When it comes to college, many students take out loans to help. In a way to help students understand student loans and make more informed decisions about debt, Lansing Community College has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to participate in an experimental project.
LCC is among 51 postsecondary institutions selected by the U.S. Department of Education to be a part of the Loan Counseling Experiment, which is through the department’s Experimental Sites Initiatives.
The experiment will study the effectiveness of providing additional loan counseling to student borrowers beyond the standard entrance and exit counseling. As a participant, LCC will test the impact of required loan counseling on two random groups of borrows.
One group will complete additional loan counseling as a condition of receiving their loan funds, and the second group will not receive additional loan counseling beyond what they received as first-time borrowers.
"We're proud to have been selected to participate in an experimental project that looks to improve financial literacy," said LCC Chief Financial Officer, Donald Wilske in a release. "We're keenly aware of the importance of offering financial literacy opportunities, and are committed to ensuring each student has the resources they need to understand their options and obligations when it comes to student loans."
Wilske said the additional loan counseling through the Experimental Site Initiative will help strengthen LCC's financial literacy efforts that include default prevention services, partnerships with local financial institutions for literacy education and planning, web resources for loan management and information, expanded curriculum for first-year students, and community events and seminars. He added that LCC is also increasing staff to provide individualized support and advising for students.
The release states that in 2015-16, 60 percent of students attending LCC received more than $50 million in federal, state, private and institutional aid, with 5,200 students receiving Federal Direct Loans totaling nearly $26 million. The College has 1,500 freshman first-time borrowers, making more than 3,000 borrowers eligible for the experiment over the next several years.
"LCC is uniquely positioned to work closely with the Department of Education throughout this experiment," Wilske said. "We're committed to student success and making college more affordable and accessible for students and their families."