Executive Director Message
This generation is both blessed and cursed with a constant influx of data, information, statistics and connectivity with all of humanity. Information is available on any topic – even how to 3-D print your own kitchen sink. One might get the impression that a small nonprofit, like LEAF, is irrelevant in such a high-tech, information-rich environment. This could not be further from the truth. LEAF is more relevant than ever.
Our young people may live in this information-rich environment, but nothing replaces the personal advice, sage wisdom, vast experience and helping hand of a LEAF advisor — both for parents and their children who are trying to balance long-term financial risk with the desire to pursue a fulfilling career.
LEAF advisors are not just a “data point” in a student’s post-secondary planning. They are a guidepost, a road sign on the interstate of life, a caring person who will look into a student’s eyes and ask “What is your passion?” – “How can you fulfill this dream and minimize financial risk.” and “Let’s figure this out together.”
It was much less complicated back in my day. I researched and applied for colleges on my own … my parents’ involvement was only to drive me to college on move-in day. Unlike today’s generation, I was not at financial risk going it alone, securing college loans, changing majors, and taking time off to finish college in six years.
Today, approximately 26% of student loan borrowers default within the first five years of loan repayment! The vast majority of these college loan defaults were from young people who did not complete their degree – with loan balances of less than $10,000. As a society, we must do better in communicating alternative
post-secondary educational and training pathways available that will lead to a fulfilling and rewarding career without the resulting financial risks. Communication and experiential education are key elements for change.
Since 2006, outstanding college loan debt in the United States has more than tripled to $1.6 trillion—a debt larger than most countries. In fact, the U.S. college loan debt would rank 13th highest in the world, larger than the total debt of Australia. Very shocking.
Your financial assistance and support is greatly appreciated as we continue our mission assisting young people to discover, plan and implement their own journey after high school.
David K. Munson
Lake/Geauga Educational Assistance Foundation