Anderson University is helping make student debt more manageable for its students.
The university announced in late January that it's launching a new debt repayment program, called "Anderson Now," designed to offer school loan repayment for graduates of Indiana colleges and universities who start and relocate a business in Anderson, Indiana. The program is made possible with partnerships from private and public organizations.
The university received a $1 million grant from a Lilly Endowment in November 2013, and the grant is now being used to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation among college students and implement strategies to keep AU graduates in the state when they graduate, according to a university press release.
Ten Indiana college graduates who are willing to start or relocate their business to Anderson will be provided up to $25,000 in educational loan repayment as a part of the program.
“Participation in the program gives these young entrepreneurs access to experts who can provide ongoing business and technical support, access to a co-working space, access to affordable housing and direct interaction with other small business owners in Madison County," Chris Williams, director of special event and projects at Anderson University said.
To be eligible for the "Anderson Now" program, graduates must have student loan debt, come from a four-year Indiana college or university and present a practical business plan to be located in Anderson.
Furthermore, participants must complete a screening process that includes completion of the Bankable loan application and interviews with the Anderson Now advisory team. For recent college graduates in the state of Indiana, the program is also being used as a way for students to plant their roots in the state they reside in.
“Graduates have great ideas, when they’re in school and when they graduate,” Williams said. "And we’ve been committed throughout our history to help keep, bright, young professionals in the state of Indiana."
Although this program is still in its early stages, Williams added that Anderson University is "thrilled to have this program" and hopes the benefits will grow as the program does, too.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the university to provide a path to bring new businesses in the area…the program is a way for us to tackle the challenges of entrepreneurship and encouraging entrepreneurship in the area,” Williams said.
Ball State university spokesperson Joan Todd said Ball State has not yet created a program like this, but that doesn't mean something similar couldn't happen in the future.