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College offering loan repayment program

December 17, 2018
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Kuyper College campus students
Kuyper College, founded in 1939, is a Christian school in northeast Grand Rapids that teaches students to "make a difference in God's world." Photo via fb.com

A local college is introducing a post-graduation loan repayment program based on salary.

Beginning next fall, all Kuyper College incoming freshmen will be automatically enrolled in the Kuyper Loan Repayment Assistance Program at no cost to them.

Once those students graduate, those making between $20,000 and $37,000 will receive assistance on a sliding scale with repaying all federal and private student loans and Parent PLUS loans, according to Ken Capisciolto, VP for advancement, Kuyper College.

It will offer full monthly repayments for those making less than $20,000.

Assistance under the program will last until the loans are fully repaid or graduates earn an income greater than $37,000.

Upon enrollment at Kuyper, students will receive a letter specifying the lower and upper income thresholds that determine how much assistance they could receive after graduation.

Funds for the program come from the Bloomington, Indiana-based LRAP Association, a private organization dedicated to helping graduates with “modest” incomes repay their loans, meant to promote higher education by easing the fear of post-graduation debt.

Each college using the program pays a varying fee to the organization for each enrolled student, which contributes to a pool of funds — similar to insurance business models — used toward loan repayment for any qualified graduate, according to Justin Gillmar, VP of marketing, LRAP Association.

Capisciolto said the LRAP Association “technically … doesn’t provide the funding” because of the fees from the college, but he would not disclose the fee amounts Kuyper College has agreed to pay for each student.

The LRAP Association would not disclose the names of any other colleges involved in the program or any college’s fee amounts.

While there are other colleges in Michigan using the program, Gillmar confirmed Kuyper is the only one in the state offering it to every freshman student. He said many colleges using the program offer varying versions to select students and choose not to publicize the program.

The total cost for one full-time year at the college is $29,274, including $21,314 for tuition, $7,285 for room and board and $675 in fees.

Kuyper College President Patricia Harris said the decision to use the program is a response to student debt concerns.

“It empowers our students to study in their desired field with more confidence that student loans will be manageable after graduation,” Harris said.

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