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RISLA Expands Knowledge for College Scholarship Program
To Award (50) students $2,000
Patti Doyle | Communications | Warwick, Rhode Island, April 7th, 2021

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) has expanded its monthly financial literacy scholarship program to allow 50 students the opportunity to win $2,000 by answering financial literacy questions pertaining to credit, budgeting, not over borrowing to pay for college and other financial topics.

According to Charles Kelley CPA, CFA, Executive Director of RISLA, the “Knowledge for College Scholarship” program has been expanded from an annual scholarship offering of $50,000 last year to $100,000 beginning in May of 2021.

“It’s our hope that RISLA can help Rhode Island student residents and now non-resident students attending a RI college or university, cover their tuition, reduce the amount they need to borrow, and improve their financial literacy in a fun and 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 that they will be attending.

Rhode Island resident college students or high school seniors, in addition to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at a Rhode Island college or university are eligible to participate. To be eligible to win one of the $2,000 scholarships students merely need to read short passages on Paying for College, Budgeting, and Credit, then take a quick, online three question quiz on these topics. Knowledge for College is designed to broaden a student’s ability to make good personal finance decisions while they prepare for, attend, or pay for college.

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RISLA Launches Free Service to Assist Employers in Implementing Tax Free Repayment of Employee Student Loans
Charles P. Kelley | EXECUTIVE Director | 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.

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RISLA NATIONALLY RANKED

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."

 

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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RISLA PRODUCTS & SERVICES
COLLEGE PLANNING CENTER

Students and families can be overwhelmed with planning and how to pay for college.  We have experienced counselors that offer one on one assistance helping families understand all their options start to finish.

EDUCATION LOANS

We have been offering low cost, fix rate education loans for almost 30 years.  Helping students and families borrower responsibly to help achieve their higher education dreams.

REFINANCE

Refinancing may help you simplify and save when repaying student loans.  Combining outstanding balances, and securing a low interest rate with RISLA may reduce your overall repayment amount and possibly your monthly payment.

EMPLOYER REPAY

Employer Student Loan Repayment assistance is a tax-free benefit allowing employers to contribute towards the repayment of employee student loans.  This newest in-demand employee benefit helps reduce financial stress for employees while increasing retention and loyalty to employers.