Program brings students, alumni financial literacy

Melanie Todd, Staff writer

Mercyhurst University is the first school in Northwest Pennsylvania to offer American Student Assistance’s SALT services to its students and alumni.

SALT is a program of American Student Assistance, a nonprofit that works toward educating students in financial responsibility. Services for the program include loan information, financial literacy, scholarship searches and career services.

“We’re looking to see what we can do to help students with their loan debt, but also financial literacy in general. Loan debt is a big factor,” Jeff Lasky, student financial services counselor, said.

The program’s website offers informational articles and videos, search tools for scholarships, jobs and internships as well as chat options to ask questions to SALT experts and a SALT Community to discuss topics with peers.

“It’s free to all students, no cost,” Lasky said.

The services available are useful to current students, including those at the North East campus and alumni. Tools such as the “Master Money” section are available to help students start saving and budgeting now so that they are prepared after graduation.

“Financial literacy is the main goal. Borrow smarter, take advantage of those scholarships and grants so you don’t have to borrow as much,” Lasky said.

When students start exploring and learning about finances and their options now, they are more prepared for what they face when they graduate.

“What you can do is you can find out exactly what you owe in student loans,” said Lasky. “SALT pulls your information from the Department of Education and you can keep track of your debt.”

Every student has a different situation and needs to understand their personal financial situation. It is their responsibility from when they initiate the loan until it is paid in full.

“There are many different repayment plans out there and SALT can help figure out which is right for that particular student at that particular time,” Lasky said.

Each student has the opportunity to sign up for a free account with SALT and access to SALT will never expire.

“If a student is having problems with their loans in the future, SALT is a tool to prevent them from becoming delinquent and going into default,” Lasky said.

SALT is a valuable tool for everything from life after graduation skills such as loan repayment and career search services to universal financial information such as credit score information and budgeting.

“The whole purpose is to help students whether you are a freshmen, senior or alumni; to help you learn a little more,” Lasky said.