SALT Program adds spice to personal finance education

© Joey Khan Photography

© Joey Khan Photography

Stephanie Santora, a senior communication major, has a fear of graduating and paying off the loans she has acquired over her four years of college. Her eyes grew wide when she learned that Seton Hall offers a program  to help relieve some of this stress for students.

That program is known as SALT.

SALT is a nationwide initiative that SHU partnered with in April 2015 to help provide financial education and support to students. Last year was the program’s first full year on campus.

The University is paying an annual fee to make sure students have tools that help them understand financial planning, money management, smart borrowing, and job and internship searches.

Information on the program has been distributed through the University Life course with help from Freshman Studies.
The program is available to students when they enroll and even after they graduate.

“If I knew it existed, I would have definitely taken advantage of it,” Santora said, and added that she will be trying out the program.

Dr. Alyssa McCloud, vice president of Enrollment Management, and creator and advocate for the partnership with SALT, referred to this project as her “baby” because of her investment in making this program available to students.

“We want our students to be educated. We want them to be informed borrowers,” McCloud said. “A lot of people have problems because they don’t know how to manage their money. We wanted to make sure we are equipping students for their life.”

Students can create or log into their SALT account under PirateNet. Once logged in, students can click on the “Profile and Finances” tab to take them to the “Managing Your Money” header. The SALT web link can be found there.

On SALT’s homepage, there are tools and modules, as well as loan help, resources and SALT courses on finances and student loans.

McCloud suggested that every student should take the SALT courses, formerly known as Money 101. This includes online lessons in budgeting, educational planning, student loan repayment, debt management, risk management, and more.

Andrew Minegar, director of Communication Services and Information Systems for Enrollment Services, provided data on the total amount of students enrolled in each class level.

According to Minegar, as of Sept. 12 there are 193 graduates enrolled in SALT out of the 3,026 students. There are 167 seniors out of the entire class of 1,415 and there are 177 juniors out of 1,261. Minegar added that 787 sophomores out of 1,425 are enrolled and 1,034 freshmen out of 1,836.

McCloud explained that SALT could benefit those soon to be graduating, yet many are unaware of the program.
“There are a number of people who do use SALT, but because it’s brand new a lot of people don’t use it,” McCloud said, adding that the program could be more utilized. “I understand when you are a student there is a lot going on. I understand that it is hard for this to be a priority. I would like more people to take advantage of this.”

McCloud expects that more students will learn about the program each year.

Kathleen McQuarrie, a sophomore public relations major, learned about the program last year in her University Life class.

“When I graduate I am going to have way too many loans. It’s something people don’t consider until afterward,” McQuarrie said. “It’s better to have information and know how to deal with it now.”

Through advertising campaigns, McCloud and her team are spreading awareness about the program this year.

“People have the impression that offices like Financial Aid are sometimes not advocating for them. But that’s what we try to do,” McCloud said. “If I had a bag of money under my desk I would give more money to every student, but it doesn’t work that way. So we try to educate students to the best we can.”

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Author: Siobhan McGirl

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