Who's HELPing the Middle Class Go To School?



                               Video: Brendon Hoellein talks about who's helping him go to school.

If you’ve watched any of the political debates you’ve no doubt heard the candidates convey their empathy for the struggle of America’s middle class.  Each touts the importance of education to reviving the country’s economy.  Each has assured us if they are elected the nation’s young people will have better access to an affordable education and jobs. Each candidate have said they have a plan and each candidate has accused the other of speaking in generalities with no specific plan.  Every day America’s youth and their families our seeking answers to provide for their future.  Their needs are critical and there needs are immediate.


Brendon Hoellein

Meet Brendon Hoellein.  Brendon, with his parents and two younger brothers, grew up in a middle class family in Aberdeen, South Dakota.  His father is an elementary school teacher and his mother a medical records specialist.  Brendon’s dream was to attend a college with a high quality academic reputation that would also give him an opportunity to continue his athletic career.

Brendon, like thousands of other college age students, couldn’t wait for unspecific campaign promises to be fulfilled.  His needs were "critical and immediate".

Seventy three percent of students attend all types of public colleges and universities.

Brendon’s desire was to attend Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Augustana is ranked by US News Media Group as #3 on their list of “Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest”.  However, the annual comprehensive costs of an Augustana College eduaction of over $34,000 was to be a substantial challenge for Brendon and his family’s resources.  “It kind of hurts, because you want to go to a good school, but if you don’t have the money it’s hard to do,” said Brendon.

The annual family income of more than 47 percent of undergraduates is less than $40,000.

Not only the immediate challenge of college costs weighed on Brendon’s mind, but his future ability to pay back student loans was a major concern, “For sure, I don’t want give up my whole (future) paycheck just to pay for school,” he added, “I never thought I’d make enough money to pay for that (college education) in a lifetime, those numbers were just too big.”

Twenty three percent of full-time undergrads, who are 24 or younger, work 20 hours or more a week.

However, with money he’s earning during summer vacations, the help from; a college  baseball scholarship and student loans (federally guaranteed and an iHELP private loan) Brendon is fulfilling his dream.  Now a sophomore at Augustana College, Brendon, along with his parents, put together an affordable plan to get a high quality education that wouldn’t put an unmanageable burden on him for years to come.  “With the iHELP loan I was able to fill the last gap in what I needed to go to school,” said Brendon, he added, “I’m learning how to pay for things, this isn’t free, but in the long run I’m going to be able to afford it.”

Borrow only what you need. Estimate the amount of debt you may be able to afford and your monthly student loan payment before you borrow.

iHelplogo_250The iHELP Student Loan is a private, credit-based loan with competitive rates and good borrower benefits. It is offered through local community banks and is designed to cover educational costs that aren't covered by a student's traditional financial aid package, which generally consists of scholarships, grants, and federal student loans.