How to Start A Student Loan Support Group
A quick quiz:
- Are you struggling with paying back your student loans?
- Would you like advice, techniques, and tips for paying back student loan debts?
- Do you want to socialize and share with others who have student loan debt?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might benefit from a student loan support group. A student loan support group is simply a group of people who meet to connect, learn, and share advice and stories about their student loan struggles.
Don’t worry if you’ve never formed a club before! We’ve got 6 easy steps to get you started:
Step # 1 Decide what you want
Your support group will be a safe space to talk about student loans and debt, but consider expanding the scope.
Your support group could also discuss topics like:
- Personal finances
- Resources – helpful articles, podcasts, books, or social media feeds
- Side hustles
- Career help – how to ask for a raise, write a cover letter, find a new job
Step # 2 Invite members
Once you’ve decided on your group, it’s time to invite some people in! If you want to keep it personal, invite friends, family, or colleagues struggling with student debts.
Or, if you’d like to expand beyond your immediate network, consider posting flyers in local businesses or use the meetup app to create a group to spread the word.
Be sure to tell potential members:
- Group name
- Meeting location
- Meeting start and end time
Step # 3 Host the first meeting
Time for the first meeting! Be sure to meet in a comfortable, public place. The meeting room at a library or a table at a local cafe will help keep your support group professional, safe, and separate from the rest of life.
Offer name tags, so everyone can get acquainted easily. Also, consider making the first 15-30 minutes of the meeting an “icebreaker” portion, so people can mix and mingle.
Step # 4 Set goals
At the first meeting, discuss as a group what to focus on. Do you want to…
- socialize and commiserate about student loan debt?
- learn more about personal finance?
- bring in expert guest speakers?
- hold each other accountable on savings goals?
- discuss a personal finance book every month?
The option are endless. After discussion, pick three key goals – or less – to hone in on the focus of the support group.
Step # 5 Create an agenda
Additionally, as the leader of the group, it might be helpful to bring a suggested format and agenda to the first meeting.
- Introductions – Have each member introduce themselves and their reason for joining the group.
- Check-In – Each member has a chance to share updates on their student debt repayment and challenges.
- Advice – Anyone can offer advice or tips to deal with debt.
- Discuss the selected topic of the month – You could talk about…
- a finance book
- how to start a side business to help pay off debt
- self-care tips during stressful periods
- anything relating to finance, debt, loans, employment, etc.
- Closing Thoughts – End on positive news or an affirming quote to bring the meeting to an uplifting close.
Step # 6 Stay in touch
After your first meeting, be sure to collect everyone’s name, phone number, and email to stay in touch.
Also, be sure to discuss the best way for the group to stay in touch. A few options:
- A monthly reminder email
- A monthly invitation with an RSVP option
- A private social media group
- A blog or website with updates
Alexis Irvin is a writer and documentary filmmaker obsessed with entrepreneurship, careers, and pursuing dreams. Her Millennial career guide, Build Your Dreams: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love, is available at bookstores everywhere! Alexis lives in sunny Los Angeles where she loves to hike, eat tacos, and read on the beach.
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