Kim Eldridge: You hear a lot about student loan debt these days. That you shouldn’t borrow to go to college. And the only debt that’s reasonable is a mortgage because there’s a return on the investment. You also hear that 50% of the students who graduate from college can’t find work and that they’ve borrowed so much for their undergrad degree that they are going to be in debt the rest of their life or they’re going to default on their student loan. But that’s not the way it is at JBU. At JBU, when a student graduates, they get a job. Of the 92% of recent graduates who responded to a survey, 99% were working or pursuing their next degree program, within 6 months of graduation. The average loan debt at JBU after 4 years is $21,000 and we meet with each of the students who have borrowed, before they graduate to talk to them about how they can pay off their loans in 2 years and then we ask them to tell us how they did.
Jessa Eldridge: I had about $13,000 in loan debt.
Emily Strnad: I have $15,000
Billy Strnad: And I had about $25,000 in debt.
Henry Trejo: I was about $20,000 in debt.
Kirena Sheppard: about 80,000 total.
Dr. Mandy Moore: My husband and I had $42,000 in student loans. We both went to JBU and met here and the 42,000 just came from our undergraduate.
Henry Trejo: It took me about a year and a half to pay it off.
Emily Strnad: It was about a year and a half – under 2 years that we paid it off.
Jessa Eldridge: It took me 9 to 10 months to pay it all off.
Kirena and Jameson Sheppard: About 2 years.
Kirena Sheppard: So, we started in October 2010 and got finished October 31.
Dr. Mandy Moore: We were able to pay off $42,000 in student loans 2 years after we finished our Master’s Degree.
Billy Strnad: I think borrowing money from school is okay as long as you know that’s what you want to do and you know what you want to do when you get out. And as long as you keep it in mind when you get out – first priority is paying this off not buying a car, buying a house.
Kirena Sheppard: I think the biggest thing was having a plan. So, sitting down and together, going over our plan, when do we expect to be done.
Jessa Eldridge: Creating a budget from that and sticking to it. You have to stick with it. It was relatively easy.
Dr. Steve Henderson: When you look at college options for not borrowing, most parents would look at a 2 year institution. The average completion rate, if you started a 2 year institution, is less than 30%. So they end up dissatisfied, demoralized, everything else because their aspirations are never complete. Why borrow? Because, students are more satisfied with a college experience if they go to a Christian college than any other kind of college and are more likely to say, if they had to do it all over again, they would do it again at that same school.
Kirena Sheppard: I would do it all over again if I had to, knowing the end result.
Dr. Mandy Moore: I would do it again. It’s worth it.
Billy Strnad: I would certainly do it again. I think, you know, the education we got here is superb. I don’t think you can put a price tag on it.
Kirena Sheppard: I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be in the job I have today if it wasn’t for JBU.
Henry Trejo: The experiences and the professors and the friends that I have created are priceless.
Jessa Eldridge: That debt was an investment that has paid dividends far beyond my wildest imagination.
Jameson Sheppard: You really are investing in your future and I think if you look at it from that standpoint, John Brown University is a fantastic decision.