Students gain access to new financial education program

Scott Buffon, News Editor

Santa Barbara City College made a deal with American Student Assistance to provide the financial education program, SALT, for students and alumnus.

The program gives students a lifetime membership to SALT‘s financial services. It includes loan education and counseling, job search assistance and retail discounts on school supplies.

“All of this is free for Santa Barbara City College students,” said Brad Hardinson, director of financial aid. “Not just financial aid students– every student at the college applies.”

The college is paying $10,000 a year for access to the SALT program. The program justifies spending money on their services by pointing out that a grant or scholarship of the same price would not be available to as many students.

“We sent all students an email,” said Hardinson. “You just sign up and you’re a member for the rest of your life.”

Students can sign up for the program by visiting the registration page attached to saltmoney.org. They ask for name, email and school name.

This access will last even after they graduate from City College.

The program uses loan counselors to help students with any questions they may have about their personal finances. The college gave SALT access to reports that shows if students are paying their loans or not.

“They will be getting reports about students who might not be paying their loans,” Hardinson said. “They will be contacting students at various stages in the loan payment process to offer them assistance. The information they have access to about our students’ payments is all kept confidential.”

To access their scholarship services, one must enter more specific information in a six-step survey. SALT will help them look for job and internship opportunities based on location, compensation and major.

Students can see the goals the program has set for them to learn using their Money Coach section. These achievements include “Learn the Basics,” “Make a Large Purchase” and “Pay My Bills.”

Once members begin to explore an achievement, they will see links to info graphics, articles or videos that will help them achieve these goals and become more economically savvy.

The program hopes to benefit students’ concepts of money management, but they also aim to make a more direct impact on their wallets.

“There are discounts for students,” said Hardinson. “[They] have partnered with businesses like [Hewlett-Packard] and office supply stores so students can get discounts on toner cartridges, printers and other school supplies.”

SALT representatives are exploring many different avenues to get students to sign up, including adding their services to a class’s curriculum.

“We’re going to continue doing marketing,” said Hardinson. “We have some banners we’re going to put up, we’re going to start some tabling, one of the marketing classes is going to do a public relations plan for SALT.”

Hardinson believes that it is a great service that all of City College’s students should access.

“There are lots of tools,” said Hardinson. “I don’t see why students shouldn’t sign up.”

Superintendent-President Dr. Lori Gaskin strongly supports the SALT program and urges students to be as smart as possible in this tough financial time.

“There are so many fiscal pressures on students right now,” said Gaskin. “The last thing we want to see is our students leave SBCC with is a large assemblage of debt.”

Students can sign up online at saltmoney.org.