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Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Feb 11, 2013

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Michigan high school students may want to start filling out college applications for Spring Arbor University.

The Christian university unveiled plans to partner with the Loan Repayment Assistance Association to offer the incoming freshman class of 2013 the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP).

LRAP gives financial assistance to students that graduate but are unable to earn sufficient income to pay for their college loans.

This student loan program couldn’t come soon enough. In an interview with, Malachi Crane, assistant vice president of university communications, said that SAU graduates have student debt above the national average of $26,500.

“Last year’s SAU graduates averaged $32,000 in educational loan debt,” said Crane.

Students enrolled in LRAP will receive an award letter that specifies their lower and upper income thresholds. These thresholds will determine how much assistance they receive.

To remain a part of LRAP, graduates from Spring Arbor University must be employed at least three-fourths of the time they’re enrolled in the program.

“These students have to work a minimum of 30 hours and it really incentivizes students to find some kind of employment, even if it’s not in their field of choice,” said Crane.

Should graduates have a low level of income, they will receive assistance to help repay their college loans. This assistance can be in the form of reimbursement for the entire amount of their loan payments. However, as a graduate’s income level rises, the benefit is reduced accordingly.

According to a Spring Arbor University news release, if students have an income level that is midway between the upper and lower income levels, then they will receive half of the amount of their payments for that year via quarterly reimbursements.

LRAP assistance will continue until a graduate has paid off his or her loans or their income is above the upper threshold. Of course, verification of income is key to avoid any potential abuse.

“The student will have to submit confirmation with the LRAP Foundation quarterly to show what level of salary compensation they are at with some kind of paystub, such as direct deposit,” said Crane. “The company that they work for will provide some kind of proof they are working. That burden is all on the student once they graduate.”

Crane continued to explain that there is currently no cap on how many students may be enrolled into the new program.

“Our hope is that we’ll see an increase in enrollment in the freshman class of next year. Last year we had 313 freshmen. This year we’re expecting an increase in enrollment partly due to that we’re offering this program,” said Crane.