Union Plus is an ally against student debt

Testimonial by NC State AFL-CIO’s Jeremy Sprinkle

For many union members, a college education was the path that got them where they are today. For North Carolina State AFL-CIO communications director and operations manager, Jeremy Sprinkle, the time he spent in college directly prepared him for where he is today.

“College introduced me to a wider, greater world,” says Sprinkle. “I met people not just from North Carolina but from all over the United States and the world. I was able to break down my social anxieties and build lasting connections. I received an education on complex issues.”

But like so many others, getting that diploma and the education that comes with it came at a very steep price.

“The student debt has affected me greatly,” says Sprinkle. “I graduated in 2003 and still have [a significant amount] in debt. Having student loan debt has kept me from buying a house. I am more concerned about job stability. It is a burden.”

Union Plus understands that Jeremy isn’t the only union member negatively affected by student debt. To help those struggling with it, Union Plus introduced the Union Plus Student Debt Reducer Grant1.

The Union Plus Student Debt Reducer Grant helps eligible union members with at least $10,000 in student loan debt. Eligible members are graduates of an accredited U.S. college or university and must be a Union Plus Credit Cardholder2, Union Plus Mortgage holder or Union Plus Life or AD&D Insurance policy holder – for at least six months. Union Plus will no longer be accepting applications for Student Debt Reducer Grants after March 31, 2016. However, as the program has always stated, funds are very limited and grants are only available until the remaining funds have been awarded. Since the program’s inception in 2014, Union Plus has distributed 186 $500 awards, totaling $93,000. Grant recipients will be notified via email if funds are exhausted prior to the March 31 deadline.

“This grant is such a relief,” Sprinkle adds. “It’s about building a movement. It’s good to know Union Plus is on my side.”

For more information on the Union Plus Student Debt Reducer Grant, visit UnionPlus.org.

Union Plus is committed to helping union members and their families fund their college education. In addition to the Student Debt Reducer Grant, Union Plus also offers the following benefits to help union families afford higher education:

  • Discounts of 15 to 60 percent on college and graduate school test preparation courses from The Princeton Review. Discounts are available for classroom, online and private tutoring for the SAT®, ACT®, GMAT®, LSAT®, GRE®, and MCAT®, as well as college affordability, and admissions online courses. Visit UnionPlus.org/CollegePrep or call 1-888-243-7737.
  • Discounts on textbooks. Union families save 5% or more when renting or buying textbooks. New, used and digital textbooks are available. Free shipping is included on orders over $59. Visit UnionPlus.org/Textbooks.
  • College counseling discounts of 15% from Collegewise, the admission division of The Princeton Review. College counselors help high school students find, apply to, and attend the right colleges. Visit UnionPlus.org/CollegeCounsel for more information.

Visit UnionPlus.org/Education to get more information on all education benefits offered by Union Plus.

Union Plus also provides a wide range of money-saving benefits and services for union members and families, including a credit card program and mortgage with unique financial assistance, savings on travel and recreation, and more. To learn more, visit UnionPlus.org.


1To be eligible for the Union Plus Student Debt Reducer program, union members must be a current or retired member of a union that offers Union Plus benefits. Union members must be a Union Plus Credit Card holder, Union Plus Mortgage holder or Union Plus Life or AD&D Insurance policy holder, for at least 6 months (account must be in good standing). Note: for AD&D Insurance, you must be a paid policy holder; no-cost AD&D policy holders are not eligible.  Union members must have at least $10,000 in outstanding federal or private student loan debt. Furthermore, applicants must have earned a degree from a U.S.-accredited college or university. Program grants are available only for as long as funds last.

2Credit approval required. Terms & Conditions apply. See www.UnionCardApply.com for details. Union Plus Credit Cards issued by Capital One, N.A., pursuant to a license from MasterCard International Incorporated.