Four Ways to Extend Your Reach by Working
Submitted by: Linda Athearn, USA Funds Services, (866) 497-8723, Ext. 8014
To promote debt-management and fiscal responsibility, many financial-aid
administrators work hard to provide students with information and tools to
prepare them for life after college. This effort can continue beyond students’ graduation,
and your campus’ alumni-relations office can be an important partner
in the process.
USA Funds®’ Debt-Management Team suggests the following four strategies
that financial-aid and alumni-relations offices could team up to employ in
educating graduates about sound money management:
- Developing guides for life after college. The alumni association of
one postsecondary institution employing this tactic sees its graduating
as more than a recruitment ground for new members. The alumni association
also sees a need to educate graduating students about the financial and
practical challenges of life after college. All of the school’s 2002
graduates received a booklet that covered the following topics:
- Finding affordable housing
- Obtaining the right health, car and renters' insurance
- How to be successful during the first year in the workplace
- Assisting with young-alumni groups. A growing trend with alumni associations
is to develop groups of alumni who have been out of school 10 years
or less. Like the guides for life after college, young-alumni groups focus
related to issues important to this age group. Some topics include
The financial-aid office and alumni association can coordinate efforts
to provide materials or programs to this audience about student-loan-repayment
options, deferment, forbearance, loan consolidation and budgeting. Your
alumni-relations office can tell you whether a young-alumni group has
been established on your campus.
- Auto financing
- House-buying tips
- Retirement planning
- Financial management
- Student-loan repayment
- Career management
- Planning special reunion-event programming. Reunion events are a good
way to mix personal-enrichment programs with a visit to the alma
mater. Many schools now offer a programming series as part of class-reunion
festivities. Financial-aid staff could partner with the alumni association
to offer a program about alumni giving, career-planning strategies,
and savings and retirement planning.
For information about whether programming is offered to alumni, and whether
you can include money-management information in the programming,
check with your alumni-relations office.
- Including debt-management information in alumni mailings. Alumni
often receive mailings from the school several times during the year, updating
them about the latest campus news and soliciting funds for the school.
By working with alumni relations, financial-aid staff can contribute
money-management information to these mailings.
If your campus'
alumni-relations office sends a newsletter to graduates,
your financial-aid office can offer to supply articles to the newsletter
on a regular basis. Topics of these articles could be targeted
based on age, so alumni receive information that is likely to be relevant
Some topics include the following:
- Student-loan repayment
- Saving and paying for college
- Scholarship-search techniques
Relationships built between financial-aid and alumni-relations offices can
bring tremendous value to both offices. The financial-aid office benefits
by being able to educate constituents, beyond the confines of campus, about
issues that could affect the school’s default rate. The alumni-relations
office benefits by having alumni who are better educated about financial
matters and may be more inclined to give financial contributions to the school.