Attending a college or a major university comes with a lot of challenges, and for many students, one of those hurdles is managing student loan debt during and after their time in school.
One GVSU alumnus decided to take his skills in finance and put them to work, helping students understand their student loan options in online Zoom meetings, completely free of charge.
Zach Dzialowski, a 2020 GVSU graduate, said he got the idea to reach out to students after hearing from many of his friends and his girlfriend about their struggles to manage their student loan debt.
“After seeing how much my girlfriend struggled to understand her options and seeing just how many there were, I realized that if she needed my help to understand her options, then others might too,” Dzialowski said. “We learned a lot just working with the two of us, and saw that there are options and ways to configure things to speed up the paying-off process a lot, and I wanted to be able to share that knowledge with other students.”
Dzialowski graduated from GVSU with a bachelor’s in business administration in accounting and finance and went on to complete an internship with New York Life before starting his own financial practice this year.
He said that his time working at his internship helped him to realize the good he could do for students through his own practice.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dzialowski felt it was an opportunity to connect with even more students considering the increase in usage of online services.
Currently, he is offering meetings with clients through Zoom. He is also available upon request for in-person, socially-distanced meetings. Dzialowski decided to make his services free to students because he felt like charging them for help with understanding student loan debt might not look great, and he wanted to have as positive and helpful interactions with clients as possible.
“I saw that a lot of students just don’t have the resources, or don’t know how to reach out to for help, and I wanted to put my name out there,” Dzialowski said. “I felt that it would be beneficial and faster for both me and other students if I reached out through Facebook, it’s been giving me more practice in my field and helping people learn about their loan payment options at the same time for free, so it’s really a win-win.”
In terms of what services Dzialowski offers, he explained that he has extensive knowledge of a number of student loan programs and what options they offer for students. Dzialowski said that the struggle that many students have is understanding every part of what taking a loan means, and he can help explain in more simple terms what each loan program payment timeline is and what loopholes exist that can help you pay off your loans faster.
The average debt load for Michigan public university graduates rose by more than $10,000 between 2007-08 and 2017-18. Even after adjusting for inflation, that is a 24% increase. According to student debt loan statistics from The Institute for College Access & Success, an estimated 20% of student loan borrowers were behind with their payments.
Dzialowski said that having even one resource, like his financial services, can help take a lot of the weight off of your shoulders. His main goal is to help people feel more at ease in their understanding of whatever program they are paying through and get more students free from the burden of loans.
Dzialowski said that for students who want help, the easiest way to contact him is to find him on Facebook and send him a message.
“I have a whole process that I take my clients through, it’s step by step and I’ve gotten great feedback from people and friends I’ve worked with already,” Dzialowski said. “I do a lot at my practice outside of helping with student loan debt so I can also consult for other financial questions that people might have, all you need to do is reach out and I am happy to help.”