Bank of North Dakota president pushing 'College SAVE' plan

Dec 4, 2017

Bank of North Dakota president Eric Hardmeyer speaks to the Board of Higher Education in its November meeting at Bismarck State College.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The president of the Bank of North Dakota is hoping more people will take advantage of a program designed to help families save for college.

It’s called “College SAVE.”  Bank president Eric Hardmeyer said anyone can contribute to a College SAVE account, and that contributed money is non-taxable.

Hardmeyer told the Board of Higher Education it could help reduce student loan debt.

"I think we all recognize that our students are graduating with an average of $30,000 to $40,000 in debt," Hardmeyer told the Board. "We (at the Bank) see that first hand every day, as students refinance and take out loans. So we understand the issues around student loan debt."

Hardmeyer said the College SAVE program is one program that can really make an impact in reducing the amount of debt.

Hardmeyer said right now, there's $131 million in the program. But he said there's room to grow.

"There are about 8000 newborns every year," Hardmeyer said. "We're only getting about 10 percent of them to start saving. If we could do a little bit better job there,  that number could grow significantly."

Hardmeyer said the Bank continues a media campaign to increase interest in the program.