Mar 012005
 
Authors: Megan Buettgenbach

* Make sure your nonprofit organization is creditable by visiting the Better Business Burrow Web site: www.bbb.org

* Department of Education Web site: www.ed.gov-departmentoffices/OsFAP/directloan/fqa

* Student Loan Eliminator Web site: www.nostudentdebt.org

Some students hassle with taking out student loans to get through school.

That is why Carlos Fearn created Student Loan Eliminators, a nonprofit organization that helps students decrease their loan dept by volunteering before they graduate.

"I have student loans," said sophomore Brandon Kelly, a mechanical engineer major. "It would be beneficial if I could start paying them now and not have such a huge debt after college."

With Student Loan Eliminators, Fearn said he was able to double up on things; volunteering, which is something students already do, and paying off student loans, which is something most students have to do.

"We work with individuals who have loans to fill out an application," Fearn said. "Once selected, we contact an organization in the applicant's area to sponsor them."

Students can go to the Student Loan Eliminators Web site, www.nostudentdebt.org, to sign up for an application. They must also write answers to two short essay questions and send in an application fee of $10. Even if you are not accepted the first time, your application is allowed multiple reviews without having to pay another fee.

"Once students finish their service at these nonprofit organizations at which they volunteer at, we forward the money to the applicant's student loan provider," Fearn said.

Student Loan Eliminators has gotten around 1,000 applicants since its start this past January.

Connie Jaime-Lujan, assistant director of Student Financial Services, encourages students to find ways to pay for their loans.

"We recommend that students be resourceful in finding ways to pay back their student loans," Jaime-Lujan said. "And to make sure it is a creditable source."

Jamie-Lujan suggested the department of education Web site as a good place to find resources and opportunities that work the best for them.

"A lot of students do not have time to get a job," Kelly said. "But if you can just go volunteer whenever you can and get paid for it, that is awesome."

Fearn hopes students who participate take what they learn and apply it to life after college.

"Once the program is over, students will hopefully continues working for that nonprofit organization from there on after," Fearn said.

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