Indiana State University Newsroom

Finance major gains experience while helping others save money

July 24, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS - After just one year of college, Zack Ryan has parlayed an internship into a paid summer job that may set the foundation for his future career. Along the way, he helped fellow students and recent graduates save money by consolidating education loans in advance of a sharp rise in interest rates.

Ryan, who completed his freshman year at Indiana State University in May, is spending his summer working at Indiana Secondary Market for Education Loans Inc.

In the weeks leading up to the July 1 deadline for consolidating federally backed loans, he processed stacks of applications from borrowers looking to avoid an interest rate increase of up to 1.8 percentage points.

With the average college graduate carrying $17,500 in student loans, the savings can be substantial.

"Before this experience, the only thing I could really put on a resume would be mowing grass while I was in high school," said Ryan, a 2005 graduate of Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis.

"Things got really hectic but overall it was a good experience. A lot of times we'd have a stack of applications that was pretty thick. It's a nice feeling to get done with those and know that you're helping out borrowers and lowering their interest rates," he said.

"Zack has made a great contribution to ISM during the peak season," said Jack Swift, supervisor of loan consolidation. "It's also important for Zack to be exposed to this type of environment and the different personalities that go along with the job."

Ryan's professors in the ISU College of Business can take heart that he has already put lessons learned in the classroom to work in the real world. A first-year business education information technology class paid off for him during his internship and subsequent summer job at ISM.

"Part of the agenda [of the class] was Microsoft Excel and I use that on a daily basis here at ISM so it was a big help," he said.

Having Ryan as an intern and employee has been a plus to ISM, according to Swift.

"He's made a lot of friends. He's learned a lot as it relates to the student loan industry. I think it's relating well to his educational background and I think it was a win win for both Indiana Secondary Market and Zack Ryan," said Swift, a 23-year veteran of the finance industry.

It's a field that offers potential employment for other young people who may be weighing their career options, Swift noted.

"The student loan industry in particular is a growth industry. Everybody is always going to be seeking an education and with the cost of education these days they'll be looking for financial aid, that's for sure," he said.

Ryan plans to continue spending his summers at ISM and hopes to land a position with the company following his graduation from ISU in 2009. His experience this year was made possible by a Focus Indiana Summer Alumni Internship Scholarship funded by the Lilly Endowment and administered by the ISU Career Center.

The scholarship partners selected freshmen and sophomore students with an alumni mentor. Ryan's mentor was Steve Clinton, president of ISM Education Loans. Clinton knows first hand the value of internships, having worked as an intern prior to his graduation from ISU in 1974.

"I used my internship experience to obtain my first professional position and I highly recommend internships for students," Clinton said. "Our organization believes in using internships to identify good candidates for employment. It gives both the organization and the student an opportunity to evaluate each other before making a long term commitment."

Chartered by the state in 1980 as a private not-for-profit organization, ISM is Indiana's only secondary market for education loans. Since beginning operations in 1981, ISM has purchased more than $1.5 billion in student loans, helping thousands of Indiana students attend college.


Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or

Story Highlights

Zack Ryan, a finance major in ISU's College of Business, is spending the summer between his freshman and sophomore years working at Indiana Secondary Market Education Loans. Not only is the Franklin Central High School graduate gaining valuable real world experience, he's helping fellow students and recent graduates save money.

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