Avoid a personal student loan crisis

Student loans have become a crisis for many who find themselves with overwhelming debt. How did this happen? At Iowa Student Loan, we counsel people in this situation every day who:

• Attended a college that cost more than they had ability to pay.

• Had few resources other than loans to pay for college.

• Didn’t finish college or didn’t obtain a job that pays enough to support their loan payments.

Iowa Student Loan provides a suite of smart borrowing tools that help students and families avoid too much debt. These tools are free to use at www.IowaStudentLoan.org.

All families can take steps to create affordable, good outcomes from college, including:

1. Earning free community college credits during high school.

2. Saving money in advance.

3. Having students in college work, live like poor college students and avoid extra years to graduate.

4. Focusing on colleges the family can afford.

5. Having students borrow less than the maximum for which they are eligible. Parents who need to borrow should consider the lower interest rate loans offered by nonprofit providers.

We encourage students and families to make wise choices to avoid being overwhelmed by a personal student loan crisis.

Tammy Bramley and Steve McCullough

West Des Moines

— Bramley is board vice chair and McCullough is CEO of Iowa Student Loan, a nonprofit student loan provider in West Des Moines that provides customer service for student loan borrowers. Its board of directors is appointed by the Iowa governor.

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