PVAMU Alumna Develops Student Loan Mobile App
Prairie View A&M University graduate Tania White, Ph.D. presented a new mobile app she developed during the 2018 Prairie View A&M University National Alumni Association Convention. She sees her mobile application as a tool to increase retention of students dependent on student loans to pursue a college degree.
According to a new report published by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, lack of state funding in higher education is driving up the costs for students at public universities and colleges. The price of tuition public universities has risen 35 percent nationally since 2008. To help students with academic expenses, student loans, scholarships, and grants are options students have. Unlike student loans, grants and scholarships are free money options to help pay for higher education.
College students in America can incur loan amounts that may exceed $17,000 per year. Over 44.2 million people in America have student loan debt and of that amount, 11% of those with student loan debt are either delinquent or have defaulted on their student loans. Many times, the delinquencies and defaults are not intentional but stem from individuals not knowing what to do about their surmounting debt which accrues interest each year.
There are companies and banking institutions that offer to help individuals with their student loan debt, however, the fees charged may cost initial payments for their services. Companies often target recent graduates or graduates that have fallen behind on student loan payments. “The problem lies in the fact that in order for the companies to help, they must have access to all accounts and personal secure information of individuals,” White explains. “College graduates become overwhelmed with debt and will often release their personal information and pay the fees for assistance.”
After conducting extensive research on student loan debt, Dr. Tania White developed the mobile application (app), “4 Steps 4 Success.” The Fort Worth, Texas native earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Prairie View A&M University in 1992 and a Masters of Education degree in Counseling in 1994. White furthered her education at the University of Phoenix earning her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership in 2008, and a Master of Science in Business Leadership in 2016 from Concordia College. She currently serves as chaplain of the Fort Worth Alumni Chapter the National Alumni Association.
In a recent seminar for students that attended the 2018 Prairie View A&M University National Alumni Association Convention, White demonstrated the mobile application she released in May (2018), as a way to help individuals manage their student loans from the convenience of their personal device. “I developed the app in response to a need that plagues not only the African American community but our society as a whole,” states White. The app available on Apple and Google Play contains step by step instructions on how individuals have the capabilities to become more knowledgeable of their loans, the providers their debt have been assigned, links to apply for loan consolidation, access to apply for income-driven repayment options, and loan forgiveness information.
“I developed this app on my own based on a vision I had and steps I personally took to manage my student loan debt. I also used those steps to help others, including my own son that attended Prairie View A&M University for 3 years,” explains White. The goal of the app is to help individuals manage their student loan debt without having to outlay hundreds of dollars and releasing their personal-secure information to creditors.
“The feedback I received from the students that attended the [alumni convention] was phenomenal and I am confident that many individuals (students and parents alike) can benefit from the application,” exclaims White. She says knowledge is power and if more students are knowledgeable of how to manage their student loan debt, then that will manifest into more adults being knowledgeable, thus decreasing the deficiency and default rates.
Author: Maurice Perkins