With the way the financial aid market is looking across the nation, Utah legislature has taken a closer look at its own financial aid situation. When looking at student loans in particular, struggling banks in Utah have been pulling out of offering these loans. This has affected the amount of options for students applying for loans. However, students are still able to attain loans through credit unions.
The Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA) is in charge of student loan transactions in Utah. Banks and credit unions must be in partnership with UHEAA in order to offer student loans.
Because of the current situation, all but one of the banks has pulled out of offering student loans. This has limited student’s options significantly since credit unions are now the only ones allowed to provide student loans in Utah.
Should students be worried about credit unions backing out? Utah Community Credit Union is an example of a local credit union with a branch in UVU that works with many of UVU’s student loans. “UCCU will continue to provide the students with loans,” said Brad Norton, UCCU senior vice president. “We have done it for 50 years and have no intentions of backing out.”
Joanna McCormick from UVU’s financial aid office said this situation hasn’t negatively affected most students, only the ones who needed to find a new lender. She said this will affect students by requiring them to analyze lenders better and really ask questions. She advises students who are planning on going to school out of state to look for a national agency to receive a loan.
Compared to the rest of the nation, Utah is faring well when it comes to student loans. Other states have had to shut down their UHEAA equivalent programs due to lack of money and the current crisis state of the financial aid market.
During the current academic year, UHEAA is allowed to give up to $121 million in loans. UHEAA also said in August that if a cooperative lender can’t be found, UHEAA itself will write a loan out directly to the student.
With the changes in the economy, students are being forced to explore more options to find the best way to pay for college. A helpful link that gives information about financial aid, scholarships and loans is http://www.utahmentor.org/finaid
Participating Lenders in Utah
Alliance Credit Union
America First Federal Credit Union
American United Family of Credit Unions FCU
Beehive Federal Credit Union (Idaho)/UHEAA
Deseret First Credit Union
Family First Credit Union
GoldenWest Credit Union/UHEAA
Granite Credit Union
Jordan Credit Union
Mountain America Credit Union
Tooele Fed CU/HeritageWest Credit Union
University of Utah Credit Union
Utah Community Credit Union
USU Charter Credit Union
Weber State Credit Union