High School Financial Literacy Programs Address Student Debt
Steve Adubato talks with a panel of individuals working to find the most effective ways to tackle student loan debt. Topics include the need for financial literacy courses at the high school level to help parents and students understand ways to pay for college. Guests include Roger J. Michaud, Senior VP & Director, College Savings, Franklin Templeton Investments; Dr. Nancy H. Blattner, President, Caldwell University; Jennifer Rodriguez, Graduate Student, Rutgers University and Kim Cole, Community Engagement Manager, Navicore Solutions.
"Welcome to Caucus, I'm Steve Adubato. Student loan debt impacts the entire country. From students trying to pay their own way to parents helping their child during a time when they really should be thinking about retirement. Right here in the studio to discuss ways we can help students and parents make the best choices for the future, we have back again, Doctor Nancy Blattner, who is President of Caldwell University, Jennifer Rodriguez is a graduate student attending Rutgers University, Kim Cole is Community Engagement Manager at Navicore Solutions, and finally, Roger Michaud, who's been with us before, back again, talking about money and higher ed, Senior Vice President and Director of College Savings at Franklin Templeton Investments. Good to have you all with us talking about college debt. Roger, let me ask you this. How serious is the college debt problem in this nation? It's massive. Student loan debt now exceeds 1.4 trillion dollars. On average, a college graduate today is leaving that university with over thirty thousand dollars in student loan debt. Thirty? That's right. How much higher is that or worse than that than 10-15 years ago? Significantly higher. Schools are much costlier today than they were 10-15 years ago and I think as we continue to look at the projections, college costs will continue to rise and many families are going to be forced to take on more debt. Nancy, you were on our other program looking at college affordability. This is a natural, I don't even know if it's a segway, but it's part of a larger discussion. What do you do? What do your colleagues do to try to...? And is it...? A loaded question I know, is it your responsibility to be thinking about the debt that students graduate with and what that means in their lives? I do think it's part of our responsibility and we try to do a number of things. We provide a lot of financial literacy counseling to incoming students and to their parents so that they work individually and they meet in groups to talk about the difference between a loan and a grant and what it means if they take an unsubsidized loan and so forth so that students and their families are aware of what the debt level will be. We also try to provide really, I think aggressive, what I would call aggressive advising so that students, once they've decided upon a major, they're taking courses that lead them toward their degree completion. That doesn't mean that they can't dabble in electives or try a course that they might like, but try to focus them so that..."