August 4

College students can learn how to be ‘Ready to Earn’

 

Lisa Roberts, a certified counselor from Consumer Credit Counseling Service, is eager to help college students become Ready to Earn.

Lisa Roberts, a certified counselor from Consumer Credit Counseling Service, is eager to help college students become Ready to Earn.

As student debt soars to such levels that half of all students question the value of a college education, Consumer Credit Counseling Service is offering all local college students practical ways to manage their money, debt and credit.

The new Ready to Earn program can help students as they prepare to start college, as they graduate into the working world and anytime they need assistance in planning and managing the seemingly overwhelming expense.

“With the proper training and guidance from an accredited financial counseling agency like CCCS, students are better able to handle such debts,” said Melodee Sheils, Director of the local nonprofit Consumer Credit Counseling Service.

Sinclair Community College students can get help from Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) staff when they visit the financial aid office this month. During August, CCCS counselors have an information table right outside the financial aid office on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students can get some basic advice, sign up for informative workshops or even arrange for in-depth one-on-one counseling.

“We want to help students learn how to manage their finances so they can be successful,” said Teresa Parker, Manager of the Center for Student Success at Sinclair Community College. Most students start college with very little understanding of credit and debt, she said.

All current, prospective and recent college students can seek help through the Ready to Earn program by contacting 1-800-377-2432 or  cccs@graceworks.org or visiting graceworks.org/CCCS.

Two-thirds of college seniors who graduated in 2011 had student loan debt, according to a report by the Institute for College Access and Success Project on Student Debt (www.ticas.org).

Ohio college student debt averaged $28,683 after four years for recent college graduates, the ninth-highest average in the nation and exceeding the national average of $26,600, according to the study. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for young college graduates was 8.8 percent in 2011.

Students can register for workshops or one-on-one assistance from certified counselors of CCCS, including how to:

  • Establish healthy credit
  • Understand financing for college and personal expenses
  • Budget and manage personal expenses
  • Manage debt already accumulated, and correct defaults

Counselors can help students evaluate choice of career versus affordability of college, as well as the types of student loans available and options for repayment. CCCS counselors can also help persons assess their debt situation, call lenders, develop a budget and build a plan.

Just half of Americans said they think college is “still a good investment” in 2013, compared ?to 81 percent in 2008, according the recent COUNTRY Financial Security Index.

“By providing the right tools, students gain the skills to make sound financial decisions that ensure a stable financial future,” said Sheils. “Because our certified counselors work in an independent, nonprofit, accredited financial counseling agency, students can trust our services.”

To learn more about Ready to Earn and other CCCS programs, contact 1-800-377-2432 or  cccs@graceworks.org or visit graceworks.org/CCCS. The website offers a number of learning and assessment tools to help individuals decide how to improve personal financial management and manage their debts.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service, with offices in Moraine, Sidney and Springfield, is provided by Graceworks Lutheran Services, a nonprofit organization for residential and community care services, based in Centerville.