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Keystone College first in Pa. to offer loan repayment for low-earning graduates

LRAP In The News October 19, 2016

Keystone College is a small liberal arts school in a rural area outside of the city of Scranton. No part of that preceding sentence screams “high earning potential.”

But for graduates of Keystone College, salary might not be the most important consideration when getting a job after graduation. Many students want to go into the non-profit world, become teachers or pursue careers in the arts. Others want to stay close to family in Northeastern Pennsylvania, even if it means taking a lower-paying job.

But wait, there’s loans

Where salary becomes a lot more relevant is when there are student loans on the table. That’s why Keystone College has launched the Keystone Commitment, a loan repayment program for graduates earning less than $40,000 a year. Keystone College is the first school in Pennsylvania to offer this loan repayment of this type to all students.

“The students would pay the loans, because they are in their name or their parents name and we want them to build good credit,” said Janine Becker, vice president for enrollment and marketing at Keystone College. “Then they would submit those payments for reimbursement at some level depending on their salary at that point.”

Graduates earning $20,000 or less would have their loan payments reimbursed fully, while those earning $30,000 would get 50 percent repaid. It’s a sliding scale up to $40,000. They can receive up to $70,000 in repayment, but the average Keystone College student graduates with $36,000 in debt.

The Keystone Commitment is funded through the college, at no additional cost to students. Tuition is about $24,000 a year. Because not every student has loans, and not every student will qualify for the reimbursement, Becker says this is a better investment than just skimming that amount off the top of tuition.

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