July 27, 2009

Can I transfer my Parent PLUS Loan into my child’s name?

Posted in Parent PLUS Loans, The Financial Aid Process at 6:44 AM by Joe From Boston

No, you cannot transfer your Parent PLUS Loan into your child’s name.  This loan is taken out by the parent, only.

The child is not a co-signer nor is he/she officially responsible in any way.

That’s not to say that you couldn’t set up a payment plan with your child and have them reimburse you for all or part of the loan over time.

July 17, 2009

So what is a PLUS Loan, anyway?

Posted in Parent PLUS Loans, The Financial Aid Process at 7:07 AM by Joe From Boston

Let’s review the basics as many of you will soon be signing PLUS Loan paperwork.

A Parent PLUS Loan is a federal student loan with a fixed interest rate of 8.5%.  Parent PLUS Loans can be taken out by any parent or legal guardian to help pay for an undergraduate student’s college tuition, room and board.

You can borrow up to the total cost of education (tuition, on-campus housing and board, fees) minus any other financial aid received.  What does this mean in real terms?  If you get $2000 in scholarships and a $3000 Stafford Loan and the total cost of education is $40,000, then you can borrow up to $35,000.

PLUS Loans do require a credit check, but the credit requirements are FAR less stringent than just about any other loan you can think of.

And what happens if you get denied?  Present the denial letter to your child’s school and they will qualify for more Stafford Loan money.

July 8, 2009

New GI bill – benefits vary by state???

Posted in Graduate Students, Grants, Legislation Affecting Students, Saving for College, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , at 12:52 PM by Joe From Boston

Yup, you read that right.

The feds decided to provide veterans with a stipend equaling the cost of the most expensive public state school.  Which is great if you live in New Hampshire – that’s $25K.

In California, it’s a whopping $0.  Turns out, it’s illegal to charge tuition at public schools in California (though the thousands of dollars in fees seems to be legal… but that’s another story).

I grant you, it’s still a lot better than the old bill – it provides full in-state undergraduate tuition and fees as opposed to the old monthly stipend.

But what sounds like a great deal – providing the equivalent about to a private school- turns out to be a crappy lottery depending on where you live.  I’m in Massachusetts.  Veterans here will get about $2200 a year which is useless in a state that has some of the highest tuition and cost-of-living expenses.

Veterans are being penalized by states that have worked hard to keep tuition low.

And what about veterans pursuing graduate degrees?

Looks like Congress created a monster… again…

July 1, 2009

July 1, 2009 – Big Changes Take Effect Today

Posted in Graduate Students, Legislation Affecting Students, Parent PLUS Loans, Saving for College, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process at 1:13 PM by Joe From Boston

Welcome to the next fiscal year, and along with it come some great changes for borrowers.

  • The maximum Pell Grant amount  increases to $5,350 for the 2009-10 school year, a 13% increase from last year.
  • The fees to originate a new loan fall by half of a percentage point. Next year, it will fall by that much again. The changes will free more money for those students to use for tuition.
  • “IBR” plans come into effect – income based repayment.  Borrowers may be eligible to reduce their monthly payments based on their income.   Also, teachers or those working in other forms of public service can reduce their payments based on their public service salary.