Creative college program offers students financial windfall

As we have outlined before — and as many media outlets have noted — college students are struggling to handle their debt. It’s not entirely their fault, mind you. Rising tuition rates and a tough job market make it very difficult for a graduating student to pay off their loan debt. Declaring for bankruptcy can help these graduates, allowing them to clear other debts to give them some financial breathing room, which can be used to focus on paying off their student loan debt.

But the actual debt incurred from student loans is nearly impossible to discharge through bankruptcy. This puts a lot of stress of students, and it can make some question the viability of a college education. Either a new law needs to be drafted that allows such debt to be discharged through bankruptcy, or colleges need to start coming up with inventive programs to deal with the issue. 

The latter has been employed by a private school in Michigan, which will start paying talented students who obtain internships or off-campus research opportunities. But that isn’t the biggest step — the school, Alma University, will also pay for a student’s schooling beyond the fourth year.

Now, certain requirements must be met to qualify for such a program. Alma University won’t be paying for a deadbeat student to cruise through the first four years doing minimal work. However, it is an intriguing program that few universities across the nation utilize. It could end up benefiting the school and its students in the long run. 

Source: Detroit Free Press, “Mindful of debt, Alma College to pay for 5th year,” David James, Jan. 1, 2013

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