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!

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February 17, 2009

Stimulus bill – the final version

Posted in Graduate Students, Grants, Legislation Affecting Students, Parent PLUS Loans, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged at 2:26 PM by Joe From Boston


With President Obama set to sign the bill (likely today), here’s what’s in the final draft, according to NCHelp.org:

Concerning provisions of interest to higher education and student lending, the measure would:

  • Provide $15.6 billion in Pell Grant appropriations.
  • Increase the maximum Pell Grant by $500 for 2009-10 for a maximum of $5,350; funding is also reflected to be sufficient to increase the maximum Pell Grant for 2010-11 by $500 to a maximum of $5,550.
  • Allocate $200 million additional funding for Federal Work Study programs.
  • Not subject private activity bonds issued in 2009-10 to the Alternative Minimum Tax and clarifies refunding exemption for bonds.
  • Increase the Hope Scholarship tax credit and make it partially refundable (40 percent).
  • Provide $74 million to the Department of Education for student aid administration and audits and investigations.
  • Create a $53.6 billion state stabilization fund.

The bill does NOT include an increase in the unsubsidized Stafford loan limit.

February 2, 2009

Economic Stimulus Bill Update

Posted in Grants, Legislation Affecting Students, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , at 8:09 AM by Joe From Boston


Last week the House of Representatives passed the economic stimulus bill.  In their version, the Pell grant would increase and the Stafford loan borrowing limits would increase by $2000 per year.

The Senate is set to vote on the bill next week.  In the meantime, they’re reconciling their version of the bill which does not have the Stafford Loan increases.

Opponents say the increases will lead colleges to raise tuition even further; proponents say that higher federal loan limits would lower the amount of private loans taken out for college.

January 27, 2009

Stimulus Package in House or Representatives

Posted in Grants, Legislation Affecting Students, Saving for College, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , , , at 1:46 PM by Joe From Boston


The version of the stimulus package currently before the House of Representatives has the following higher-ed related provisions:

  • Increase the Pell Grant  by $500 from $4,850 to $5,350;
  • Increase work study funding by $490 million;
  • Increase student loan limits on unsubsidized Stafford Loan by $2,000;
  • Provide $50 million to the Department of Education to help them administer student aid and loan programs.

January 26, 2009

Stimulus bill includes education tax credits

Posted in Legislation Affecting Students, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , at 1:04 PM by Joe From Boston


I thought you’d want to know of the proposed tax cuts in the economic stimulus bill currently being floated around the Senate:

-Create an American Opportunity Tax Credit that would provide a $2,500 higher education tax credit that is available for the first four years of college; it would phase out for individual taxpayers with adjusted gross income above $80,000 ($160,000 for couples married filing jointly).

-Allow computers to be included as qualified education expenses in 529 Education Plans.