About “The Student LoanDown”
Welcome to The Student LoanDown, Wells Fargo’s blog about financing your college education.
Wells Fargo has been helping students pay for education for nearly four decades, but our education roots actually run much deeper. In fact, we’ve been helping with education since the 19th century when, as an express company, we delivered books, supplies, and equipment to schools across the American frontier.
Now, we’re exploring a new frontier: the blogosphere.
In this blog, our team will give you the lowdown on all things student loan: applying for them, selecting them, repaying them. We’ll guide you through the financial aid process and share our own experiences—both as former students and as Wells Fargo team members. We’ll talk about the resources you need to prepare and pay for school. We’ll also cover budgeting and debt management strategies because, let’s face it, college keeps getting more expensive.
So maybe you’re thinking about college, already in college, or done with college. Maybe you’re a parent of a college student. Maybe you just have an interest in education financing, like we do. Hey, as long as you want to learn more about student loans, share information, and start conversations, you’re in the right place.
One more thing
As a bank, regulations prevent us from obtaining your personal information—hence the restrictions in our blog comments that prevent you from submitting your full name. Also, we can’t capture your blog’s URL in our comments due to concerns about phishing. We know these regulations are there for good reason: to protect consumers from fraud and to protect your privacy. So please, bear with us.
If you’d like follow-up from us, please send us an email.
Angel Zapata is Senior VP and National Manager for the Wells Fargo Foundation’s industry-leading financial education program, Hands on Banking/El futuro en tus manos. He currently serves on the national board of directors of the Jump$tart Coalition, the ABA Education Foundation, and serves as Chairman of the Corporate Circle for Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles. Additionally, Angel serves as School Site Council Chair for Edison Language Academy, a Title I school in the Pico Neighborhood in Santa Monica, CA. Angel received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Los Angeles and M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. He is also a graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington.
Barbara is a news junkie who always is listening to NPR . She graduated from the University of South Dakota in May 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. Much of her spare time is spent transitioning into adulthood. She also enjoys traveling as much as her budget allows, reading anything from cereal boxes to classic literature and living vicariously through George, Izzie, and Meredith on Grey’s Anatomy . Before she dies, Barbara wants to spend as much time as it takes to see every Broadway show in New York City.
Ben Osmond is an Account Executive for Wells Fargo, working closely with Financial Aid offices at colleges and universities. As a former admissions counselor for Hamline University (go Pipers!) he knows firsthand how challenging it can be for families trying to finance an education and the importance of financial aid professionals and student lenders working together to make the dream possible. At home, Ben is the only male, happily albeit confused, living with four chatty females (one wife, two daughters, one cat). During his “me-time,” Ben can be found fishing for Walleye, watching Top Chef or cheering for (in order of importance) the Vikings, Wild and Twins.
Brenda is a regional manager of Wells Fargo’s financial education program Hands on Banking. She spends her days training Wells Fargo volunteers to teach financial education in classrooms and communities across California. A marathon runner and lover of food, Brenda is passionate about sharing life and career tips for youth through her personal blog. Brenda volunteers on community boards that focus on education and enjoys speaking about money management and credit. She is a political junkie and holds a Masters from Cal State Fullerton in Political Science—a long-term goal of hers is to run for office someday. Brenda currently resides in Los Angeles.
Caroline is a communications consultant for Wells Fargo Education Financial Services. Although she has been known to forget her own ZIP code, she has memorized the lyrics to every bad 1970s pop song ever written . Unfortunately, she also loves karaoke. Caroline spends her spare time at Target®. She also likes biking slowly and has participated in RAGBRAI several times. Caroline is a graduate of Iowa State University and has worked in journalism and public relations for the past 14 years. She lives in Iowa with her husband and has a 19-year-old stepdaughter and 2-year-old son.
Cheryl is a product manager for Wells Fargo Card Services & Consumer Lending. She attended U.C. Berkeley (Go Bears!) for her undergrad degree and first entered the workforce at an ad agency in San Francisco during the middle of the dot-com boom. She spent five years in advertising before going back for an MBA at NYU Stern. Cheryl is an avid sports fan whose loyalties lie with the NY Mets , Giants , and Knicks. When not at work or watching sports, she is most likely trying a new restaurant, shopping for discounted designer shoes, updating her Facebook status, or watching bad reality television.
Craig Lamson is a Program Manager for the Social Web team where he helps manage the Wells Fargo Community, an online forum focused on education planning. Craig is motivated to help people share knowledge about financial topics so they can reach their life goals. He has over 18 years of experience in the financial services industry and is an avid investor. He started paying close attention to money matters while pursuing a BA in Economics and English at Wesleyan University. Craig loves exercise and the outdoors and has dabbled in rock climbing, martial arts, mountaineering, and a lot of other activities that make his heart beat faster. He also makes time for travel including trips to Asia, Australia, Europe, Central America, South America, and a lot of places right here in the USA.
Dana is a marketing consultant for Wells Fargo Education Financial Services, and received her Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Today she spends her spare time in the house she rebuilt with her husband, raising two small daughters that inspire her to do meaningful work, and save as much as she can for their upcoming college years.
Dave Cooney is a market research manager for Wells Fargo Card Services. However, what he really wanted to be when he was growing up was an astronaut . Bad eyesight and a strong fear of heights put an end to that dream. He once tried to conquer his fear of heights by skydiving-which didn’t actually help. Dave is an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison (go, Badgers!) for both undergrad and his MBA. He has lived and worked in both China and Japan and speaks a little of both languages. When he’s not at work, Dave can usually be found on the sidelines of a soccer field or the side of a pool rooting for his kids’ teams.
Debra Ensor brings 13 years of experience to her role as Account Executive for Wells Fargo Education Financial Services (EFS) in the DC, DE, MD and NY areas. In this role, she is responsible for developing business relationships with colleges and universities to helps students and families with financing solutions for college. By educating financial aid offices about available Wells Fargo college financing solutions, she is able to ensure families make informed financing decisions to meet their needs. In this role, she also serves on the Tri-state Association of Financial Aid Administrators board.
Debra is a graduate of the State University College of New York at Oneonta in NY (Go Red Dragons!) and holds a MBA from Marymount University in Arlington, VA. In her spare time she enjoys spending time at home with her family which includes 3 small children, cooking, entertaining, going to hockey games (GO CAPS!), listening to music and taking advantage of all that the Baltimore, DC and Maryland area offers.
Delenie is the 2009 summer marketing intern for Wells Fargo Education Financial Services in San Francisco. She plans to finish at UC Berkeley next spring with a double major in Economics and Spanish, just in time to start her exciting life in the city. When she’s not busy applying for scholarships and attending “How To Manage Your Money and Get Rich Fast!” seminars to afford a chic college lifestyle, she enjoys traveling to South America , eating ethnic foods , and learning how to tango. This internship will allow her to help other students learn more about the loan process and prepare her for her future, in case she needs to take out loans with Wells Fargo for her MBA.
Dinna is a Product Manager for Wells Fargo’s College Credit Card. She is a UC Berkeley alum and worked while getting her Marketing MBA at Cal State Hayward . While most of her experience has been in the financial services industry, she’s also worked in the internet marketing space and was the 23rd employee at a notable internet startup . Lately, Dinna has found a new passion: extending credit education to college-age customers. When she’s not working, Dinna is planning her next big trip . Last year, she traveled halfway around the world to Cyprus with stops in London and Frankfurt-all with her two toddlers in tow! Who knows where she’ll be headed next?
Eric is an e-business consultant on the Internet Team at Wells Fargo Insurance and a self-declared nerd at heart. An outrageous fan of all things Wisconsin—most notably cheese (in the curd form) and the Green Bay Packers—Eric graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Big shocker. When he’s not working to pay off his student loans, you can catch him on the golf course, attending a local film festival, spending a weekend at the lake, or out on the town. Other obsessions include the neurotic comedy of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as trying to find ways to put his talent of being able to clap with only one hand to good use.
Jessica is the 2010 summer communications intern for Wells Fargo Education Financial Services in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Originally from Milwaukee, Jessica is an alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She graduated in May with degrees in Journalism and African American studies. She is excited to learn more about the student lending business, internal communications and the ins and outs of a bank. When she’s not working, Jessica’s passions include science fiction, techno music. Her two top goals are to attend a Star Trek convention and to be a published writer.
Karen is a marketing consultant with Wells Fargo’s Online Customer Marketing group. She’s been in the financial services industry for most of her working life with a brief stint in retail hardware while attending college . When she’s not busy changing diapers or making sure her son has lunch money, she likes taking bike rides in the warm California sun, working on her dancing skills in hopes that “Solid Gold“ will make a TV revival and planning her next dream vacation with her husband.
Kate is a Community Manager for our online forum at wellsfargocommunity.com where you can ask questions and share knowledge about financial topics including education planning and student loans. Kate graduated from Colorado State University and majored in Journalism with an emphasis in social media communications. While not at work, Kate enjoys running and has been trying to learn how to cook in her very tiny kitchen. Her friends are her test subjects, and so far everyone has made it out alive!
Kathy began her tenure as a summer intern at Wells Fargo, and she has returned full-time after completing her MBA at the UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business . As the daughter of a U.S. Air Force officer, she’s not originally from anywhere but usually calls San Antonio home. Kathy’s a total sports nut, with favorite teams including her hometown San Antonio Spurs and undergrad Texas A&M Aggies ! When she’s not watching sports, she’s probably enjoying the latest installments of Project Runway or her summer obsession, So You Think You Can Dance !
Katie is a marketing consultant for Wells Fargo and is known among her friends as an entrepreneur, writer, actress, and producer for films. She’s a bookworm who refuses to give up the smell and touch of a real book for a Kindle, and believes Pluto is still a planet. Her passion for travel takes her exploring the world on a “no-carb-left-behind” diet and writes about her adventures on her personal blog. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Katie worked in publicity in the entertainment industry. A San Francisco native, she currently resides in Los Angeles and continues to pursue her passion in art, dedicating her life to perfecting her craft.
Maurice is a Regional Manager for Wells Fargo Education Financial Services for the Northeast US. He is a Graduate of the University of Texas at Austin (Go ‘horns!!!) with a degree in Economics and called Austin home until a recent relocation to New York City. Even though Austin will always be home, Maurice is enjoying this new adventure of being a city boy in Manhattan. While in Austin, Maurice was very active in the community and volunteered his time to serve on numerous boards. He has a love of college athletics especially football and following his Longhorns, in addition to watching movies, listening to live music, trying new restaurants, going to live sporting events, and just about anything else he can get into. He is an avid traveler and a huge fan of U2, so when he can put those two together it’s always a plus! Maurice currently spends his time exploring and taking advantage of everything New York has to offer. From 5th Ave to local dives, and from exploring places from Brooklyn to Hoboken, he’s finding there’s always a new adventure and experience to be had.
Pam is with the Wells Fargo Foundation and manages the company’s Hands on Banking® financial literacy program. She spent 20 years as a public school teacher and high school principal and has lived to tell about it! Every spare moment is spent either running (love those 10k races) or on the golf course. In her next life she wants to be Annika Sorenstam . She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in education and organizational development. She lives in Southern California just steps away from a great running trail and golf course.
Rachel is a consultant with Wells Fargo Regional Marketing. A graduate of the University of Nevada , she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising . She’s currently paying off her Wells Fargo student loan and is slowly getting used to grocery clerks calling her “Ma’am.” Mexican food is the only thing Rachel can honestly cook well (stemming from her years working at a burrito shop in high school), and TiVo® is her favorite piece of modern technology (which she admittedly uses to watch/record her favorite commercials ). On a good day, you can catch Rachel dancing in her cubicle when no one else is watching.
Staci is a marketing program manager for Wells Fargo Education Financial Services. Although she still hasn’t decided what she wants to be when she grows up, her childhood ambition was to be Laura Ingalls Wilder . She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Government and has spent the past decade working in public service, public relations, and marketing. Staci is addicted to Tide to Go® pens, coffee (hence the need for Tide pens), and paper products. Her faithful companion in life is her stubborn and vocal Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Pie Elizabeth . A native South Dakotan, she has lived on both coasts and likes the middle.
Trang grew up listening to 90s grunge and has recently discovered a newfound love for hip hop music. When she isn’t dreaming of being an accomplished backup dancer on tour with Beyonce, she is a marketing consultant for Wells Fargo Regional Sales and Marketing. She is a graduate of Portland State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Human Resources. Although she has lived in the Pacific Northwest all her life, Trang is only now honing her snowboarding skills. When she is not dreaming of being a professional backup dancer, working or snowboarding, she is dreaming of her next adventure wherever in the world that may be.
Veronica is an extremely well-adjusted adult whose hobbies can easily be confused with those of an overindulged teenager. When she’s not perusing the local food blogs or surfing the Web, she’s likely catching up on celebrity gossip, streaming the latest Kelly Clarkson tune, or DVR-ing her favorite TV shows on networks that target a much younger demographic than hers (Jersey Shore and Gossip Girl anyone?). Veronica received her BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley (Go Bears!) and her MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business (Go … Violets!?). By day, Veronica plays the role of a working professional as a Product Manager for Wells Fargo’s Internet Services Group.
Vikas is a Marketing Program Manager for Wells Fargo Insurance. Responsible for Product Development and Operations, Vikas watches banking and insurance trends to help deliver products and services. Vikas has been with Wells Fargo since 2003. He has an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota and a Bachelors degree in Economics from the University of Minnesota, and St. Xavier’s College, India. Vikas and his wife Sarah have been married for 8 years and have a 2 1/2 year old daughter, Lilli, and are expecting another child. They enjoy spending time together and traveling as a family whenever possible.
Yasmine is a Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Compliance Specialist for Wells Fargo Financial Crimes Risk Management. She loves French film (Truffaut, anyone?), brain candy books (good, but not too good for you), and her handy-dandy iPod. Yasmine graduated from Stanford University in June 2010 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Relations and Film & Media Studies and is currently paying off her student loans. Some of her favorite hobbies include playing ping pong with Nadal-esque topspin, falling asleep while doing stuff (but not at work, of course), watching Space Jam (and falling asleep), and belting out Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” when no one can hear (she hopes). Oh, and paying off her student loans.