Smacked by the reality of student loans

By Amanda Franzen–As one of the many graduating seniors, I recently discovered the stressful experience of sitting through the Iowa Student Loans financial meeting.  The program has good intentions but comes up short.

The intentions of this meeting are wonderful.  It is highly beneficial for students to know how much money they owe and the ins and outs of loan repayment.  Much of the information they express in the meeting is vital to our post-graduation lives.  However, the execution of this program was lacking.

The meeting was 45 minutes of information being tossed to us at a rapid fire pace.   All of this information is highly beneficial.  It would be even more helpful if it would have been explained to us on a level that students could understand. Most students graduating from college have little knowledge of the process of extensive loans and loan repayment. Many of us would have preferred a longer meeting that explained our options in detail as compared to the quick version.

A frustrating aspect to this meeting was that a large portion of this information would have been beneficial as a freshman in college rather than a senior.  Some of the presentation was about learning how to borrow intelligently and paying attention to the interest rates loans offer.

The presenter also informed people that the best way to keep interest down is to pay on loans while still in college.  I was lucky enough to have parents who helped me with this process.  However, by the exasperated expressions on several of my classmates’ faces I could tell they were not privy to such information.

I think that students should become more informed throughout their time as college students about the loan processes.  I know it seems lame and uninteresting for most students to learn about the world of loans, but boring or not it is important.

There should be a more progressive stance by the school to stress the importance of students understanding their loans.  I know several of my classmates and I were smacked by reality, and it is rather unpleasant.  It should be a gradual progression as compared to a giant shock.

My advice to all students is to be aware of the loan process.  Yes, it is boring.  However, it is necessary.  Take matters into your own hands to seek out information because a 45 minute meeting induces more panic than enlightenment.

April 25, 2010