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United Way of Greater Kansas City's new partnership with Savi to help borrowers with student debt repayments

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Posted at 5:00 PM, Oct 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-18 19:33:11-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Student loan payments resumed for millions of Americans in October.

To help Kansas City-area families with the financial burden, United Way of Greater Kansas City launched a partnership with Savi, an online platform that helps streamline the entire repayment process and recommends individualized payment plans for borrowers.

“They are literally made-up numbers to me,” Renee Rivera said. “I’ll probably never see that much money on top of my paycheck in my life, like we don’t even make that in a year.”

Rivera is forced to do life a little differently these days. Her family is down to the bare necessities since loan repayments resumed.

An extra $1,300 payment is now expected each month until Rivera chips all the way to the bottom of her $150,000 student loan debt.

“It’s impossible right now to make that big of a payment when you know my salary hasn’t gone up but the price of everything else has,” Rivera said.

Higher education was non-negotiable as a first-generation college graduate. Rivera hoped as an educator for a Title I school, some of her loans would be forgiven. But, sadly, that reality was not part of the lesson plan.

“They put so many barriers in the way of actually getting to that, that you never get that,” Rivera said.

Unfortunately, Rivera’s story is just one of thousands in the Kansas City metro. United Way of Greater Kansas City hopes its new partnership with Savi will help alleviate some of the financial burden families face.

“More than $1.6 trillion of debt for Americans, and we know that that’s about $35,000 for every single person who has taken out a student loan in their lifetime,” said Kera Mashek with United Way of Greater Kansas City.

Over the next year, access to all services will be free of charge for anyone living in the metro. Savi users typically save about $150 a month toward their repayment, according to the company.

“You have to enter your information in one time and not 100 times on all of the various paperwork that you do, and they’ll submit it directly to the Department of Education for you,” Mashek said.

Rivera is especially looking forward to her one-on-one virtual consultation with a financial expert. While the program is not a fix-all, it has at least given her a sense of direction.

“Right now, it just feels debilitating with any sort of student loan and being able to plan for the future,” Rivera said. “It came at a very good time.”