News Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Alyssa Pascarella, 401-468-1741 apascarella@risla.com 
 
RISLA RANKED SECOND NATIONALLY FOR BEST STUDENT LOAN IN THE COUNTRY
 
Warwick, Rhode Island, August 12, 2020:
 

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) has been ranked second for the best private student loan nationally in the Forbes Magazine 2020 Top 20 List of Best Private Student Loans.

According to Brianna McGurran, Forbes Advisor's Loans Analyst, the publication ranked private student loan options based on the overall cost of the loan – including interest rates and fees – and what help the lender can provide, if the student has trouble affording the monthly payments. Especially important during this pandemic.

“We’re grateful to receive this national distinction from such a well-regarded business publication such as Forbes,” said Charles Kelley, Executive Director of RISLA. “It’s particularly gratifying when you consider nearly all of the top recipients are national companies, operating in multiple states. This is a credit to our enormously talented and dedicated staff and how well RISLA is regarded in the bond market which allows us to borrow at very low rates and pass those savings on to students and families. “

Click here for a link to the complete list. forbes.com/advisor/loans/best-private-student-loans/

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is a non-profit quasi-state authority which has been providing affordable higher education solutions since 1981. It also operates the College Planning Center located at the Warwick Mall in Warwick and at 652 George Washington Hwy in Lincoln, Rhode Island. In addition to providing loans and facilitating applications for federal grants, RISLA educates families on how to obtain financial aid, walks students through the college planning process, provides tools that can help families make informed and responsible borrowing choices for college, and aids students in jump-starting their careers.

 
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News Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Alyssa Pascarella, 401-468-1741 apascarella@risla.com 
 
RISLA Awards $50,000 in Financial Literacy Scholarships
 
Providence, Rhode Island, July 6, 2020:
 

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) has awarded a total of $50,000 to 15 high school seniors and 10 college students across Rhode Island as part of its efforts to promote financial literacy.

According to Charles Kelley, Executive Director of RISLA, the monthly financial literacy learning module and quiz was introduced last October to allow Rhode Island students the opportunity to win $2,000 by answering financial literacy questions pertaining to credit, budgeting, and other college-related financial topics.

“We were very pleased to have seen over 800 students participate each month and several students returning month after month to increase their chances to win, all the while, gaining important financial literacy tips to help them map their future well-being.” said Mr. Kelley.

For a complete list of winners visit RISLA’s Knowledge for College webpage.

Given the success of this program, RISLA will be continuing this effort with new quiz questions and invites for students to participate in next year’s program beginning September 1, 2020. Three winners will be chosen each month, October through May, and once again there will be a bonus drawing for the participants who enter each and every month.

To enter, participants will be asked to read a short paragraph on topics, such as Paying for College, Budgeting, and Credit, followed by three multiple choice

questions to answer. Upon completion, participants will be entered into a random drawing to be eligible to win a $2,000 scholarship. Students are encouraged to enter monthly, but can only win once per school year. New questions will be posted on the first of each month. Winners will be notified on the first business day of the following month.

Eligibility:

· Must be a Rhode Island resident;

· Must be enrolled for undergraduate or graduate school in the fall of 2021 at a Title IV Higher Education Institution within the U.S.

For more information about RISLA’s Knowledge for College Scholarship visit risla.com/fin-lit-quiz

 
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News Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Alyssa Pascarella, 401-468-1741 apascarella@risla.com 

RISLA Launches Campaign to Increase Completion of College Financial Aid Forms


Warwick, Rhode Island, May 7, 2020:

To increase the completion rate of critical college financial aid forms during a senior year interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) today launched a comprehensive outreach campaign aimed at getting more financial aid to graduating seniors interested in attending college.

According to Charles Kelley, Executive Director of RISLA, the goal of the campaign is to increase the completion rate of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which is the gateway to free federal and college grants and federal loans. “Last year Rhode Island’s FAFSA completion rate  was one of the best in the country and we hope to do even better this year during what is admittedly a very challenging year for high school seniors.  Distance learning does not necessarily afford students with the important face time they need with guidance counselors who can encourage the completion of these critical forms. To help, our College Planning Center has developed a broad-based campaign that provides students with the tools they need to complete the forms in as easy and hassle-free way as possible.”

 “As always, we at the College Planning Center are working with high school guidance counselors, albeit remotely, to communicate the importance of filling out the FAFSA, and we are hopeful the use of a variety of channels will help us have a conversation about the array of tools at their disposal, even when bricks and mortar schools are closed,” explained Stacy Crooks, Director of the RISLA College Planning Center.

The campaign features:

  • TV and radio ads that promote the availability of assistance;
  • “How to videos” in Spanish and English which can be found on the College Planning Center website at collegeplanningcenter.org;
  • Students and families and text the word “FAFSA” to 24000 to schedule an over the phone help session with experts from the College Planning Center and to view helpful videos in English or Spanish;
  • Bus Shelter ads placed during the state during in predominantly urban communities;
  • Digital ads;
  • Print ads in community newspapers and statewide;
  • Radio ads in Spanish;
  • Social media ads and posts in English and Spanish.
Social media channels for the campaign include:
  • Twitter: @CPCRI
  • Facebook:  College Planning Center of RI
  • Instagram: @risla_cpc

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is a non-profit quasi-state authority which has been providing affordable higher education solutions since 1981. It also operates the College Planning Center located at the Warwick Mall in Warwick and at 652 George Washington Hwy in Lincoln, Rhode Island. In addition to providing loans and facilitating applications for federal grants, RISLA educates families on how to obtain financial aid, walks students through the college planning process, provides tools that can help families make informed and responsible borrowing choices for college, and aids students in jump-starting their careers.

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News Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Charles P. Kelley, 401-468-1791 ckelley@risla.com 

RISLA Launches Free Service to Assist Employers in Implementing Tax Free Repayment of Employee Student Loans


Warwick, Rhode Island, March 30, 2020:

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) today announced it will offer complimentary assistance to companies that wish to implement a student loan repayment program for employees, which will now be a tax free benefit included in the recently passed Federal stimulus legislation in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Charles Kelley, executive director of RISLA, included in the Federal stimulus legislation is a provision that enables employers to provide a student loan repayment benefit to employees on a tax-free basis. Under the provision, an employer may contribute up to $5,250 annually toward an employee’s student loans, and such payment would be excluded from the employee’s income, but is still deductible by the employer. This is in addition to the $5,250 cap on other educational assistance (e.g., tuition, fees, books) provided by the employer under current law. The provision applies to any student loan payments made by an employer on behalf of an employee after date of enactment and before January 1, 2021.

RISLA recognizes that many employers have been hit hard by the pandemic  so it will offer free of charge for a period of up to one year (March, 2020 – March 2021) one-on-one assistance to employers operating in Rhode Island seeking to establish a  student loan repayment assistance program. The non-profit agency will also work with business owners and human resource managers who would like RISLA to help counsel their employees on financial wellness, planning and saving for college, financial aid applications and making smart decisions on repaying their student loans.

“Student loan repayment assistance programs allow employers to help their employees pay off their loans faster,” said Mr. Kelley. “Even before the coronavirus pandemic, employer student loan repayment was one of the fastest growing benefit additions among those organizations trying to overcome the challenge of attracting and retaining the best and brightest employees. Now tax free, this program also has the potential to make a big impact on the workplace satisfaction and overall wellness of valuable employees.” 

“The latest student loan debt statistics for 2019 show how serious the student loan debt crisishas become for borrowers across all demographics and age groups, well before the COVID-19 pandemic,” said RISLA Board Chairman Robert Delaney. “There are more than 45 million Americans who collectively owe approximately $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. Empowering business owners to play a role in reducing this debt for employees during these challenging economic times is an important tool and a critical component of this legislation.”

R.I. General Treasurer Seth Magaziner noted that, “Student loans are the second highest consumer debt category after mortgages. Now, with the federal government stepping in to make employer payments tax free, RISLA can provide the hands-on assistance and tools to effectively launch the program.  For that reason, I commend RISLA for taking actions that will help employers, large and small, in these challenging times.”

RISLA Chairman Delaney concluded, “RISLA has almost 40 years of experience providing affordable higher education solutions to students and families and are experts on all aspects of student loans and repayment strategies. Importantly, as a non-profit agency, RISLA has the freedom and the obligation to do what is best for the state’s workforce, particularly during these uncertain and highly challenging economic times.” He also noted that RISLA will match 10 percent of the employer's payments for any participating employee in the form of loan forgiveness for any RISLA loan that the employee has, up to a maximum of $500 per employee.

Interested employers should contact Mr. Kelley at 401.743.1375. For more information, visit the RISLA website at risla.com.

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News Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Charles P. Kelley, 401-468-1791 ckelley@risla.com
 

RI STUDENT LOAN AUTHORITY SUSPENDS STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT FOR THOSE IMPACTED BY THE CORONAVIRUS


Providence, Rhode Island, March 19, 2020:

The RI Student Loan Authority (RISLA) announced today that it is offering some real relief for its non- federal student loan borrowers who are experiencing a financial hardship due to unemployment or their income is being severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Charles P. Kelley, Executive Director of RISLA, our non-federal education loan borrowers who have had their income severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can apply online starting today, and until further notice, to skip two months of payments.   “Our goal as a non-profit, quasi-state authority has always been to provide our students and families with the lowest cost education loans with the best borrower protections for when times get tough,” said Mr. Kelley. “Unquestionably, during this pandemic, unemployment claims and temporary disability claims in the state are expected to rise dramatically. For that reason, we will do all that we possibly can to lessen the financial burden of repaying RISLA’s non-federal student loans and will monitor the federal and local situation closely.”

He continued, “When a relief application is approved for a borrower who makes monthly payments using auto debit (ACH), RISLA will temporarily suspend the automatic payment for the two months. Unfortunately, auto payments that have already been processed cannot be refunded. Interest will continue to accrue on the loans, but this program provides some immediate cash flow relief.”

RISLA Coronavirus Relief applications can be submitted online at risla.com. RISLA representatives will reach out to applicants if there are any issues with their forbearance request.  Due to health directives, RISLA cannot meet with walk in clients. Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) personnel will primarily be working remotely in order to help in the State’s effort to prevent the community spread of the coronavirus.  Our customer service lines will be open as usual, Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm.  Our online application and borrower on-line tools are fully operational. RISLA’s College Planning Center will be closed to in person visits, but individuals can go to the College Planning web site, cpcri.org, and book an appoint to have a counselor call them with help on financial aid matters.

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News Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Alyssa Pascarella, 401-468-1741 apascarella@risla.com
 
RISLA Launches New Financial Literacy Scholarship
To Award $2K Monthly to 2 RI Students

Providence, Rhode Island, October 15, 2019:

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) will host a monthly financial literacy learning module and quiz to allow Rhode Island students the opportunity to win $2,000 by answering financial literacy questions pertaining to credit, budgeting, and other college-related financial topics.

According to Charles Kelley, Executive Director of RISLA, the new “Knowledge for College Scholarship” program invites Rhode Island high school seniors, undergraduates, and graduate students to take a quick, online (risla.com/fin-lit-quiz) three question quiz on topics relating to financial literacy.  The learning module is designed to broaden student’s awareness of making responsible personal finance decisions while they prepare for, attend, or pay for college.” Participants will be asked to read a short paragraph on topics such as Paying for College, Budgeting, and Credit, followed by three multiple choice questions to answer.  Upon completion, participants will be entered into a random drawing to be eligible to win a $2,000 scholarship.  Students are encouraged to enter monthly but can only win once per year. Two winners will be drawn each month.

“It’s our hope that we can help Rhode Island residents cover their tuition, reduce the need for borrowing, and/or increase their knowledge of on these important topics when making financial decisions in a fun, interactive way.” noted Mr. Kelley. “We’ll post new questions on the first of each month so we encourage students to return monthly and we’ll notify winners the first business day of the following month.” Students may win only once within the school year and the $2,000 will be co-payable to the student and the college of their choosing in May, 2020.  Additionally, to encourage monthly participation, there will be a bonus drawing in May for those participants who entered every month.  One additional winner will be drawn at that time for a $2,000 scholarship.

"Helping Rhode Islanders develop stronger personal finance skills will allow them greater economic opportunity for their entire lives,” said General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.  “RISLA is a valuable resource for Rhode Island students, not only because they offer high-quality student loans, but because they are committed to improving the financial well being of Rhode Islanders through programs like this financial literacy scholarship."

Other qualification guidelines include:
  • Must be a Rhode Island resident;
  • Must be a high school senior, attend college or graduate school;
  • Winners must agree to have their first name, last initial and their RI city/town residence published on the RISLA web site; and
  • RISLA employee immediate family members are not eligible for the scholarship.
For more information about RISLA’s Knowledge for College Scholarship or to enter to win, visit risla.com/fin-lit-quiz
 
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News Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Evan England, 401-222-2240 evan.england@treasury.ri.gov

Patti Doyle, 401-374-2553; patti.doyle@gmail.com

 
GENERAL TREASURER AND RISLA ANNOUNCE LOAN FORGIVENESS PROGRAM FOR SELECT STUDENT LOANS

Providence, Rhode Island, June 19, 2019:
Approximately 2,900 Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) borrowers will have their outstanding student loan balance reduced as part of a Loan Forgiveness Program announced today by RI General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Charles Kelley, Executive Director of RISLA.

RISLA can reduce these student loan balances as a result of the strong performance of the bonds it issues.

“Our ability to offer this loan forgiveness program is largely driven by the timely repayment of these loans which in turn, kept the net default rate for this program to less than two percent,” said Mr. Kelley. “Our mission to provide students and families with safe, low cost loans that minimize the burden of borrowing with the lowest interest rates in the country is considerably aided by our responsible borrowers who share the credit in making this loan forgiveness program possible.”

Last year RISLA was able to help over 4,500 students and families save thousands of dollars with low fixed rate in-school and refinancing loan programs.

“As the cost of college and vocational training continues to rise, this loan forgiveness is welcome news to student loan borrowers who are making every effort to pay off their loans,” said Treasurer Magaziner, who serves on the agency’s board of directors. “RISLA is a valuable resource for Rhode Island students because they offer high-quality student loans and exceptional support for borrowers.”

Tax exempt student loan bond issuers like RISLA have the ability to forgive a portion of a student loan if an individual bond issue performs significantly better than expected after 7 to 10 years of loan repayment history and incurs very low defaults. RISLA has taken this opportunity to reduce the balance of loans in the impacted bond issues without risking a rating downgrade or negatively impacting bond holders.

RISLA will offer partial loan forgiveness on loans funded by RISLA’s 2010-A, 2012-A and 2013-A bonds. A total of 3,900 loans will be partially reduced at a value of $2.4 million.

Borrowers whose loan is being partially forgiven have been notified via letter from RISLA and the amount forgiven will automatically be applied to the individual’s account. The amount of the loan forgiveness is dependent upon the tax-exempt bond issue that funded the loan and calculated based on a percentage of the dollar amount outstanding on the loan as of May 31, 2019.

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is a non-profit quasi-state authority which has been providing affordable higher education solutions since 1981. It also operates the College Planning Center located at the Warwick Mall in Warwick and at 652 George Washington Hwy in Lincoln, Rhode Island. In addition to providing loans and facilitating applications for federal grants, RISLA educates families on how to obtain financial aid, walks students through the college planning process, provides tools that can help families make informed and responsible borrowing choices for college, and aids students in jump-starting their careers.
 
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News Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Alyssa Pascarella, 401-468-1741, apascarella@risla.com
                  Patti Doyle, 401-374-2553, patti.doyle@gmail.com 
 
RISLA LAUNCHES GRASS ROOTS CAMPAIGN TO INCREASE COMPLETION OF COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID FORMS IN URBAN COMMUNITIES
 

WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND, FEBRUARY 4, 2019: To increase the completion rate of critical college financial aid forms, particularly from high school seniors in historically underrepresented urban schools, the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) and its College Planning Center today launched a comprehensive grassroots campaign aimed at getting more financial aid to students interested in attending college.

According to Charles Kelley, Executive Director of RISLA, the goal of the campaign is to increase the completion rate of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which is the gateway to free federal and college grants and federal loans. “While Rhode Island’s FAFSA completion rate was ranked 8th highest in the country last year, Governor Raimondo has challenged Rhode Island to do even better. To accomplish that, RISLA has developed a campaign that provides students with the tools they need to complete the forms in as easy and hassle-free way as possible, and even provides them one-on-one support in both English and Spanish.”

The broad-based campaign “It’s FAFSAszn” features real Rhode Island high school students in its social media ads and videos and utilizes texting as a means for them to receive help on RISLA’s web site; https://www.risla.com/fafsaszn. A key component of the campaign is the use of teens talking and texting with their peers to encourage completion of these important financial aid forms. “In addition to efforts by teachers, school counselors, and the College Planning Center communicating the importance of filling out the FAFSA, we have identified student interns in key high schools to help us have that conversation with their friends and peers, and use their own social media channels to talk about the array of tools at their disposal,” explained Stacy Crooks, Director of the RISLA College Planning Center.

 She continued, “To further encourage FAFSA completion, we will hold a drawing at the end of February for a free pair of AirPods. Anyone who has completed their FAFSA during the month of February is eligible to participate in the drawing by simply texting the word “done” to our designated text number, 24000.”

The campaign also features:
  • “How to videos” in Spanish and English which can be found on the RISLA web site at risla.com/fafsaszn or by texting the word FAFSA to 24000;
  • A FAFSA hotline (401-468-1703) will manned daily from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday through Friday during the month of February;
  • Bus Shelter ads have been placed throughout the state during the month of February which feature Rhode Island high school students from Alvarez and Classical High Schools in Providence, and from the group Young Voices in Central Falls;
  • Radio ads in Spanish;
  • Social media ads and posts in English and Spanish;
  • Social media high school student interns assembled from urban high schools throughout the State who will compete for prizes by signing up friends and peers.
Social media channels for the campaign include:Twitter: @CPCRIFacebook:  College Planning Center of RIInstagram: @risla_cpc

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is a non-profit quasi-state authority which has been providing affordable higher education solutions since 1981. It also operates the College Planning Center located at the Warwick Mall in Warwick and at 652 George Washington Hwy in Lincoln, Rhode Island. In addition to providing loans and facilitating applications for federal grants, RISLA educates families on how to obtain financial aid, walks students through the college planning process, provides tools that can help families make informed and responsible borrowing choices for college, and aids students in jump-starting their careers.

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News Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Alyssa Pascarella, 401-468-1741, apascarella@risla.com

RISLA SUSPENDS STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES DURING GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND, JANUARY 16, 2019: The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) announced today that it has suspended repayment of college loans for federal employees currently not being paid, including military personnel, throughout the duration of the government shutdown.

According to Charles Kelley, Executive Director of RISLA, the non-profit student loan organization is applying a forbearance on a month by month basis for as long as employees are furloughed and not receiving compensation. There are no fees associated with the request nor will there be any late fees assessed. “We certainly understand the hardship experienced by federal employees impacted by the government shutdown and since we can in some small way ease their financial burdens at this time, we will,” said Mr. Kelley.

He continued, “Borrowers should formally request this suspension by calling 800.758.7562 or 888.897.4752. All Federal employees who are not being paid because of the shutdown are eligible and only need to supply the name and telephone number of the federal organization they work for. Members of our staff are standing by to provide any assistance that may be required to affect this temporary loan suspension.”

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is a non-profit quasi-state authority which has been providing affordable higher education solutions since 1981. It also operates the College Planning Center located at the Warwick Mall in Warwick, Rhode Island. In addition to providing loans and facilitating applications for federal grants, RISLA educates families on how to obtain financial aid, walks students through the college planning process, provides tools that can help families make informed and responsible borrowing choices for college, and aids students in jump-starting their careers.

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News Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Lindie Johnson, RISLA, 401-595-9109

ATTENTION STUDENTS: The FAFSA is live! Be sure to fill it out!

Filing the FAFSA can qualify Rhode Islanders for financial aid for college; Free assistance is available to help families apply for aid

Providence, RI – Governor Gina Raimondo, the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, and the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) are encouraging Rhode Island high school students to complete the application for federal student aid, commonly known as the FAFSA, to ensure every student who qualifies for federal aid receives it.

The FAFSA is the first step to applying for college financial aid. All schools use this application to award federal student aid, including the Pell Grant and low-cost student loans, and many use it to determine how much institutional aid a family is eligible for.

Last year, Rhode Island had the eighth highest percentage of high school students in the country completing the form. This year, Governor Raimondo wants Rhode Island to be number one in the country, making sure every student who qualifies for aid receives it.

“Every Rhode Islander from high school seniors to adults returning to school should have the opportunity to access as much financial aid as possible. Completing the FAFSA is the first step to receiving that funding,” said Governor Raimondo. “Our state, our schools, and our community organizations must collaborate to ensure families are not leaving financial aid on the table.”

October 1 marked the day the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA, became available to families looking for college financial aid for the following academic year. The Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner is leading a collaborative effort with the Governor’s office, the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, and the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to drive up the state’s FAFSA completion rate this year, including outreach to more adult students, low-income students, and students of color to encourage them to file the form.

“FAFSA is a gateway to opportunity for Rhode Island students of all ages,” said Brenda Dann-Messier, Commissioner of Postsecondary Education. “Nationally, 85 percent of students are eligible for federal financial aid for college, but only 45 percent of high school seniors actually complete the FAFSA before high school graduation. And we know that financial aid is especially key to closing equity gaps for first-generation and low-income students, and students of color. Completing the FAFSA helps students approach decisions about their post-secondary education with a clear idea of what they can afford and what their financial aid options are.”

Some students and parents find the FAFSA, which contains over 100 questions, to be complicated and confusing. This summer, a new mobile application, myStudentAid, was launched by the US Department of Education to help simplify the process of filing the FAFSA. The app, available on the Apple App Store and Google Play, customizes the experience of completing the FAFSA based on who is filling out the form.

“We expect that this mobile app will assist many tech-savvy students and parents, but we recognize there are still many families out there who prefer to have hands-on assistance when completing the FAFSA. We have been assisting thousands of families with completing the FAFSA for twenty years, and our services are completely free,” said Stacy Crooks, Director of the RISLA College Planning Center, a quasi-state public authority that offers free assistance completing the FAFSA.

To assist students and parents with filing the FAFSA, the RISLA College Planning Center will host nine free events during the 2018-19 academic year.

FAFSA Completion Nights will be held on the following dates:

October 10         6PM       Rogers High School, Newport
October 18         5PM       Hope High School, Providence   
October 24         6PM       North Kingstown High School
November 1       6PM       Westerly High School
November 13     6PM       Coventry High School
November 19     6PM       Classical High School, Providence
December 4       6PM       East Providence High School
December 5       6PM       Central Falls High School
December 12     6PM       Woonsocket High School

Families who are unable to attend an event, or prefer to receive help in a more private setting, are encouraged to book a free one-on-one appointment in at the RISLA College Planning Center, located in Warwick and Lincoln, at www.collegeplanningcenter.org.

Students and parents can also learn more about the importance of filing the FAFSA by texting keyword “FAFSA” to 24000.

The RISLA College Planning Center is a free service of Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, a non-profit state authority. The RISLA College Planning Center has been providing expert in-person and web-based college planning guidance to students and parents for twenty years. The College Planning CenterI offers one-on-one college planning counseling, informational seminars, and online tools to promote college planning and financial aid awareness among Rhode Islanders. For more information, please visit www.collegeplanningcenter.org

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Rhode Island leads the way in student lending innovation

posted May 7, 2018

RISLA to use mobile technology and identity verification to streamline application process for the lowest fixed rate student loans in the country

Warwick, RI – May 7, 2018…The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is excited to announce that it will be leading the way in using mobile technology and identity verification tools to streamline the student loan application process.  Families can conveniently get pre-qualified and apply for RISLA’s low-cost education loans right from their phones by texting “college” to 24000. [1]

This fully mobile service will allow users to securely and privately access rate offerings and determine their eligibility for a loan with RISLA from their phone with minimal data entry. Once pre-qualified, borrowers can complete the online application, upload image captures of any documents needed for the application process, and electronically sign from their mobile device or continue the application process on their home computer.

Other education loan providers can require the borrower to enter several pages of information before the student or family is even told what their interest rate will be. As a non-profit, full transparency is a priority to RISLA. 

“RISLA's non-profit status and its AA rated tax-exempt bonds enable RISLA to offer one of the lowest fixed interest rate student loans in the country,” said Charles P.  Kelley, RISLA’s Executive Director. “But we also recognize that it is not enough to have the lowest interest rates. We must also leverage new technology to provide a great customer experience for students and families on the go.”

“When we help families refinance their education loans, we are often shocked at the high interest rates that many borrowers are burdened with. We realized that we needed to do more to make low cost state-based programs like RISLA’s easier to access and remove barriers that typically prevent students and parents from getting the best deal for their individual situation.” said Lindie Thibodeau, Director of Marketing for RISLA.

RISLA’s college loans are available to qualifying RI residents and to out-of-state families of students who are attending any of RI's outstanding institutions of higher education.

A video is available now on sources of federal student aid, how to borrow responsibly for college, and why fixed rate loans are a safer option for students and families by texting “Smart” to 24000.  [1]

About RISLA

Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is a non-profit state authority that has been helping families pay for college for over thirty-five years. RISLA gives back to the community with free college planning and financial aid counseling through the RISLA College Planning Center and through Bridge.jobs, a free internship finder that connects students with Rhode Island employers. For more information on RISLA or to apply for a loan, please visit risla.com.

[1] Message and data rates may apply. Terms: Risla.com/Text  |  Privacy Policy: Risla.com/Privacy


Families Can Receive Free Help Applying for College Financial Aid at Local High Schools

posted January 12, 2018

The RISLA College Planning Center will be traveling across Rhode Island to provide easy access to free assistance completing the FAFSA and CSS Profile forms

Warwick, RI – January 12, 2018…The RISLA College Planning Center is happy to announce that in addition to its two permanent locations in Warwick and Cumberland, Rhode Islanders will have access to free college planning services at local high schools throughout Rhode Island this winter. Throughout January and February, RISLA College Planning Center counselors will be traveling across the state in an effort to make filing the FAFSA and CSS Profile easier for college-bound families.  

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly referred to as the FAFSA, is the first step to applying for college financial aid. All schools use this application to award federal student aid and many use it to determine how much institutional aid a family is eligible for.

Many parents and students find this form, which contains over 100 questions, complicated and confusing. Families should be aware there are free services available to help them complete these forms.

Students and parents interested in booking an appointment at their local high school can contact the school guidance office. The RISLA College Planning Center traveling schedule is posted below:

Wednesday        1/17/18                Central High School

Thursday             1/18/18                Rogers High School

Friday                    1/19/18                Middletown High School

Friday                    1/19/18                Classical High School

Monday               1/22/18                Rogers High School

Wednesday        1/24/18                Jacqueline Walsh School for the Arts

Wednesday        1/24/18                Paul Cuffee School

Thursday             1/25/18                Tiverton High School

Friday                    1/26/18                Shea High School

Friday                    1/26/18                Middletown High School

Monday               1/29/18                Rogers High School

Wednesday        1/31/18                East Providence High School

Friday                    2/2/18                   Hope High School

Friday                    2/9/18                   JSEC High School

Friday                    2/16/18                Woonsocket High School

Wednesday        2/28/18                Blackstone Valley Prep Academy

 

All of the College Planning Center’s services are provided free-of-charge by RISLA, a non-profit state authority. The College Planning Center has been providing expert in-person and web-based college planning guidance to students and parents since 1998. The CPCRI offers one-on-one college planning counseling, informational seminars, and online tools to promote college planning and financial aid awareness among Rhode Islanders. For more information, please visit www.collegeplanningcenter.org.


 Notice to Hurricane Harvey Victims

posted September 6, 2017

If you are a resident of Texas or Louisiana, we recognize you and your family may have been seriously affected by Hurricane Harvey. During this difficult time, we want to do our part to help make life a little bit easier.

To help ease any financial burden you and your family may be experiencing, we are automatically putting your RISLA non-federal loan accounts into a temporary deferment. This means you will have no payments due for three months after the hurricane affected your area. 

This deferment will not have any effect on the total amount of forbearance time for which you are eligible. However, interest will continue to accrue on your account during this deferment period. If you are able to pay during this time, please feel free to do so and we are happy to remove your account from this temporary deferment at your request.

 Please know that our thoughts are with you as your state recoveries from this terrible tragedy. If you have any questions at all, or need to further extend your deferment, please reach out to our customer service team toll-free at 1-888-897-4752 or via email at customerservice@risla.com.


Internship Summit at State House reinforces importance of internships in growth of skilled workforce and RI economy

posted May 2, 2017

Providence, RI (May 1, 2017) – Employers and students gathered today at the State House in recognition of the important role that internships play in developing a skilled workforce, retaining the best talent in Rhode Island, and opening up opportunities for new college graduates. The event, the Bridge.jobs Internship Summit, commended employers for their exemplary internship programs, provided opportunities for students to learn strategies to increase their employability, and fostered connections between RI employers and college students through networking opportunities.

The Bridge.jobs Internship Summit kicked off with an employer recognition ceremony. CVS Health, Social Enterprise Greenhouse, RISD Museum, IGT, BankNewport and FM Global were applauded for their exemplary internship programs.

Summitt_Photo.jpg“College students in our Corporate Intern Program have the opportunity to gain real world work experience, while CVS Health business leaders have the opportunity to pre-recruit top candidates for full-time opportunities in the following year,” said Christy Del Regno, Director of Diversity and University Recruiting at CVS Health. “Given the dynamic nature of health care, we look for not only top performing students academically but also strategic thinkers who take an analytical approach to our business and who bring valuable leadership and collaboration skills to our organization.”

A recent survey run by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) showed that 72.7% of interns are offered full-time employment at the completion of their internship. In the same survey, employers indicated that converting interns into full-time employees is the primary goal of running internship programs. These results underscore the importance of internships in increasing employment opportunities and creating a more skilled workforce.

At the event, students had the opportunity to network with RI employers during an internship fair and attend breakout sessions on creating a personal brand through social media, building relationships & networking, translating strengths to a resume, and diversity & cultural competency. Meanwhile, employers attended a session on building and strengthening a successful internship program. The event wrapped up with a networking luncheon where employers and students had the opportunity to speak face-to-face.

“Since we launched Bridge.jobs less than five years ago, nearly seven thousand area students have registered in hopes of finding an internship in Rhode Island,” said Charles P. Kelley, Executive Director of RISLA, the agency that hosts the Bridge.jobs website. “We are proud to work with our partners to make hundreds of opportunities available to students, but it is imperative that even more Rhode Island employers start hosting interns. Internships are a gateway to employment opportunities, a more skilled workforce, and a revitalization of our economy. That is why we are making a major push to grow this successful program.”

Bridge.jobs was launched in 2013 to encourage work-based learning for students, youth, and adult learners throughout Rhode Island. The objective of the program is to increase the work readiness, knowledge, and skills of the current and emerging workforce in the state, while giving students and adults greater opportunities to remain in RI and contribute to the state’s economic growth.

Bridge.jobs is a partnership between RISLA, the Governor’s Workforce Board, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of RI, the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, and Rhode Island’s public colleges and universities.