July 19, 2016


By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

The clock is slowly ticking toward the day that thousands of North Dakota students will be heading back to college. For some, it will be their first year of undergraduate study. For others, it will be just another year of study in their effort to receive a degree before entering the workforce.
But whether it is their first year of college or their last, all of these students will be facing a common problem. How are they going to finance their college education?
For some fortunate students, they will receive financial help from their parents or through scholarships and grants to help pay a portion of their college costs. For others, they face the prospect of having to foot the cost entirely on their own. But regardless, most students will be incurring the first significant debt of their lives.
According to a study, seven in 10 seniors who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2014 had an average student loan debt of $28,950. While over the last decade (from 2004 to 2014), the share of graduates with debt rose modestly (from 65 to 69 percent), the average debt at graduation rose at more than twice the rate of inflation.
Fortunately for North Dakota residents, the state’s Bank of North Dakota offers two programs under its DEAL program that help make the financing of college a little more economical.
For students attending undergraduate or graduate programs and who are looking for additional help funding their college when federal loans other forms of financial aid aren’t enough, the Bank of North Dakota offers the DEAL Student Loan. This loan program, which has a limit of $50,000 can be used for any expenses related to college including tuition, room and board, books, and anything else you may need.
The key attractive feature of the DEAL Student Loan program is its low interest rates that range from 2.15 percent for a variable interest loan to a fixed loan rate of 4.33 percent.
The second program that is attracting a lot of attention is the Bank of North Dakota’s Student Loan Refinancing program, the DEAL One Loan, which allows borrowers to consolidate both federal and private student loans into one new loan and save thousands of dollars in interest rates.
In fact, the Bank of North Dakota’s DEAL One Loan is now being used as an recruitment tool by many North Dakota companies. Under the program, which was launched in 2014, graduates regardless of where they attended college and who have lived in North Dakota for at least six months, can now consolidate all of their student loans and save themselves literally thousands of dollars in interest charges.
Attending college today is not cheap. And piling up debt to attend college can be a long-term financial burden on graduates. But thanks to these two loan programs by the Bank of North Dakota, some of the costs associated with receiving a college education can be minimized.
So if you have a student who is planning to attend an in-state college this year, or has graduated from college, it would be worth your time and effort to check into these Bank of North Dakota loan programs. The money that you can save is well worth the effort.