Collaboration between three state agencies preps families for life after high school
Arkansas Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan announced today that his office is teaming up with the Arkansas Student Loan Authority, the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, and the Arkansas 529 Education Savings Plan to launch an online education-readiness program: www.ARCollegeSaver.org.
“Our goal is to help Arkansas families better plan and save for the costs associated with higher education,” said Milligan, whose office administers the Arkansas 529 Education Savings Plan, a tax-advantaged program that offers families the opportunity to save for future education. “Student loan debt is the highest it’s ever been, and I feel it’s our job as public stewards to bring awareness to this issue and help families however we can.”
Statistics show that student loan debt is the second-highest debt category now behind only mortgage debt, according to the Federal Reserve. Nearly 45 million Americans have student loan debt totaling $1.5 trillion.
The multi-agency initiative was created to address the increasing costs of higher education.
“We are so fortunate to have state leaders who genuinely care about giving Arkansas families the tools and resources they need to make informed choices regarding where to attend college,” said Dr. Maria Markham, Arkansas Department of Higher Education director. “This website, along with other programs and strategies, will help our state move the needle towards a better college-going rate.”
The online resource will offer financial calculators and tools designed to show users the costs of such things as financial aid, repaying student loans, varying college costs, and why families shouldn’t delay saving for higher education, said Tony Williams, director of Arkansas Student Loan Authority (ASLA).
“ASLA is honored to be a part of this special collaboration to help Arkansas families prepare for higher education,” Williams said. “This team of education-focused organizations and the tools made available through ARCollegeSaver.org create a formula for higher education success.”
The consortium will offer financial tools related to applying for scholarships, comparing tuition rates, and applying for financial aid.
“Our goal is for this to be the single resource that families in Arkansas will use in order to plan for their students’ education beyond high school,” Milligan said.
Those interested in accessing these financial tools may visit www.ARCollegeSaver.org, or any one of the partners’ websites.