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By CCW Staff  /  
2015 August 24 - 08:51 pm

Kansas Schools Try To Help Students Limit Their Debt

Financial Literacy Now Part Of Classroom Instruction

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Higher education schools in Salina have been working with students to improve their financial knowledge and manage their student debt.

“We’re not just about hair, skin and nails,” said Len Melvin, marketing director for Hays Academy of Hair Design, which has operations in Hays and Salina. “Topics we go over include student loans, what kind of loans there are, what their repayment schedule will be — and how to set up a budget around that.”

Kansas State University Salina is also launching a new program this fall, called “uBelong,” intended to prepare incoming students for college, including financial literacy and student loans, The Salina Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1U3K9vx ).

The Hays Academy’s 47-week cosmetology program costs about $14,000. The typical student borrows about $9,800.

“People don”t come here thinking about business and finance,” Melvin said. “They come here because they want to do hair. We think personal and business success first, hair second.”

Susan Eberwein, vice president of student services and financial aid at Salina Area Technical College, said the school seeks to work with students to only borrow what they need.

“But some think they have the world figured out and borrow more,” she said. “Some borrow more than they need (for tuition and supplies) and then come back with a check for the extra amount and pay it back.”

Verna Fitzsimmons, CEO and dean of Kansas State University Salina, said about 70 percent of K-State Salina students are the first generation in their family to attend college.

“That means they don’t have anybody at home they can turn to for advice on navigating college, including loans,” she said. “That’s what uBelong is supposed to help with.”

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