDENTS, AND THEIR SUPPORT SYSTEMS, TURN FOR RESOURCES AND GUIDANCE AS THEY BEGIN TO PLAN HOW TO FUND THEIR EDUCATION?
There are many things to consider during the college planning process – from the financial commitment, to the academic offerings, to whether a particular school's environment and location is a good fit for the student. At a time when Americans collectively owe more than $1.3 trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt—and with tuition rates vastly outpacing inflation—families shouldn't be left in the dark about what they'll be expected to pay for college. This is even more true for individuals who are the first in their family to attend college, which we focus on a great deal at ECMC. By bringing much-needed transparency to the college tuition market, we're empowering families with the tools and information they need to make fully-informed decisions about where to attend college before they've settled on a list of schools.

ANY FINAL THOUGHTS FOR US?
Our website, www.ECMC.org, is a great resource, and not just for high school students. ECMC also provides several resources that guide families through the process to ensure they make the best choice. Here is a sampling of our free tools and resources:

Opportunities Book is a step-by-step workbook that provides the tools families need to make smart decisions about one of the biggest decisions in their lives. The book features a variety of worksheets covering a myriad of topics including the application process, choosing the right school, and navigating the financial aid process. Also included are "to-do" checklists for high school juniors and seniors. We provide more than 350,000 copies annually to students across the country, free of charge, in English and Spanish. The books also are available for free download on ECMC's website.

ECMC Scholars program is a rigorous two-year mentoring program that allows select students to access up to $4,000 in scholarships their first year of college. Pending completion of all requirements, students qualify for an additional $2,000 for their second year. Unlike a traditional academic scholarship, these students aren't selected solely for their academic merit or test scores—instead, they are chosen for their potential. Over the past 13 years, ECMC has provided more than $15 million in financial aid to 5,080 students in Virginia, Oregon, and Connecticut. ECMC committed to supporting an additional 470 students with nearly $3 million in scholarships through 2019.

The College Place (TCP) is a network of ECMC-supported college access centers operating across Minnesota, Virginia, Oregon, California, and Connecticut to provide free college preparation and financial counseling services to high school students. TCP Directors work with hundreds of students and their families to help them navigate the complex college admissions and financial aid processes. The centers provide free information and assistance through in-person, telephone, and online support. They also offer presentations, workshops, and individual assistance with college admissions, financial aid, and scholarship applications.

ABOUT ABRIL HUNT
Manager of Outreach and Financial Literacy for ECMC
Abril Hunt is manager of Outreach and Financial Literacy for ECMC, a nonprofit that focuses on student success in higher education and provides financial literacy training, support and outreach to better educate students on paying for college and managing their debt. In her position, Abril facilitates and manages ECMC's award-winning national educator trainings, which provide valuable, free-of- charge lessons in financial literacy and higher education planning to students in middle school, high school and college.

Abril also manages College Abacus, a free online tool that allows families to calculate and compare personalized financial aid estimates across thousands of U.S. colleges, and also serves as the writer and co-host of ECMC's weekly national webinar, Financial Awareness Basics.

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ECMC kicks off Connecticut College Nights to educate families about planning for college

10 events to be held around the state; $15,000 in scholarships to be awarded

February 15, 2018

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Connecticut students and families wanting to learn more about planning and paying for college can attend one of 10 College Nights planned throughout the state between now and April 30. The events are sponsored by Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), which provides college access and financial education resources to empower students to make informed choices about their futures.

During the next three months, ECMC will give away $15,000 in scholarships at the events. The company has sponsored College Nights in Connecticut for the past six years.

"College is often the first critical milestone in a person's financial life," said Paula Craw, vice president of outreach and student success at ECMC. "Bringing these college planning workshops to students and families will help them better understand their options, enabling them to make informed decisions."

College Nights are interactive events designed to help students and their families choose the right college, navigate the financial aid process and find scholarships while avoiding scholarship scams.

Attendees will receive a copy of ECMC's Opportunities booklet, a free college planning workbook that features worksheets, checklists, and helpful tips along with Connecticut-specific information for high school students and their families. The books are also available free for download in English and Spanish..

In addition, attendees at each event will have the opportunity to win one of three $500 scholarships.

"Our focus is on reaching the highest need students and families—College Nights are traditionally held at high schools where eligibility for free and reduced lunch is 50 percent or greater," Craw said.

A full list of the Connecticut College Nights is available here.

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ECMC Group's doing day

February 16, 2018

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ECMC Group's Doing Day activities were featured on KSTP Channel 5 News on February 13, 2018. Doing Day was a company-wide volunteer event where employees created care packages for local charities. All packages were donated to a variety of organizations including Hope Lodge, People Serving People and the Jeremiah Program.

Follow the links below for YouTube videos

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ECMC kicks off Virginia College Nights to educate families about planning for college

58 events to be held around the state; more than $85,000 in scholarships to be awarded

February 15, 2018

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Students and families wanting to learn more about planning and paying for college can attend one of 58 College Nights planned throughout Virginia between now and April 26. The events are hosted by Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), which provides college access and financial literacy education to empower students to make informed choices about their futures.

During the next three months, ECMC will give away more than $85,000 in scholarships at the events. The company has hosted College Nights in Virginia for the past 12 years.

"College is often the first critical milestone in a person's financial life," said Paula Craw, vice president of outreach and student success at ECMC. "Bringing these college planning workshops to students and families will help them better understand their options, enabling them to make informed decisions."

College Nights are interactive events designed to help students and their families choose the right college, navigate the financial aid process and find scholarships while avoiding scholarship scams.

Attendees will receive a copy of ECMC's Opportunities booklet, a free college planning workbook that features worksheets, checklists, and helpful tips along with Virginia-specific information for high school students and their families. The books are also available free for download in English and Spanish.

In addition, attendees at each event will have the opportunity to win one of three $500 scholarships.

"Our focus is on reaching the highest need students and families—College Nights are traditionally held at high schools where eligibility for free and reduced lunch is 50 percent or greater," Craw said. "In addition, we sponsor the events at a few community colleges in rural, high-need areas where it makes sense for the events to be centrally located."

A full list of the Virginia College Nights is available here.

In Virginia, ECMC's College Nights are part of a collaboration with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) on the "1, 2, 3 Go! Virginia's Three Steps to College" initiative. The program is a series of events including:

  • "1" College Nights to help students and families understand the process of applying and paying for college.
  • "2" Virginia College Application Week to encourage students to submit at least one college application.
  • "3" Super FAFSA Project Virginia to get hands-on help to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
  • "Go!" which is Decision Day in Virginia, to recognize and celebrate all seniors and their plans for postsecondary education.

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ECMC kicks off Tennessee College Nights to educate families about planning for college

30 events to be held around the state; $40,000 in scholarships to be awarded

February 15, 2018

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Tennessee students and families wanting to learn more about planning and paying for college can attend one of 30 College Nights planned throughout the state between now and April 30. The events are sponsored by Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), which provides financial education services to empower students to make informed choices about their futures.

During the next three months, ECMC will give away more than $40,000 in scholarships at the events. The company has sponsored College Nights in Tennessee for the past two years.

"College is often the first critical milestone in a person's financial life," said Paula Craw, vice president of outreach and student success at ECMC. "Bringing these college planning workshops to students and families will help them better understand their options, enabling them to make informed decisions."

College Nights are interactive events designed to help students and their families choose the right college, navigate the financial aid process, and find scholarships while avoiding scholarship scams.

Attendees will receive a copy of ECMC's Opportunities booklet, a free college planning workbook that features worksheets, checklists, and helpful tips for high school students and their families. The books are also available free for download online in English and Spanish.

In addition, attendees at each event will have the opportunity to win one of three $500 scholarships.

"Our focus is on reaching the highest need students and families—College Nights are traditionally held at high schools where eligibility for free and reduced lunch is 50 percent or greater," Craw said.

A full list of the Tennessee College Nights is available here.

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ECMC launches borrower access mobile app

User-friendly tool simplifies access and repayment of federal student loans

February 13, 2018

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A new mobile app lets borrowers access their Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC)-guaranteed federal student loans at the touch of a button—making it easier to manage their accounts via a mobile device.

"Today's borrowers want around-the-clock access to their loans," said Len Hyde, vice president of default management for ECMC. "In addition to streamlining the process of accessing an account, the app enhances the borrower's ability to stay on track with their repayment schedule and also offers options to help them get back on track if life circumstances derail the process."

With the app, borrowers can monitor their loan balance and activity; schedule or make a payment; and receive alerts and updates. Borrowers may also watch informative videos about repayments options, download and upload documents needed to complete loan rehabilitation applications, schedule a call from an ECMC representative, and much more.

ECMC services more than 4 million loans, held by nearly 1.7 million student loan borrowers.

All accounts are secured through ECMC's physical, electronic, procedural and administrative security measures. ECMC restricts access to nonpublic personal information about its borrowers.

The ECMC Borrower Access Mobile App is free and available in the iTunes store or Google Play.

To learn more, visit www.ecmc.org/app.

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ECMC kicks off California College Nights to educate families about planning for college

46 events to be held around the state; more than $65,000 in scholarships to be awarded

February 12, 2018

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California students and families wanting to learn more about planning and paying for college can attend one of 46 College Nights events planned throughout the state between now and April 26. The events are hosted by Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), which provides college access and financial education resources to empower students to make informed choices about their futures.

During the next three months, ECMC will give away more than $65,000 in scholarships at the events. The company has hosted College Nights events in California for the past six years.

"College is often the first big financial decision a person will make," said Monique Adorno-Jimenez, director of ECMC's The College Place (TCP) Northern California, located on the University of California, Berkeley campus. "Our goal is to bring the presentations directly to students and families in an effort to ease the burden of understanding financial aid and the complex college planning process."

College Nights are interactive events designed to help students and their families choose the right college, navigate the financial aid process, and find scholarships while avoiding scholarship scams.

In addition, attendees at each event will have the opportunity to win one of three $500 scholarships.

ECMC's focus is on reaching the highest need students and families. College Nights are traditionally held at high schools where eligibility for free and reduced lunch is 50 percent or greater.

A full list of California College Nights is available here.

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Financial Literacy is an essential link in the chain of student success

February 1, 2018

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The following article is from The Hill

"By enhancing financial literacy across the education lifecycle, students and families will have a better opportunity for success at school, in their career and, ultimately, in life" writes ECMC Group CEO Jeremy J. Wheaton. Read his full op/ed here.

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Your stress-free guide to student loans

February 1, 2018

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The following article is from Accredited Schools Online

The typical college graduate had $20,000 in student debt in 2007, but today's graduates are leaving school with an average debt of $34,000. Americans together currently owe $1.5 trillion in student loans, while credit card and auto loan debt sit at $882 billion and $750 billion, respectively.

While it may seem like debt is spread evenly across all graduates, the fact is that millennials are saddled with far more debt than older generations. Of all American adults, approximately 16 percent have student debt, while 37 percent of individuals aged 18 to 29 will be paying down educational loans for years to come.

Student loan debt can feel crippling at times, but there are ways for students to take control of their finances and work with lenders to create a plan for success. The following guide takes a deep dive into both federal and private student lending, as well as repayment practices. Keep reading to learn about your options and get practical guidance from two student loan experts.

Repaying Federal Student Loans
After signing a promissory note and ensuring their schools receive the necessary funds, most students largely forget about their educational loans – until the time for repayment comes. The good news is the government provides a grace period after a student graduates, leaves school or drops below part-time before they must start making payments.

All federal funds except PLUS loans offer a grace period of six months, although students should be aware that interest accrues during this period for most types of loans. Most federal loans offer an interest rate ranging between 4 and 7 percent, so students should take time to figure out how much debt the grace period adds, and whether they should simply begin payments as soon as possible rather than waiting six months.

According to financial expert Kat Tretina, a writer for Student Loan Hero, the most important thing students can do for themselves – even in the early days of repayment – is to keep a level head. "The number one piece of advice I give to students is not to let themselves be paralyzed by fear," Tretina says. "When people are drowning in debt, they often get so overwhelmed that they are frozen with inaction."

Your debt may seem insurmountable at first, but rather than focusing on the debt itself, students should concentrate on maintaining sound, healthy financial standards that allow them to make regular, timely payments.

While most information students find is for graduates, another population greatly in need of advice in this area are students who drop out of college. Approximately 44 percent of students haven't completed their four-year degree after six years, and many of those students may never go back to school. But their student loan debt doesn't disappear.

In fact, students who don't finish college are far more likely to default on their loans and may also find it more difficult to get a job since they don't have a degree. Even if you need to take time away from school for a season, most experts highly suggest getting some type of degree to be more competitive and make repayment less burdensome.

Can't Afford Your Payment?

Despite best efforts, sometimes life gets in the way and borrowers struggle to afford their monthly loan payments. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) offers several options for individuals who find themselves in this situation, including differentiated repayment plans, forbearance and deferment. Here are some steps to help you get back on track:

Swap your repayment plan.
Some students may be allowed to have their monthly payment lowered if the standard decade-long repayment plan isn't working for them. Alternate repayment plans are typically based on current income and include a pay-as-you-earn scheme, income-based payments (typically 10-15 percent of a borrower's income) or income-contingent payments.

Defer payments.
Individuals who are temporarily without income or can't meet their payment requirements may be able to apply for deferment if they meet specific requirements. Students who are enrolled at least part-time, are experiencing economic hardship or are active members of the military are eligible. With deferment, borrowers aren't responsible for paying accrued interest during the period of delay.

Apply for forbearance.
Forbearance is similar to deferment, except students are required to pay interest even when their repayment plan is temporarily suspended. This option is available for students facing financial hardship, employment changes or medical costs.

Repaying Private Student Loans
Private student loans don't offer the same grace period as federal loans – and most require payments to begin as soon as the money is disbursed – meaning borrowers should consider their options immediately after applying for funding.

And because private loans typically have much higher interest rates than those offered by the government – and rates that are often variable – borrowers pay far more in interest in addition to principal. The average private loan has an interest rate between 9 and 12 percent, while some may go as high as 18 percent.

If possible, students should also consider whether they are able to work on a part-time basis while in school. Some semesters may be busier than others, but even earning a few hundred dollars per month can make the difference in whether learners are able to keep up with their payments.

How Do Private Loans Measure Up?

Before committing to any type of loan, students should understand the rules and requirements of each. This is especially true of private loans, which don't offer the same backing or transparency as federal options. Some of the most important differences to understand when it comes to federal versus private loans include:

Credit Scores:
The DOE only requires a credit check for PLUS loans and can help students develop a great credit score if they make payments on time. Private loans, conversely, often require an existing (and passing) credit score for individuals to receive money, which means students may have to rely on a cosigner.

Repayment Plans:
While federal repayment plans don't start until after a student is no longer in school (or is attending on a less than part-time basis), lots of private plans require payments while students are still enrolled.

Interest on Principal:
Interest rates on federal loans are fixed for the lifetime of the loan, whereas private organizations may have variable – and higher – rates.

Repayment Flexibility:
Unlike federal loans that offer options such as deferment or forbearance, private lenders are typically less flexible or willing to provide such options to students who are struggling with payments.

Issues with Repayment
Individuals who are struggling to repay their student loans run the gamut, and those with private loans are no exception. In fact, borrowers in this category typically have higher rates of default as private loans don't offer the same benefits of federal loans.

"With federal direct student loans being guaranteed by the government, there are built-in borrower assistance options – this is not the case with private education loans," Hunt says. "Private education loans rarely offer deferment or forbearance options, and most certainly don't offer forgiveness on remaining balances after 20 years."

Regardless of these facts, Hunt still encourages borrowers to reach out to their lenders to explain their current financial situation and see if they will work with them. Most will, since it's better to receive some payment than none at all. "The worst thing you can do is ignore and avoid the attempts made to collect the debt," she says.

Students who find themselves in this boat may see their wages garnished, their tax returns taken or even their driver's license suspended. "It's in the borrower's best interest to always communicate with their lender," Hunt advises.

Debt Loads and Mental Health
Facing a huge debt load can become a very stressful situation – especially when new grads are trying to find a job and start their careers. Mental health issues for recent college graduates have shot up significantly in recent years, with the most common manifestations including depression, anxiety, anger and extreme stress.

In addition to daily responsibilities, today's borrowers now face serious questions of whether they'll ever be able to purchase a car or home, and if they can really justify a vacation when so much money is still owed to lenders.

Reckoning with how to repay the money you've borrowed is enough to keep anyone up at night, but there are many ways for individuals with student loan debt to take control of their lives. It can feel harrowing at times, certainly, but it's important to ensure you're taking good care of your mental health at every turn.

"It took a while to accumulate this debt, so know that you're not going to solve your problems overnight," Hunt says. "Instead of beating yourself up, focus on what you can do moving forward to rectify the situation."

One of the best ways of moving forward constructively is to research and fully understand the different options available to you. If your monthly payment is taking up too much of your income and creating stress in other areas of life, talk to a loan officer about a different payment plan. If unexpected life events mean you can't make payment for a couple months, seek deferment or forbearance. Whatever your life situation, know that there's a way to find relief and balance.

Managing Loans and Stress

Get a handle on spending.
"You have to know where all your money is going before you can craft a plan to cut back," says Hunt of Educational Credit Management Corp. "Figure out where your money is going now – and where you can cut back. That knowledge translates to smarter decisions on future spending."

Think about consolidating your loans.
Rather than keeping up with multiple loans and different payment schedules each month, consider consolidating them. In addition to having only one payment, some students may also see a reduction in their monthly payment amount.

Understand what you've signed up for.
Reading the loan terms isn't the most exciting way to spend your time, but knowing exactly what you promised the DOE and vice-versa can save tons of time and money in the long run.

Create a cushion.
Saving money when you first graduate may seem impossible, but having a little nest egg just in case you lose your job or have unexpected expenses can really reduce the stress of living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Focus on high-interest loans.
If one of your loans has a significantly higher interest rate, consider paying it off first so you aren't losing so much money to interest each month.

Pay extra.
When possible, think about paying more than your monthly requirement to get rid of loans more quickly.

Think about loan forgiveness.
If you're a nurse, teacher, public servant or in a handful of other occupations, you may qualify for loan forgiveness after a certain time period.

Set up auto-pay.
Sometimes people are just too busy to remember to make a payment each month, and auto-pay settings can really help with that.

Consolidating Your Loans
Rather than making multiple monthly payments that take time and energy, loans that have been consolidated exist within one simple payment to a single lender. Most federal loans can be treated in this way; however, private loans can't. Students with these types of loans should instead talk to their lenders about the possibility of refinancing.

Before considering consolidation for federal loans, students should ensure they understand the pros and cons of such a decision. Taking time to research and learn how consolidation works can save headaches in the long run, Hunt says.

"Consolidation might be an option, students just need to make sure they understand their new interest rate," she says. "This is a new loan that pays off your existing loans, so any borrower benefits attached to them will cease as the loan has been paid in full."

PROS

  • Consolidated loans allow borrowers to make one easy payment each month, rather than several.
  • The fixed interest rate is found by averaging the existing rates and rounding up by one-eighth of a percentage, meaning students may end up with a lower overall rate.
  • Like unconsolidated loans, borrowers still have access to multiple repayment options under this plan.
  • Students who are struggling to repay their loans in the given time frame can receive an extension so the monthly payment becomes lower.
  • Under consolidated loans, borrowers can set up a monthly automatic debit from their account, thereby saving time and improving their credit score from making on-time payments.

CONS

  • Loans can only be consolidated once, meaning that even if the interest rate went down in future, their rate would remain the same.
  • Because consolidated loans typically last longer than the standard 10-year loan, they'll likely end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan.
  • Some loans, such as the Perkins, allow for certain individuals to receive loan forgiveness. Any types of benefits offered under the original loan terms go away once multiple loans are consolidated.
  • Consolidated loans don't offer the standard six-month grace period for repayments after a student graduates, so if they consolidate immediately after leaving school, payments are immediately due.
  • Individuals who enjoyed any special repayment provisions under their old plan (e.g. reductions in principal or lower interest rates) will lose them once the loans are consolidated.

Refinancing Your Loans
Although a less common option than forbearance, deferment or consolidation, some students elect to refinance their loans – depending on their unique circumstances. It's important to remember that, while only federal loans can be consolidated, both private and federal loans qualify for refinancing.

According to Tretina of Student Loan Hero, refinancing can be a good option – in some cases. "By refinancing your student loans, you might be able to reduce your monthly payment or lower your interest rate," she says. "With refinancing, you work with a private lender to take out a new loan for the balance of some or all of your current student loans." This new loan comes with all new terms, meaning any existing provisions or benefits available under the old terms are now null and void.

In terms of payment plans, refinancing also offers certain benefits. "If you can't afford your current payment, you can extend your repayment term to reduce it," Tretina says. "Or, if you want to pay off your loans sooner, you might be able to qualify for a lower interest rate – that means more of your payment goes towards the balance rather than the interest."

While refinancing may sound great on the surface, Tretina also reminds students they need to understand exactly how refinancing would affect their unique situation before moving forward. "Keep in mind that refinancing isn't for everyone," she warns. "It's a decision you should make only after doing your homework and evaluating your situation." Some of the benefits and drawbacks of refinancing include:

PROS

  • Average federal loan interest rates hover between 4 and 7 percent, while federal loans are typically between 9 and 12 percent. By refinancing, however, students may be able to get a significantly lower interest rate.
  • Refinanced loans often offer a lower monthly payment than the original loan, thereby making it easier for borrowers to maintain their payments.
  • If you currently have a private loan that required a co-signer, refinancing often means you can release the co-signer from their responsibilities.

CONS

  • Longer repayment plans (say, moving from 10 to 20 years) often negate the benefits associated with lower interest rates, as students end up paying more in interest during the longer lifespan of the loan.
  • Refinanced loans don't offer any type of forgiveness, regardless of the chosen career. In fact, refinanced loans are still due even if you die, meaning any remaining funds must come out of your estate.
  • Unlike standard federal loans that can enter deferment or forbearance, refinanced loans offer no time off from payments – regardless of circumstances.

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ECMC Group appoints Diana J. Ingram to Board of Directors

January 3, 2018

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ECMC Group, a nonprofit corporation with a mission to help students succeed, today announced the appointment of Diana J. Ingram to its Board of Directors.

A technology leader with proven success in her field, Ingram has led and managed teams at prominent technology firms on a global scale. Currently leading technology consulting and business development at Oracle Consulting in Los Angeles, she spent many years at IBM with positions in global technology services, communications, and security, privacy and digital content management. Ingram also worked as the head of operations for IBT/Realtime.

"Diana's cross-functional strategic focus and background in technology will be extremely valuable to the Board of Directors and our management team as we pursue our mission," said John DePodesta, ECMC Group chairman of the Board. "As a forward-looking, growth-oriented organization, ECMC Group will benefit from Diana's strong leadership and the unique perspective and technological expertise she will bring to the Board, including her expertise in data and cyber security."

In addition to her corporate technology work, for the past 15 years, Ingram has generously given her time to a variety of organizations. Currently, Ingram is a board member for Goodwill of Southern California and the International Women's Forum, Southern California affiliate. She previously sat on the board of the Coalition for Clean Air, the Los Angeles Urban League and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles.

Ingram holds an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and a bachelor's degree in human biology from Stanford University.

About ECMC Group
ECMC Group is a nonprofit corporation with a mission to help students succeed. All companies in the ECMC Group family work together to fulfill this mission. ECMC Group and its affiliates invest heavily in programs promoting financial education, college access and college completion. ECMC Foundation, an ECMC Group affiliate, invests in improvements that affect educational outcomes—especially among underserved populations—through evidence-based innovation. ECMC Group affiliate Zenith Education Group is a U.S. nonprofit career education provider dedicated to promoting the long-term success of its students and graduates measured by program completion and job placement rates. Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) is a nonprofit ECMC Group affiliate that provides support for the administration of the Federal Family Education Loan Program as a student loan guaranty agency. For more information, go to www.ecmcgroup.org.

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Soledad O'Brien, husband make a good team for their PowHERful home life

January 2, 2018

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The following article is from StarTribune

The already immensely busy Emmy-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien wishes more of the young women who attend her "PowHERful" conferences would hit her up for reference letters.

I caught up with O'Brien at her recent 2017 Twin Cities PowHERful Summit at Marriott City Center.

The summit works with a foundation co-founded by O'Brien with her husband, Brad Raymond, to give financial assistance and mentoring to young women who want to complete college. ECMC Group is one of the summit's Twin Cities supporters.

This is Part 1 of my interview with the host of "Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien," her TV show for thought-provoking conversations about important issues. There will probably be two videos, including one where we discuss the interview subject who got away, her beloved Luther Vandross.

Q: Why do you love taking your PowHERful Summits all over the country?

A: You know, it's really fun to be with young women who have so much potential and are on the cusp of great things and to see them in all their confusion and all their anxiety and all their stress really trying to figure it out. And I love being able to gather women mostly, sometimes guys, to come and help them navigate the road ahead. I want them to know they don't have to reinvent the wheel. There are a lot of people around them who've made dumb mistakes, big mistakes, and who can help them avoid some mistakes on the path to what they really want to do.

Q: Do any of these girls ever track you down for recommendations, reference letters?

A: Absolutely. Yes, students track me down and ask for recommendations. I wish more would. We encourage that. The bigger heartbreak for me is that a young woman wouldn't. This is something they have done and committed to — it belongs on a résumé. This is something to talk about as you are thinking about applying to college. These are things that show your character if you are volunteering to come to a conference at 8 in the morning on a Saturday to learn how to be successful, how to underwrite your education, navigate spaces where you feel you don't belong and stick it out when quitting might be a reasonable option.

Q: Are we ever going to see Brad at one of these events? I know he's some of the money behind PowHERful.

A: More than the money, he's the sanity behind it. The money's good but the sanity of having someone say, "You know what, this is important. Do it." He's really good at that. The challenge rests with [having] four kids. So Brad's day-to-day is 8 o'clock lacrosse practice for our twin boys [Jackson and Charlie], which he has to sit through and then at 10 o'clock he has to grab them to take them across town to a clinic they are doing. After the clinic he's going to [take them] so they can finish up their school work. He's going to juggle. And then our daughters are also in school. He's going to watch a diving competition that Cecilia has, a squash competition that Sofia has. Cecilia's going to stay at school but coming home for the weekend because she is not feeling so well. Brad is doing yeomen's work on the personal stuff.

Q: Brad does more work than the average dad?

A: He's not a babysitter; he's that father of those children.

Q: It's called parenting, I know.

A: Exactly. I don't feel sorry for him. I am grateful that he looks at it as a shared experience. Listen, I will not lie to you, we have a ton of help. We have babysitters, I have an assistant who hops in to help, so we have zero complaining on this issue. What I appreciate is that he understands how valuable PowHERful is to me personally but as a whole to our nonprofit that we run. It's a really important element, so he does what he can to support it. Today that means literally from 6 a.m. 'til 10 p.m. Parenting 101.

Q: How often do you say "Matter of Fact" to your kids?

A: I really don't say it a lot because I think at [these ages] we're not dealing in facts; we're dealing in who's in charge. So "Who's in charge?" is something I probably quote a little bit more.

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ECMC to serve as third-party guarantor servicer for American Student Assistance

January 2, 2018

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Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) announced today that it has completed the conversion of the $28.6 billion loan portfolio from American Student Assistance (ASA). ASA will continue to serve as the guarantor for Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, with ECMC performing functional and operational guarantor work on ASA's behalf.

The conversion represents an expansion of ECMC's third-party guarantor offerings.

"The ECMC team is pleased to partner with ASA to provide its borrowers with high-quality, reliable service in the years ahead," said Jan Hines, president and CEO of ECMC. "Together, we will provide the tools its borrowers need to successfully repay their student loans."

Established in 1994, ECMC is one of the largest guarantors for the federal student loan program in the country. Since 1996, ECMC has acquired the guaranty agency portfolios of Virginia, Oregon, Connecticut, California, Tennessee and South Carolina. Additionally, since November 2015, ECMC has been performing third-party guarantor servicing on the College Assist portfolio.

"ASA is confident that our partnership with ECMC will enable our borrowers to continue receiving the service and support they need to complete their loan repayment journey" said Jean Eddy, president and CEO of ASA. "Leveraging ECMC's operational strengths enables us to focus on other innovative ways to create pathways for student success."

About American Student Assistance
American Student Assistance (ASA) is a national nonprofit with more than 60 years of experience working with students and borrowers to eliminate finance as a barrier to post-secondary education and the dreams this education enables. Visit asa.org to learn more about ASA.

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