Some universities trying to discourage student loans

In an effort to reduce student loan default rates, some colleges and universities are launching programs to improve student-loan literacy and, in a few cases, offer other kinds of financial assistance to students so they don’t get too deep into debt, says the Hechinger Report. Syracuse University, for instance, identifies students who are over-borrowing from private lenders and helps them stop by giving them direct grants for future semesters averaging $5,000 to $7,000 per year. Called the Money Awareness Program, the initiative has reduced the average debt of about 100 students each in their sophomore, junior and senior year by $21,000 each. In exchange, recipients are required to attend money-management courses once a semester until they graduate. Alvernia University, a Catholic liberal-arts college in Pennsylvania where 86 percent of undergraduates have some type of loan averaging about $10,000, requires that all of its incoming students take an hour-long financial management seminar…

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