February 9, 2007

Sen. Clinton re-introduces Student Bill of Rights

Posted in Student Loan News at 1:44 PM by Joe From Boston

Here’s an interesting article – Sen. Hillary Clinton is re-introducing a bill she introduced in the last session of Congress. Please note that during the 109th Congress, two provisions from the Student Borrower Bill of Rights were enacted into law enabling borrowers to choose lenders with acceptable income-sensitive repayment terms when consolidating student loans.

February 7, 2007 — Washington, DC – Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today reintroduced the Student Borrower Bill of Rights, a bill that gives rights to student borrowers trying to repay their loans. The bill provides student borrowers with basic rights to ensure that loan payments are affordable, to allow students to shop for loans in a free marketplace and to give students timely information about their loans.

“There are too many students in New York State and across the country that are overly burdened with loan payments or treated unfairly as they repay student loans. This bill makes it easier for students to repay their loans by putting in place a basic set of rights, including the right to borrow without exploitation and the right to real loan choices,” said Senator Clinton.

Students are borrowing now more than ever to pay for higher education. Today two-thirds of college graduates face loan repayments. At the same time, college costs continue to grow and need-based grant aid remains idle. Over the past decade, the average debt burden for college graduates has increased 58 percent, after accounting for inflation. And today, the average borrower graduating from a public four- year institution owes $15,500, while one in ten students owe $33,000 or more. The Student Borrower Bill of Rights will make it easier for students to repay loans by giving borrowers rights that are enforceable. Often, too many students see their costs go up after they think they’ve already budgeted for what they can pay. The bill provides borrowers the right to fair, monthly payments that do not exceed a certain percentage of their incomes as well as fair interest rates and fees.

When student loans are burdensome, borrowers may avoid important but low-paying professions, such as public health workers, social workers, and teachers. The burden of student loans also prevents college graduates from pursuing a higher degree. According to studies by the Nellie Mae Corporation, 40 percent of college graduates who do not go to graduate school, blame student loan debt. The prospect that student loans will be a great burden may also prevent successful high school students from going to college. Twenty percent of low-income high school graduates qualified for college, do not go to college. Senator Clinton has worked tirelessly to provide accessible and affordable education to all students. During the 109th Congress, two provisions from the Student Borrower Bill of Rights were enacted into law. These provisions enable borrowers to choose lenders with acceptable income-sensitive repayment terms when consolidating student loans.

Source: Senator Hillary Clinton

KY Students protest high tuition prices

Posted in Student Loan News at 10:49 AM by Joe From Boston

About 200 Kentucky college students protested in teh Kentucky capital’s rotunda yesterday. Read this great article here. 

By Nancy C. Rodriguez
nrodriguez@courier-journal.com – The Courier-Journal

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Chanting “Not on our backs” and “Give us some money,” about 200 students from the state’s public universities packed the Capitol Rotunda yesterday to urge state leaders to keep higher education affordable.

“We want more attention paid to higher education. We want a commitment from our state legislators and the governor’s office that higher education is going to remain a top priority in the budget,” said Jonah Brown, the University of Kentucky’s student body president.

A strong contingent of University of Louisville students also attended the rally. Many carried signs and pamphlets critical of the amount of funding that U of L received in the current budget.

“Students are going to have to make up for it in tuition dollars,” said Ashley Howarth, a biochemistry major from Louisville.

The students found an ally in Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who acknowledged that affordability is an issue.

“I don’t like the fact that tuition has increased 145 percent over the last 10 years,” said Fletcher, who during his State of the Commonwealth address on Tuesday called for the legislature to add $25 million in fiscal year 2007-08 for need-based financial aid.

The money would come from the state’s projected $401 million surplus.

“Without the ability to go to college, you can’t be all that you can be,” Fletcher said at the rally.

Many students said there is also a need to give universities bonding authority, which they say would give them more flexibility to fund projects such as residence halls and health centers.

“These are all projects that each university had a strong need for, but we have been basically held back by the state,” Brown said. “Every year we have to come and lobby.”