November 13, 2015
Many college students struggle when it comes to money, be that with student budgeting or figuring out the intricacies of financial aid. Because of this financial illiteracy, Hamilton has implemented SALT, a comprehensive financial literacy service. The college has partnered with SALT for a three year pilot and is now available to all Hamilton students.
Hamilton first introduced this program to first-years during orientation through mandatory financial literacy sessions, which Director of Financial Aid, and SALT K. Cameron Feist conducted along with a member of SALT. Just last week, through an email blast from Feist, the remainder of the school received information about registering for the service. While the service isn’t mandatory, Feist is hopeful and optimistic that all students will eventually enroll.
SALT’s goal is simple: to educate students about how to create and live on a budget. Feist spent two years investigating different financial literary services, ultimately landing with SALT as the group that most met the college’s needs. While the initial pilot period is for three years, Feist is fairly certain that Hamilton will continue to use the service in the future. SALT will also be available after graduation for those students who sign up for the service during college.
Although Feist sees SALT as a service that can benefit all students, there are some specific benefits to Hamilton students who receive financial aid. Feist states, “For students who receive loans, SALT has a specific function that will allow Hamilton students to link their federal student loans from the NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System) to SALT, which will serve as a web-based platform to manage their educational debt. SALT will help students understand what their repayment options are, and even offers loan counseling services to students online, or over the phone.” Although there are these specific advantages for students with financial aid, Feist does not want to detract from the service’s mass appeal. Feist urges, “Most importantly, we can all benefit from learning how to create and live on a budget, and through that education I would hope that students would become more active and responsible participants in the process of applying and receiving financial aid.”
Specific services include modules, reference articles, worksheets, and a platform that will enable students to manage their loans. Feist included, “Even if a Hamilton student graduates without taking on any educational loan debt, when they go to purchase a car, a house, etc. they can use this platform as a tool to help them manage their debt and create plans to pay it off. “
Feist, along with the rest of Hamilton, hopes to see SALT take off and help all students with their financial situations. It is a helpful resource that the student body should take advantage of and have at their disposal in the years of adulthood that await.