Category Archives: Student Loans

AAUW’s Student Debt Showdown

AAUW did their own version of March Madness, and the results are pretty interesting. They took the men’s and women’s NCAA tournament brackets and had the teams compete based on median student debt held by women upon leaving the institution. The results are of course quite different than the basketball games’ outcomes, with Duke winning the men’s bracket and Princeton the women’s.

Full details and results are here. Even if you’re not a basketball fan, check it out because it’s probably among the more entertaining ways to view student debt burdens by school.

Potential Changes to Federal Loan Programs

In late 2017 and early 2018 there was a flurry of news about plans to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, which governs student loan programs among other things. Both the PROSPER Act which passed through committees in Congress in December and the White House budget proposal earlier this year called for changes to loan programs, especially the PLUS loan program. (PLUS loans are those used by parents and graduate students. Despite their relatively high interest rates– in the 7% range– they are an Continue reading Potential Changes to Federal Loan Programs

Feeling Guilty About College Savings?

If your college savings fund is generating negative emotions, you’re in good company: A recent survey by Student Loan Hero found that almost half of parents who are saving for their children’s college feel guilty about not saving enough. The survey also showed some rather worrying data: Continue reading Feeling Guilty About College Savings?

Student Loans by School

If you’ve been reading this for a while, you probably know I’m a huge fan of College Navigator as an information source. It’s run by the National Center for Education Statistics and has some information that any prospective student should be aware of. Last week I mentioned the loan default rate by school. Another affordability-related topic that prospective students should consider is the student body’s borrowing rate– also available on College Navigator. Continue reading Student Loans by School

Student Loan Default Rates

While you’re waiting for acceptances (seniors) or starting to get more serious about particular schools (everyone else), you might want to check out student loan default rates at the schools you’re interested in. Even if you’re not planning to borrow for college, the default rate can be an interesting number insofar as it is probably indicative of whether graduates of a particular school are finding gainful employment, particularly Continue reading Student Loan Default Rates

Negotiating an Aid Award

When it comes to negotiating and aid award, it’s helpful to understand both how the Professional Judgment (PJ) process works and how negotiating in general works.

With the PJ process, the school has a specific set of constraints and you must work within them. The Department of Education allows schools to make adjustments “on a case-by-case basis only to adjust the student’s cost of attendance or the data used to calculate her Continue reading Negotiating an Aid Award

Comparing Financial Aid Offers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a nifty tool for comparing school costs or financial aid offers, here. As you get acceptance and financial aid offers, enter them into the site to get apples-to-apples comparisons of what you’ll pay and what you will owe upon graduation.

Those with some time left before college can use each school’s net price calculator or College Navigator to get estimates of schools’ financial aid offers. The calculator provides estimated costs for each school, and it allows you to enter your own resources including savings and cash flow, scholarships and work study. As you enter that data, it keeps a tab of how much you have left to pay (if the resources you’ve entered don’t cover the cost of attendance). When you add loans to meet that difference, it also calculates what you’ll owe upon graduation and your monthly payment on those loans.

Higher Ed Act Reauthorization

The Higher Education Act, which oversees federal financial aid programs, is overdue for a reauthorization. The House education committee, led by Rep Virginia Foxx, R-NC, is about to release a draft proposal called the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act. According to Inside Higher Ed, the proposal includes significant changes in several key areas: Continue reading Higher Ed Act Reauthorization