It's Tournament Time! The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is about to begin and GradFIn is excited to see if our bracket picks will be boom or bust.
This year GradFin has selected its bracket picks based on the average student debt per graduate at each college represented in the NCAA tournament. We retrieved this data from The Institute for College Access & Success, who posted this data on their website. Click here to view this data.
We picked the winner of each game based on the average student debt per borrower and the winner has a higher average and thus advances to the next round. For example, see below, the average borrower at the University of Kansas is a bit less than the average borrower at Austin Peay ($25,268 versus $28,820).
This is a major upset, but we are confident Austin Peay will win this matchup based on this statistic.
One of the most interesting match-ups in our mind is the battle between two Philadelphia schools, Villanova and Temple in Round 2 of the tournament.
In another upset, we pick 16-seed Florida Gulf Coast University over number 1 seed University of North Carolina in the East Region. This may be a surprise to many about this upset, but the numbers tell us that Florida Gulf Coast University graduates average almost $4,000 more in student loans UNC. However, in the next Round we have Florida Gulf Coast University losing, as Providence advances to the Sweet Sixteen.
Our Final Four Teams are very interesting - all major private schools, two from Pennsylvania, one from Indiana, and one from Virginia. We have Temple out of the South, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) from the West, Pittsburgh from the East, and Butler from the Midwest. All of these schools average well above $30,000 in student loans per graduate.
The Champion of the GradFin bracket is University of Pittsburgh, who edges out Temple University, with an average student debt per graduate of $36,466.
Check out our full Bracket below and good luck to all the basketball teams participating this year.
NerdWallet - a personal finance blog - recently analyzed the cost savings for borrowers that have the fortunate opportunity to work for an employer that helps pay down their loans. According to the NerdWallet analysis, for a borrower with an average of $29,000 that participates in a typical benefit program, they can pay off their loans three years earlier and reduce their interest payments by $4,100 from what they currently owe. For an MBA grad with average student loans of $52,000, they can save over $5,000.
NerdWallet compares these inputs to a borrower that receives a student match from their employer AND a refi of their loan. The combined benefit allows the borrower to save even more money with both options. Please click here for a more extensive look at the study.
NerdWallet must be a big fan of GradFin. We offer both solutions - an employer match and a refi option. We are currently setting up appointments with companies across the country to discuss in more detail how we can set up this employee benefit program. We then meet with companies and their employees in a "town hall" educational style setting to discuss personalized options with employees, answer any questions about our program, and agree on a time to start accepting applications for refinancing the loans.
On March 2, 2016, Bloomberg news published an article about the NerdWallet study. The Bloomberg article also mentioned a survey of 1,000 people with loans found that 80 percent would like to work for an employer with some sort of repayment benefit. Around half said they preferred loan payments to 401(k) contributions and health insurance premium coverage. With these types of numbers floating out there, it is going to be very difficult for companies to not begin to offer this type of benefit program for their employees.
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