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Sallie Mae Roundtable Discussion with President Jack Remondi

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a small round table discussion related to college affordability/accessibility and the metrics involved to help students succeed. I have been involved in a number of these discussions in the past but what made this one unique was that Jack Remondi, President & COO of Sallie Mae, was in attendance along with four of his senior staff. I am normally not easily enamored by people with important titles but I did some research on Mr. Remondi prior to our session and I found that he is quite accomplished. Jack was CFO for a financial services company (later purchased by Sallie Mae) by the age of 26 and took over as CFO of Sallie Mae in 2008 during a time when our nation (including Sallie Mae) was in the middle of a financial crisis. He turned around Sallie Mae and has been a “change agent” for higher education ever since. So, as you can imagine, I was curious to see what Mr. Remondi had to share with our group.

The following represents some of the highlights from our discussion:

  • 37 Million people (Parents/Students) have educational loan debt
  • Education loan debt surpasses 1 Trillion dollars
  • In the last ten years, 7 million more students are making their way to college
  • $26,000 is the average education loan debt of those that borrow
  • Sallie Mae has over 10 million customers
  • Borrowers that DON’T graduate have an average default rate of 17%
  • Borrowers that DO graduate have an average default rate of 3.7%
  • Sallie Mae provides a number of tools to help families/students succeed
  • Deferments and Forbearance are being accessed out of convenience and not necessarily out of need
  • Mr. Remondi states that 90% of delinquency is resolved with a phone call
  • One college shared that they track students that have abnormally high student loan debt going into their sophomore year and  provide proactive counseling
  • The financial aspect of the college process should be presented to families early on so that they have time to save. In addition, they need proper financial education when they are making the final college decision (senior year of high school).
  • A college administrator shared that students need to define why they are going to college before actually going… (career ambitions need to match educational investment)
  • A college financial aid director championed the Income-Based Repayment option on federal loans as a little known solution that students need to take advantage of instead of going into default or becoming delinquent.
  • A college administrator also mentioned that, as a nation, we should look at Australia’s higher education model (as it pertains to financing). Students can borrow up to their cost of attendance and it is paid back (automatically deducted) from future income (4-8%).

As you can see, we had a very productive couple of hours and a lot of good information was shared. I think the overriding message that I took away from this discussion is that we all need to help students succeed. We need to help them reach their educational goals but we also need to make sure that they are making responsible choices along the way when it comes to college selection and securing education loans to cover the associated costs.

In closing, I would like to share with you the following infographic. As many of you may know, Sallie Mae sponsors an annual research survey to see “How America Pays For College” and “How America Saves For College”. The infographic below is an executive summary (highlight) of the information found in the 52 page report. (You can click on the picture to enlarge it.) Enjoy!

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3 Responses to “Sallie Mae Roundtable Discussion with President Jack Remondi”

  1. Dottie says:

    I liked the article,right on. D

  2. Sam Rockwell says:

    What Jack Remondi has brought to the student loan game is aggressive lending practices followed by relentless collections tactics. I borrowed from Sallie Mae which is now Navient sevral times. All told about 14,000 ovewe the course of a few semesters, mind you I paid back all of the 14,000 but just borrowed 1,600 for a summer class. The result of taking this 1,600 has been up to,eight calls a day. That is right eight calls a day before my payment is even due! I spoke to a supervisor named Anthony Valenti and asked him why he was calling even though my due date was 5 days away he said that was their policy.

    Sure Jack Remondi will lend you the money but he will have his boiler room in Delaware hound you every month until you pay whether you are current or not. Jack is no genius just an aggressive guy at the right place at the right time. No trick to lending money and then applying strong arm tactics to get it back. Been going on since the beginning of time.


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