President's Message

Author: Paul J. Luna, Helios Education Foundation

September 17, 2018

Recently, Helios published our newest Education Brief entitled, “Financial Aid from Entry to Completion.”  In this brief, we talk about the challenges and realities of the costs of college and how financial issues can hinder a student’s ability to complete a degree.  One of the observations made in the brief is that college costs have eclipsed government financial support for students and the institutions that serve them and the proportions of college costs covered by grants has shifted in favor of loans.

This trend is of particular interest to us, at Helios, since the origins of our organization lie in a student loan company.  Helios was formed in 2006 after the sale and conversion of Southwest Student Services Corporation.  Southwest was a full-service provider of student loan products and services. At the time of the reorganization, it was the eighth largest holder of federally insured student loans in the country.

Based on our history and experience in the student loan industry, we know the importance of focusing on postsecondary completion and providing student supports to help ensure students earn a degree or credential.  It is critical that students who take out loans for postsecondary education actually finish the degree so that they have opportunities for better jobs and higher wages which can help pay off the loans.  Unfortunately, there are too many undergraduates who drop out of college with outstanding debt and must begin repayment without the economic benefits that come with a degree.  

Helios Education Foundation is focused on ensuring that students have the supports they need for degree completion.  Many of the students we work with are first- generation, minority and low-income and those students often need additional supports to help them complete their degree.  We are proud to partner with educational entities such as the Florida College System, Arizona public universities and community colleges and community organizations such as College Success Arizona and Florida College Access Network (among many others) to help ensure we are meeting the needs of students throughout both Arizona and Florida.   

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