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Southern Tier

FLEX program aimed at helping college students deal with debt

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: FLEX program aimed at helping college students deal with debt
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With college tuition costs on the rise, one Southern Tier college now offers a program to help students with that burden. As reporter Katie Husband explains, the goal is to ease the fear of debt.

JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. -- Nationally, student loan debt is in the millions of dollars. It's a problem Davis College leaders hope to address by offering FLEX, a loan repayment assistance program. The concept was first launched by Ivy League law schools.

"They wanted to be able to promote students that were graduating to go into law, but to use their degree to maybe perhaps help people who couldn't afford normal legal representation. So the same concept really applies to us," said Rick Cramer, the Davis College chief enrollment officer.

This fall, incoming freshman will be enrolled automatically in the free program, and when they graduate is when the program will begin.

"If they earn $25,000 or less we would reimburse them for all of their student loan expense, and it's a graduated scale from $20,000 to $35,000. So as long as they are in those earnings brackets, we'll continue to assist them to pay their loans," said Cramer.

Leaders said this was a perfect program to adopt since most graduates go into ministry or humanitarian fields that are lower on the pay scale.

"So many students have to work a year or two somewhere else to make enough money to go into some of these humanitarian efforts around the world, and so this is really going to help them in the long run," said Davis College President Dino Pedrone.

College leaders said this program is meant to lift the fear students have of high education costs after they graduate and they're hoping this entices more students to be interested in Davis College.

"The goal for them, is when they go to the college, is that we want to see our rates continue to increase that what they've been trained for they're going to be able to go into," said Pedrone.

So far, Davis College is the only institution in the Southern Tier to adopt the program. But they said they hope the FLEX program inspires other colleges to join in.

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