Knowledge and Debt | IAT SmartDial® Solutions

Knowledge and Debt

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My son-in-law and daughter attend the University of Utah and Utah Valley University. I am pleased they are obtaining a higher education from fantastic universities. However, the past few weeks were extremely stressful for them because tuition was due. Quite frankly, I was appalled at the cost of their tuition! I was further shocked to learn about the cost of their textbooks. How can a textbook that will only be used for one class cost $220? (I’m in the wrong business.)

The economy and the society we live in demand well-educated people. If the upcoming generation is going to compete for higher wage jobs, they must be equipped with the skills to help them think, understand world economics and work alongside others. These required skills are what make attending a college or technical institution so crucial.

Unfortunately, today’s education is not without its price tag—a phenomenally large one.  A recent Collection Advisor article identified this dilemma, and the post’s intro really caught my attention:

“The Greek philosopher Epictetus once said, ‘only the educated are free.’ It is ironic that such freedom is anything but. Generations of students are often welcomed to the first stages of adulthood by the cost of their knowledge. These first dealings with debt shape a generation’s opinion of collection professionals and must be treated as such.” Student Loans Exceed a Trillion Dollars

The article featured interviews from leaders of companies collecting on delinquent student loans. Corey Bustrom, owner of Advantage Collection Professionals in Cambridge, MN, discussed the current situation for graduating students:

“The rising costs of education combined with the economic recession have put many consumers in a really bad place. Students coming out of school today not only have very large debt loads but they are also struggling to find jobs to repay the loans. Many students are forced to take jobs outside of their training and for far lower wages than they anticipated. This creates a situation that makes it difficult for the consumer to pay and in turn has made it worse for the collector, the lender, and the consumer.”

How can the ARM industry assist those facing such massive loans, just after graduation and even 10 or 15 years down the line? We can help graduates figure out how best to handle their payments and successfully pay the loan(s) off in a timely, but realistic manner.

A few suggestions for doing this:

  • Assign agent specialists to work student loan debt. These agents should be able to understand and effectively communicate with the current college generation.
  • Educate them on the process of paying, perhaps, their first debt.
  • Use reminder calls and keep them friendly.
  • Offer numerous payment options, particularly automated or online options.
  • Help them understand how paying their college debt will benefit them in the future, especially as they attempt to purchase their first home.
  • Change-up your contacting strategies.

Many students find a way to complete their college education without massive student loans. They work several jobs, earn scholarships or have family members who provide assistance.  I wish more college students could finish their degrees without being tied down with massive debt, but it doesn’t appear likely anytime soon.

The ARM industry has the expertise, tools and opportunity to educate students about their debt and guide them away from this burden by responsibly taking care of it. Eliminating this burden will make Greek philosopher Epictetus’ statement a reality: “only the educated are free.”


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This article was written by Dave R