March 25, 2009

Private Colleges unsure how they will be affected by new GI Bill

Posted in Legislation Affecting Students at 7:34 AM by Joe From Boston

Public colleges have a pretty clear-cut path ahead of them, but the fine print just isn’t there for private colleges and universities.  USA Today is reporting that many schools want to participate, of course, but given the deadline looming so soon, they really want clarification on how exactly all his will work.

“For public colleges and universities, the terms of the new bill appear to be relatively clear-cut. It essentially covers tuition and fees for any eligible veteran pursuing an undergraduate degree in his or her home state.

…[For private college], the federal government will pay up to what it would have cost to enroll in the highest-priced undergraduate program at an in-state public school. Schools that charge more and agree to put up a certain amount of money toward the difference can get federal matching money to help close the gap.

Federal lawmakers, too, question whether the federal government will be able to resolve all of its concerns in time to meet the Aug. 1 deadline.

“I think it is fair to say that getting the new GI Bill up and running is proving to be a far more complex task than anyone thought,” Rep. John Boozman, R-Ark., said at a hearing last month of a House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee, where he is the ranking Republican member.”

March 23, 2009

Americorp set to expand

Posted in Legislation Affecting Students, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News tagged , , , , at 7:34 AM by Joe From Boston

Want to do a year of service after graduation?  Then you’re in luck!  Americorp and other service programs are set to expand from 75,000 positions to 225,000 positions.  The house passed the bill last Wednesday, and the Senate is expected to pass a nearly identical bill very soon.

In addition to doing a lot of good, you may also qualify for some help paying your student loans.  Visit the Americorp website to learn more.

March 13, 2009

Student Loan Forgivenes as of Feb. 2009

Posted in Consolidation, Legislation Affecting Students, Parent PLUS Loans, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , at 9:46 AM by Joe From Boston

Last month, the federal Dept. of Education released new guidelines about qualifying for Public Service student loan forgiveness program.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • The borrower must not be in default on the loans for which forgiveness is requested.
  • The borrower must be employed full time by a public service organization –
    • When making the required 120 monthly loan payments (certain repayment conditions apply – see below);
    • At the time the borrower applies for loan forgiveness; and
    • At the time the remaining balance on the borrower’s eligible loans is forgiven.

loan repayment requirements:

  • The borrower must have made 120 separate monthly payments beginning after October 1, 2007 on the Direct Loan Program loans for which forgiveness is requested. Earlier payments do not count toward meeting this requirement.  Each of the 120 monthly payments must be made for the full scheduled installment amount within 15 days of the due date
  • The 120 required payments must be made under one or more of the following Direct Loan Program repayment plans–
    • Income Based Repayment (IBR) Plan (not available to parent Direct PLUS Loan borrowers)
    • Income Contingent Repayment Plan (not available to parent Direct PLUS Loan borrowers)
    • Standard Repayment Plan with a 10-year repayment period
    • Any other Direct Loan Program repayment plan, but only payments that are at least equal to the monthly payment amount that would have been required under the Standard Repayment Plan with a 10-year repayment period may be counted toward the required 120 payments.

Eligible jobs:

The borrower must be employed full time (in any position) by a public service organization, or must be serving in a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps position. For purposes of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, the term “public service organization” means –

  • A federal, state, local, or Tribal government organization, agency, or entity (includes most public schools, colleges anduniversities);
  • A public child or family service agency;
  • A non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (includes most not-for-profit private schools, colleges, and universities);
  • A Tribal college or university; or
  • A private organization that is not a for-profit business, a labor union, a partisan political organization, or an organization engaged in religious activities (unless the qualifying activities are unrelated to religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing) and that provides the following public services –
    • Emergency management;
    • Military service;
    • Public safety;
    • Law enforcement;
    • Public interest law services;
    • Early childhood education (including licensed or regulated health care, Head Start, and state-funded pre-kindergarten);
    • Public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly;
    • Public health (including nurses, nurse practioners, nurses in a clinical setting, and full-time professionals engaged in health care practioner occupations and health care support occupations);
    • Public education;
    • Public library services; and
    • School library or other school-based services.

March 11, 2009

Simplify the Financial Aid process

Posted in FAFSA, Grants, Legislation Affecting Students, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , at 6:53 AM by Joe From Boston

President Obama yesterday clarified some point on his higher education plan in a speech before the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s annual legislative conference.

Given that this is a student loan blog, I got a chuckle out of his comment that it currently requires a PhD to figure out student loan aid – and I”m sure many of you would agree!  The process most definitely needs simplification.

Read an excerpt of the president’s comments below:

“The fifth part of America’s education strategy is providing every American with a quality higher education – whether it’s college or technical training. Never has a college degree been more important. And never has it been more expensive. At a time when so many of our families are bearing enormous economic burdens, the rising cost of tuition threatens to shatter dreams. That is why will simplify federal college assistance forms so it doesn’t take a PhD to apply for financial aid. And that is why we are already taking steps to make college or technical training affordable.

For the first time ever, Pell Grants will not be subject to the politics of the moment or the whims of the market – they will be a commitment that Congress is required to uphold each and every year. Further, because rising costs mean Pell Grants cover less than half as much tuition as they did thirty years ago, we are raising the maximum Pell Grant to $5,550 a year and indexing it above inflation. We are also providing a $2,500 a year tuition tax credit for students from working families. And we are modernizing and expanding the Perkins Loan Program to make sure schools like UNLV don’t get a tenth as many Perkins Loans as schools like Harvard. To help pay for all of this, we are putting students ahead of lenders by eliminating wasteful student loan subsidies that cost taxpayers billions each year. All in all, we are making college affordable for seven million more students with a sweeping investment in our children’s futures and America’s success. And I call on Congress to join me – and the American people – by helping make these investments possible.”

You can read the complete text of his address at the Wall Street Journal’s blog, Washington Wire.

March 10, 2009

New Sec. of Education to Schools: Start spending; keep receipts!

Posted in Legislation Affecting Students, Misc, Student Loan News tagged , , , at 7:02 AM by Joe From Boston

According to the New York Times, Arne Duncan, the new Secretary of Education is jumping in with both feet:

“Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, sent a message to the nation’s school officials last week: Heads up! We’ll be sending you billions of dollars by month’s end. Spend the money quickly but wisely. And keep receipts; we’ll be asking.

The message, which went out Friday in documents e-mailed to governors, state education commissioners and thousands of school superintendents, provided the first broad guidelines for how the Education Department intends to channel $100 billion to the nation’s 14,000 school districts over the next few months. The expenditure is part of the Obama administration’s economic stimulus package.”

Looks like our schools will have a small repreive in the near future, but they better spend it well or they will be held accountable!

March 3, 2009

Can you still consolidate student loans?

Posted in Consolidation tagged , at 3:28 PM by Joe From Boston

I’ve heard this question alot recently – during the current economic crisis, more and more lenders will not offer consolidations, and students hold up their hands in frustration and shout that no one will consolidate their loans.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate.  There is at least one place that will still consolidate loans that are not in default – Direct Loans, also known as the federal Department of Education.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause and yes you can consolidate your loans if they’re still in good stnading.

So get your butts over to their website, ASAP and request information: