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ECMC Group introduces ECMC Education

New name feflects evolution of nonprofit provider of career and technical education

January 7, 2020

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MINNEAPOLIS—ECMC Group today announced that Zenith Education Group will become ECMC Education. The name change signifies an enhanced collaboration across the ECMC Group family of companies as well as future growth opportunities to support its mission of helping students succeed.

"Our work in the postsecondary education space, particularly in career and technical education, has become extremely robust within the various entities across our organization," said Jeremy Wheaton, president and CEO of ECMC Group. "Given our overall focus, it made sense to change the name to better reflect those synergies."

Zenith Education Group was formed when ECMC Group acquired a number of Corinthian College campuses in 2015, transitioning the schools to nonprofit and enhancing the program offerings to result in better student outcomes. The effort enabled more than 30,000 students to continue their education and resulted in savings for American taxpayers of an estimated $435 million in potential closed school losses. ECMC Group is the parent company to Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) and ECMC Foundation, as well as ECMC Education.

ECMC Education provides oversight and guidance to three reimagined, innovative career and technical schools under the brand of Altierus Career College, where students receive a blended, hands-on and interactive educational experience with holistic support services throughout the student journey, such as integrated professional skills development and emergency financial resources. ECMC Education is also focused on expanding its delivery of educational solutions through employer-driven upskilling programs and technology-enabled learning in innovative school formats.

"We are extremely proud of the work being done on our campuses, particularly the impressive student outcomes that have been achieved," said Todd Steele, president of ECMC Education. "While we remain committed to our original goals of increasing affordability and connecting our students to well-paying careers, we also are extremely focused on increasing educational access by deepening our relationships with business owners, policymakers and community-based organizations so that together we can pioneer new educational delivery methods that benefit our students, their employers and the communities at large."

About ECMC Education
ECMC Education is a nonprofit provider of educational solutions rooted in innovation, employer collaboration and industry stewardship to generate superior learner outcomes. The organization operates schools under the Altierus Career College brand and offers a range of training solutions designed to help learners achieve their educational goals as well as assist employers in solving talent and skill gaps.

About ECMC Group
ECMC Group is a nonprofit corporation with a mission to help students succeed. Headquartered in Minneapolis, ECMC Group and its family of companies provide financial tools and services, nonprofit career education and funding for innovative programs to help students achieve their academic and professional goals. For more information, visit

About ECMC Foundation
ECMC Foundation is a Los Angeles-based, nationally focused foundation whose mission is to inspire and to facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes—especially among underserved populations—through evidence-based innovation. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis. ECMC Foundation makes investments in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness; and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Working with grantees, partners and peers, ECMC Foundation's vision is for all learners to unlock their fullest potential. Learn more about ECMC Foundation by visiting and ECMC Group by visiting

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ECMC's Paula Craw appointed to Active Minds board of directors

December 9, 2019

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WASHINGTON D.C.—Paula Craw, vice president of student success and outreach for Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), has been appointed to the board of directors for Active Minds. ECMC is a nonprofit organization focused on helping students succeed through training and resources focused on financial literacy and college preparedness.

"Active Minds is incredibly fortunate to have Paula on our board," said Steve Lerman, Chairman, Active Minds. "Her keen understanding of the intersection of student debt and mental health make her a fantastic addition to our team."

Active Minds, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a national nonprofit dedicated to changing the conversation about mental health on college campuses. The organization aims to bring suicide and mental health out in the open so that no one struggles alone. Founded in 2003 by Alison Malmon, who lost her brother to suicide, Active Minds is operating on more than 500 college campuses. Campus chapters employ a peer-led approach with students serving as passionate advocates, stigma fighters and educators for mental health.

"The work done by Alison and the Active Minds team is critical, and their mission aligns with ECMC's efforts to help students succeed throughout college," Craw said. "I know firsthand what it's like to lose someone dear to you by suicide. Raising awareness and shining light in darkness for potentially vulnerable college students is incredibly important."

About Active Minds
Active Minds is the nation's premier nonprofit organization supporting mental health awareness and education for young adults. Active Minds has a presence on over 800 college, university, and high school campuses nationwide, and is powered by a robust Chapter Network, the nationally acclaimed Send Silence Packing® exhibit, and inspiring Active Minds Speakers. The organization is dedicated to ending the silence and changing the conversation about mental health for everyone. To learn more, visit

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What to do when your first student loan payment is due

The following article is from the Associated Press Newswires / The Washington Post

December 2, 2019

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The first student loan bills are arriving for the Class of 2019. If the grads are able to stick to the standard plan, they'll make payments every month for the next 10 years and be done with it.

But not all borrowers will knock out their loans so quickly. Among federal loan borrowers who began taking on debt in 2003-2004, just 1 in 4 had paid off their debt by 2015, according to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics. As for the students with debt remaining, about 39% were still in repayment.

This year's recent graduates can improve their odds by setting a plan now to pay back the debt and stay on track moving forward, no matter what obstacles pop up.

"A plan will alleviate the stress you feel when you're unsure about what life looks like after college, and you have this debt to pay," says Tracie Miller-Nobles, an associate professor at Austin Community College and a member of the American Institute of CPAs' Consumer Financial Education Advocates.

Get Details On All Loans

Don't wait to find out how much money you owe. There's a chance your bill won't arrive before your first due date, student loans experts say.

"Just because you don't get a bill doesn't mean you don't owe the money," says Betsy Mayotte, president and founder of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors.

For federal loans, go to the student aid website or the National Student Loan Data System. To find private debt, visit for a credit report, which lists private loan debt and the lender.

Once you know who holds the loans, call it to check or update your contact information. You can also create an online account to track payments.

Find the Right Repayment Plan

Your repayment goal should be to pay the least amount over time, Mayotte says. That's because the longer you pay off the loan, more interest will accumulate. For most borrowers, the standard 10-year repayment plan is the cheapest option.

For others, that may mean pursuing a loan forgiveness program, like Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which forgives federal loan debt after making 120 payments on an income-driven plan while working full-time for the government or a qualifying nonprofit.

High earners may pay off loans faster by asking their servicer to apply additional payments to their loan balance.

It's borrowers who face modest incomes or job uncertainty who have some thinking to do.

"There are a lot of options, and borrowers tend to get confused or distracted because there are so many options that aren't that drastically different," says Abril Hunt, outreach manager for ECMC, a nonprofit organization focused on student success.

Hunt recommends that borrowers who can't make payments on the standard plan try Revised Pay As You Earn, or REPAYE. It's the income-driven repayment plan that all graduates with federal loan borrowers can enroll in.

An income-driven repayment plan, like REPAYE, sets payments at a portion of your income, which can help fit them into your budget. You'll need to recertify your income each year. If you lose your job or don't have one yet, your payments could be as little as $0.

If you're not sure which plan to choose, use the Department of Education's repayment estimator to find out your payment on each plan.

Automate Payments

Once you've selected a plan, make sure you never miss a payment. Enroll in autopay, but be sure to have enough money in your bank account to cover those direct payments.

Autopay can save you money, too: All federal student loan servicers and most private lenders will reduce your interest rate by 0.25 percentage points when you enroll.

Have a Plan If You Run Into Trouble

If the worst happens — a costly medical emergency or job loss, for example — contact your servicer or lender as soon as possible. They can help you work out a short-term reduced payment plan, sign up for income-driven repayment or apply for a temporary postponement.

Pausing payments for a short period can give you breathing room. But interest may continue to grow, so try to pay the interest during this time to avoid higher debt.

Re-Evaluate Every Year

Your knee-jerk move might be to pick a plan with the lowest payment possible, Mayotte says.

"That might be the right thing to do for your first loan payments, but as your income grows and your living situation changes you don't want to leave it on autopilot," she says.

Set an annual reminder to reassess your repayment strategy. That could be tax time or when you recertify your income for an income-driven plan.

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ECMC assumes responsibility for loans guaranteed by Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)

December 2, 2019

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. Dec. 2, 2019—Effective December 1, Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) became the designated guaranty agency for the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) portfolio. Since the appointment of ECMC as the designated agency was made, ECMC has been working closely with FAME to ensure a smooth transition of services for students with outstanding loans made under FFELP.

"ECMC remains committed to providing high-quality customer service that FAME customers have come to expect," said Jan Hines, ECMC president and chief executive officer.

ECMC is the designated guarantor in Virginia, Oregon, Connecticut, California, Tennessee, South Carolina and Rhode Island, and the third-party guarantor servicer for five clients.

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Beyond 12, ECMC Announce Collaboration to Coach Nearly 200 College-Bound Students

Class of 2019 ECMC Scholars Receive Support to Thrive in College and Beyond

November 18, 2019

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Oakland, CA (November 18, 2019) — Beyond 12, the innovative college completion organization, and education nonprofit Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) announce a new collaboration designed to support nearly 200 college-bound students as they transition into, thrive, and graduate from their respective colleges and universities.

"We are thrilled to work with the ECMC Scholars Program to help so many talented, hard-working students achieve their dream of earning a college degree," explained Beyond 12 Founder and CEO Alex Bernadotte. "I am looking forward to using our coaching platform—which combines our dynamic human coaches, our campus-specific MyCoach mobile app, and our back-end predictive and prescriptive analytics engine—to ensure that the students we are honored to serve together thrive in college and beyond."

The ECMC Scholars Program works with high school students who have potential. By providing extra support during their junior and senior years of high school, students develop strong academic and personal skills. Working with their team, including their high school and ECMC, students learn how to be successful in getting to and through postsecondary education. In addition, students who successfully complete the ECMC Scholars Program can benefit from up to $6,000 in scholarship support for their postsecondary education.

"We are proud to work with Beyond 12, an organization that shares our deep commitment to college access and success," said Sabrina Berg, ECMC's Scholars Program manager. "This collaboration provides our scholars with near-peer support from trained coaches who understand the challenges of higher education every step of the way."

Recognizing that students require additional support in the transition to college, the work of Beyond 12 expands the investment in students with additional mentorship and guidance.

Through a student-tracking platform and a personalized student coaching service, Beyond 12 works with high schools, college access programs, and colleges to provide their students with the academic, social, and emotional support they need to succeed in higher education. Today, 85 percent of students who are coached by Beyond 12 for four years either persist or graduate from college by their sixth year, as compared to 56 percent of first-generation college students nationwide.

Both ECMC and Beyond 12 bridge the gap between K-12 and postsecondary education for students who may not otherwise enroll and complete a degree or certificate program at a college, university, or career and technical education center. Beyond 12's innovative coaching model and data tracking will reinforce ECMC's financial and high school mentoring expertise to support students as they navigate challenges to prepare for and succeed in college.

This collaboration with ECMC is just one component of Beyond 12's bold strategy to coach one million historically underrepresented college students annually by 2025.

About Beyond 12

br> Beyond 12 is a high-tech, high-touch coaching platform that helps high schools, college access programs, and colleges provide their students with the academic, social, and emotional support they need to succeed in higher education. Founded by Alexandra Bernadotte in 2009, Beyond 12 works to dramatically increase the number of historically under-represented students who graduate from college. For more information about Beyond 12, visit

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