Speaker offers financial aid tips

Maggie Wachtel

Associate Director of Student Financial Aid Sylvia Bustard spoke to Kent State students Tuesday night in the Schwartz Center about student loans and borrowing.

Bustard said Kent State students borrows around $27,000 on average to fund their college education. Bustard said many of students are defaulting on their student loans, meaning when they leave Kent State, they’re not paying back the money they borrowed.

“Think before you borrow, and only borrow what you need,” Bustard said.

Bustard said students can avoid trouble with loans by graduating on time. Kent State has implemented a maximum time frame. When students have earned an excessive of 188 credit hours but still do not have a degree, they are cut off from receiving any future financial aid.

According to Pew Research Center, only 56 percent of students are earning college degrees within six years.

“If you’re not graduating on time, you need to think about the financial implications that go along with that,” Bustard said. “I don’t think a lot of students realize the consequences.”  

Freshman middle childhood education major, Jamee Markulis, found the information about financial aid limits beneficial.

“I had no idea that financial aid money could run out,” Markulis said. “It’s definitely something I will pay attention to.”

To push students to graduate on time, Kent State has started an initiative called “Got 15?” which challenges student to make sure they are enrolled in at least 15 credit hours a semester, in order to stay on track to graduate.

Another issue with student loans comes in the form of a refund check. Students receive refund checks from the university when they overestimate how much money they need to borrow. Refund checks are supposed to be used for school related purchases, like books, room and board, and transportation.

Bustard encourages students to think wisely when spending their refund.

“That refund money is borrowed,” Bustard said. “It’s money you’re going to have to pay back and pay interest on eventually.” 

Maggie Wachtel is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].