Press Release

American Student Assistance and Salt Promote Income Driven Repayment to More Than 1 Million Student Loan Borrowers as Part of White House Student Debt Challenge

December 5, 2016

American Student Assistance®, a private nonprofit dedicated to eliminating finance as a barrier to education and the dreams education enables, has surpassed its pledge to spread the word about income driven repayment (IDR) to one million student loan borrowers before the end of 2016, as part of the White House Student Debt Challenge.

“We are thrilled to have reached this important milestone well in advance of our target date,” said Betsy Mayotte, ASA® director of consumer outreach. “The ability to base repayment on income is an important option for every federal student loan borrower. All too often borrowers simply don’t know their options or how to access them. We will continue to support this Challenge and any federal initiative to raise awareness and participation in IDR and other federal student loan benefits, in an effort to relieve the individual and societal burden of student debt.”

While the numbers of borrowers using IDR has risen in recent years, government estimates show the plans are still underutilized. According to a Government Accountability Office report from 2015, the Department of the Treasury estimated that 51 percent of borrowers are eligible for IDR but a report by President Obama’s administration from September of this year shows only about 23 percent participating.  Older borrowers in particular may not be aware that these options are available to all federal student loan borrowers, including those with consolidated Parent Plus loans.

As of November 2016, the combined reach for ASA’s IDR campaign stands at nearly 1.2 million. Utilizing ASA’s financial literacy platform for education consumers, “Salt®,” the campaign used a variety of channels and tactics to spread the IDR word, including social media, a monthly newsletter for Salt members, and a website landing page. Consumers were directed to Salt educational content and resources on choosing the right repayment plan, Income Contingent Repayment, Public Service Loan Forgiveness and more.

Also as part of its pledge, ASA encouraged its 300 higher education institution partners, who together with ASA underwrite the Salt program so that their students and alumni can access its services for free, to join the Student Debt Challenge. ASA provided IDR training materials and webinars to all Salt partners for use with their own staff, alumni and student populations.

As added incentive, each month from now through March 2017, ASA is randomly selecting one school out of all those who took the Student Debt Challenge pledge. The winning school will be awarded $1,000 to their general scholarship fund to be given to a deserving student of their choice to assist with college expenses. The first winner is Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI. To date, 11 Salt schools have joined the Student Debt Challenge as a result of ASA’s efforts.

“It is so important for our students and alumnae to be aware of the options available to them when it comes to paying back student loans,” said Natalie Jaskie, assistant director of Financial Aid at Alverno College. “Our efforts through the Student Debt Challenge are a worthwhile endeavor, and now one of students will directly benefit from this additional scholarship money because of it.”

About American Student Assistance:

American Student Assistance (asa.org) is a private nonprofit dedicated to eliminating finance as a barrier to education and the dreams education enables. ASA today combines its 60 years of experience, knowledge and best practices into its College Planning Services, Center for Consumer Advocacy and Salt® (saltmoney.org), a multidimensional program that teaches education consumers how to make better decisions about financing higher education and repaying student loans. Today Salt is adopted by more than 300 higher education institutions, nonprofits, and corporations nationwide to reach more than 4 million education consumers.

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Connecting College and Community

November 28, 2016

Alverno Forum

Alverno College is hosting a forum on the potential mutual learning opportunities and collaborations between colleges and communities. A dialogue between community leaders, educators and graduate students will explore how colleges can intentionally contribute to the needs of local, global and professional communities, and how communities can provide connections and the learning opportunities that students need in order to develop leadership and stewardship capabilities.

Panelists include:

  • Michael Hostad, executive director, Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE)
  • John Kordsmeier, community volunteer and retired executive, Northwestern Mutual
  • Susan Lloyd, director, Zilber Family Foundation
  • Sister Patricia Rogers, OP, executive director , Dominican Center for Women
  • JoAnne and Maanaan Sabir, co-owners, The Juice Kitchen
  • Eileen Sherman, dean, Alverno College School of Business
  • Andrea Thompson, Alverno College MBA student
  • Jaimie Thomas, Alverno College MBA graduate
  • Sheena Talbert, Alverno College MBA graduate
  • Meghan Walsh, Alverno College MBA student

The Alverno Forum series seeks to join community leaders in discussing cutting-edge topics that have a daily impact on the lives of people in our community and beyond. The next discussion in this year’s series takes place on Thursday, December 1 at 6:00 p.m. in the Sister Joel Read Conference Center. The Alverno Forum series is free and open to the public. For more details, please visit our website at http://www.alverno.edu/forum/.

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Sculpture Engineered to Help With Storm Water Runoff to be Unveiled in Greenfield

November 11, 2016

A sculpture designed to capture rainwater and channel it toward a rain garden will be unveiled by the City of Greenfield on Tuesday, November 15 at 2:00 p.m. Designed and created by Alverno College students, the sculpture stands eight feet tall and is located at Greenfield’s City Hall.

The project, which integrates art and environmental sciences, began with a partnership between Alverno, Stormwater Solutions Engineering, LLC (SSE), Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, Inc. (SWWT), the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and the City of Greenfield. The college’s 46-acre campus is one of the largest privately-owned institutional green spaces on the Kinnickinnic River watershed area. In an effort to reduce storm water runoff from the City of Greenfield onto the Alverno campus, SSE worked with students to study the amount of storm water runoff and the quality of the runoff. Thanks to a grant from MMSD, Alverno College students, SSE and SWWT reached out to residents in the neighborhood just west of the college campus to raise awareness of rain barrels and green infrastructure like rain gardens. The grant also provided an opportunity for fine arts students to design a public art piece that celebrates the environment.

“Our students are thrilled to be working on a site specific sculpture, learning how to use new equipment, and learning different welding and shaping techniques while participating in a collaborative construction,” said Lynda Sommers, assistant professor of art at Alverno College. “This project is giving them a great opportunity to put their skills to work in a way that will benefit the environment while adding something beautiful to the community.”

Students involved in the project include Ashley Acker, Shavonne Alvarez, Keziah Bland, Samantha Bosanec, Cecilia Castro, Tai Hardie, Ann Kwiatkowski, Carly Lustig, Sarah McCutcheon, Cassandra Pike, Michele Pruitt, Jessica Schiller and Theodora Thompson. With Sommers assisting, students designed and fabricated the sculpture, and even learned airbrushing techniques from artist Mario Gonzales. Marty Zabel, owner of Forest Home Auto Body and Glass, generously donated the painting and clear coating of the piece.

The sculpture will be a permanent addition to the Greenfield City Hall grounds.

Alverno College will close on Election Day to gives students, faculty and staff a chance to take part in the political process

November 1, 2016

Alverno College will close on presidential Election Day in order to give students, faculty and staff a chance to practice effective citizenship, one of the College’s eight trademark abilities. In addition, about 50 Alverno College students will be actively involved in the political process working at the polls for the upcoming Nov. 8 elections. The training is providing students an opportunity to practice their own effective citizenship.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to be involved in the political process and truly take their effective citizenship to heart,” said Susan Leister, director of Alverno’s Internship office and the coordinator of the Poll Worker Training Project. “The students’ experiences as poll workers have been very positive, and they gain a new awareness of the responsibility they have as citizens to vote, especially after observing the obstacles some voters overcome to get to the polls.”

This is the fifth time Alverno has offered poll worker training sessions on campus; the first was for the 2008 presidential election. Alverno was also closed on presidential Election Day in November 2008 and 2012 to encourage all members of the Alverno community to be more involved in the political process.

In total, the College held six poll worker training sessions on campus throughout October. Alverno alumnae Lisa Catlin-Weiner and Noni Gudie, who work for the City of Milwaukee Election Commission, led the three-hour training sessions in which participants were trained as election inspectors or site coordinator assistants. All positions are paid, and require students to work half- or full-day shifts.  Their responsibilities include greeting voters, verifying voters’ polling sites, registering new voters, assisting the chief election inspector at each site, handing out ballots, check-in, handling voting machines, helping to maintain traffic flow at the sites and other related tasks. For this election cycle, nearly 50 students have completed the training and have been assigned to voting wards throughout the City of Milwaukee. Alverno College is the only college or university in the area that trained students to work at the polls.

Filmmaker and Master Diversity Trainer Lee Mun Wah to lead the 2016 Alverno Community Conference

October 26, 2016

Sister Joel Read Center Rotunda at Alverno College

The Alverno Community Conference, an annual day of learning that provides an opportunity for the extended Alverno community to share current research around a central theme, will be held on Friday, November 11, from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. The event is open to the public and will explore the theme: Embracing Diversity: A Mindful Approach to Inclusion. Through workshops, discussions, and creative activities, the conference aims to create a safe and nurturing atmosphere for an authentic dialogue on diversity and inclusion. Participants can choose from 24 topics – all connected to diversity and inclusion – during two sessions.

The day will begin with a keynote presentation by Lee Mun Wah, executive director of Stirfry Seminars & Consulting, a diversity training company that provides educational tools and workshops on cross-cultural communication and awareness, mindful meditation and conflict mediation techniques. His presentation, What Stands Between Us, will explore how the community can break down walls created out of fear and truly make a connection through honesty, curiosity and a willingness to be open to new ideas and relationships.

Following the keynote presentation, concurrent breakout sessions will take place from 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Some of the topics for breakout sessions include unlearning racism, the biology of sexual identity, cultivating inclusive leadership, forgiveness, and Milwaukee’s future as a global city.

Participants will also have an opportunity to help create a weaving using strips of newspaper from around the world. The art project will demonstrate how people of different backgrounds and cultures can be woven together as one. The drop-in art session is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information about the 2016 Alverno Community Conference, or to register, visit http://www.alverno.edu/communityconference/. Additional questions can be directed to 414-382-6087, or email institute@alverno.edu.