The Student Debt Project combines financial literacy education, jobs and mentorships to create a pathway for students to graduate with little to no debt.
McPherson College matches a percentage of every dollar students contribute to their education while they are in the program. Dedicated community mentors are supporting our students as they balance work, education, and life during their college career, as well as providing financial management skills for a lifetime.
Debt Project Profiles
"For every dollar I earn, the college matches it with a quarter."Francisco Montoya, Sophomore
Francisco says being willing to work is a big part of the program but thinks that the support he receives from his mentor and working with other students in a small group is just as valuable. The things he has learned about creating and sticking to a budget are things he will use the rest of his life.
"The school is really investing in me. They are prepping me to be the best person I can be."Zaya Carson, Freshman
Zaya appreciates the financial literacy education she is receiving as part of the Student Debt program. She is learning about setting realistic expectations, credit card management, and budgeting. It all helps her feel independent and confident about her future.
“We are going to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and no debt.”Jake and Jared Curtis, Sophomores
By taking advantage of scholarships and participating in the Student Debt Project, twin brothers Jake and Jared Curtis expect to graduate with no student debt.
“I’ve been able to cut my tuition debt in half."Kylee Martin, Senior
Kylee entered the Student Debt Project as a sophomore. "It’s nice knowing that I don’t have to ask my parents for money. I even have some money saved for emergencies, and I’ve learned things that I will use the rest of my life."
The Student Debt Project is designed for students who are committed to working part-time (15-25 hours/week for 52 weeks) while earning their degree. McPherson College will match student earnings applied to their account at $.25 per dollar. Proof of income is required and only student earnings can be matched not funds provided by parents or other monetary gifts.
Students may work on campus but the earning potential is limited to the current student rate of pay where off-campus jobs often pay more. Ideally, students should try to earn approximately $10/hour. Our Career Services office will help connect students with local employers for job opportunities but the students are expected to apply, interview, and secure employment on their own.
Students in the program are paired with a mentor who meets with them regularly to review how they are doing with school work, employment, activities that they participate in, and how things are going in their lives. The mentor also reviews the amount the student has applied to their account and discusses how they are doing to reach their goals. Mentors include a virtual and in-person network of McPherson College faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the college.
Financial literacy education is an important part of the Student Debt Project that equips students with the practices and knowledge necessary to be successful after college. Students in the program will participate in workshops that address issues in personal finance, personal budgeting, interviewing skills, building a resume, leadership on campus, and leadership in the community.
Students interested in the Debt Project will complete an application. The application will be reviewed by the Debt Project team which includes the director of financial aid, the vice president for enrollment, the vice president for finance, the assistant controller, and the director of career services. A budget worksheet will be prepared to outline how the debt project can benefit the student. For incoming freshmen, the budget worksheet will show the amount the student needs to earn per year in order to graduate from MC with $0 to $10,000 in student loan debt. Returning students may participate in the program but because of prior loans, they will be less likely to graduate with less than $10,000 in loans.
Freshmen selected for the Debt Project will receive a budget worksheet that outlines the potential to graduate with $0 in student loans. Returning and new transfer students may also participate in the program but the debt reduction goals will be different based on prior loan accrual. The budget worksheet will give an example of how much needs to be earned each year in order to reach that goal. The budget worksheet is individualized to each student’s financial situation.
The Program Coordinator will oversee the project and is responsible for connecting students with mentorship, financial planning sessions, and Career Services to help secure employment.
For more information please contact Amy Beckman, director of career services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.