YNPN Los Angeles member Delaine Ureño recently attended the Forum on Student Debt and the Nonprofit Workforce for free through YNPN LA's partnership with the Association for California Nonprofits and StudentDebtCrisis.org. She walked away with important information about managing her own debt and an actionable plan for tackling it -- one dollar at a time! Here's her interview with YNPN LA Secretary Brian Rosenbaum.
Brian Rosenbaum: First, tell us a little about yourself. What's your story?
Delaine Ureño: I graduated from Pitzer College, in Claremont, in 2009, where I studied Art History. I currently serve as Manager of Institutional Giving for The Music Center in Downtown LA.
BR: Why did you want to attend the Forum on Student Debt?
DU: I've researched this topic on my own numerous times but could never find a straight answer. I never knew if the source I was using was a trusted one! I was so stoked that I was able to speak to a vetted and trusted resource.
BR: What did you take away from the event?
DU: I learned about student loan debt forgiveness programs for nonprofit professionals and the exact steps I need to take to start that process. I also learned about the different legislation that State Representative Eric Swalwell is trying to push through to further help with this burden that so many of us face. One of the best parts was a one-on-one session with a Student Debt Crisis adviser to go over my unique situation. She outlined the steps I need to take with my loans. She also gave me a packet of information for me to take back to my organization's human resources department!
BR: What do you think employers and managers should be doing about student debt?
DU: A really good point that was made during the presentation is that if nonprofits want to recruit talented individuals and not risk losing them to higher-paying, for-profit companies because of their debt, employers need to provide tools to allow debt-riddled employees to help themselves.
BR: Absolutely. So what are your next steps?
DU: First, I plan to approach my HR department to see if we can bring Student Debt Crisis in for a presentation. My coworkers need to know what tools, resources, and help are available to them. I also already began the steps necessary to put myself on the loan forgiveness track. I also lowered my payments by $100 per month, down from $600 monthly, by taking advantage of legislation that Obama already signed into existence (which is not actively encouraged by my lenders). Lastly, I made sure to tell all my department colleagues struggling with the same issues about what I learned and what steps they can take – including contacting Student Debt Crisis for their own free personal evaluation!
BR: Thank you Delanie! This is all great. Any final thoughts?
DU: I want to thank YNPN LA for the opportunity to attend this workshop. I am proud to be a member and would encourage others to join!