Webinar provides Cal U students useful tips on how to pay for college and manage student loans


Sara Zacherl, Contributor

At a webinar about paying for college on Tuesday, a guest speaker talked to students about some ways to pay for college and manage student loans.

Brian Stone, a policy analyst for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, talked to students for an hour about managing student loan debt.

Everyone should “understand your situation,” said Stone. There aren’t necessarily better or worse situations, there are just situations, and you need to understand what’s best for you as an individual in these situations, according to Stone.

Some general tips that Stone has are to “Do your research before you do anything,” and “Pay more than what’s required if you can.”

Before you change payments, you should ask your loan servicer these two questions, according to Stone, “Will this cause capitalization? How will this impact loan forgiveness?”

One important concept that everyone who has loans should understand is capitalization, according to Stone. Capitalization happens when payments are paused for any reason. The interest a loan has accrued gets combined with the principal amount of a loan, so the interest begins earning interest itself, according to Stone.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a “U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly,” according to their website. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is one of newest bureaus, and it’s only about 10 years old, according to Stone.

“We would like students to leave with an improved understanding of how to minimize and most effectively pay off their student debt,” said Jamey Roberti, the Title III Project Manager at California University of Pennsylvania, about why they hold these webinars.

“While the event not only provides students with improved understanding of how to minimize and most effectively pay off their student debt, it also provided them a platform to ask a financial expert any questions regarding the topic. The speakers also provided digital resources that the student may have otherwise not received,” said Roberti. Some of these resources are booklets, which can be found on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website.

“The most important point was that interest and student debt can add up quickly, and you have to have a payment plan in place so you don’t become overwhelmed. As a non-traditional student, I already knew most of the content presented, so it was more like a refresher course for me,” said Nicole Hummel, a senior at Cal U, who attended the webinar.

Stone also talked about how to pursue loan forgiveness. There are very specific stipulations when it comes to qualifying, so anyone who is interested in loan forgiveness should do their research beforehand, and make payments accurately, according to Stone.

The organizers expected 26 students to attend the webinar, but only 13 did, according to Roberti.

If anyone is looking for more information about student loans and how to manage them, they can visit the CFPB’s website, or the Department of Education’s website.