10.03.12 | What color is the FAFSA form this year

Every year we get the same question, so here is your answer:

For the 2013–2014 year, the FAFSA will be green, with a purple section for parents.

For the current year, 2012–2013 the FAFSA is orange.

In previous years:

  • 2011–2012 FAFSA was Yellow
  • 2010–2011 FAFSA was Blue

For detailed information on completing the FAFSA, visit FAFSAonline.

09.20.12 | Financial Awareness Counseling for Students

Posted in College Life, Financial Aid, Repayment, Student Credit by Student Loan Network Staff

There has been a lot of talk lately about the financial literacy of Americans, and of the Millennial generation in particular. According to the National Financial Educators Council:

About thirty-four percent of parents have taught their teen how to balance a checkbook, and less than that has explained how credit card interest and fees work and ninety-three percent American parents with teenagers report worrying that their children might make financial missteps such as: overspending or living beyond their means.

To help combat the low rates of financial literacy, the Department of Education has recently launched a new Financial Awareness Counseling program. This online tool allows consumers to enter their student loans and other financial metrics to view reports on things like:Financial Awareness Counseling Tool

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09.19.12 | Beware of Debit Fees This Semester

Posted in College Life, Financial Aid, financial aid tips, News, Student Credit, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

Piggy bank or debit cardStudents who have received financial aid in the past know the drill – the financial aid office receives the funds, applies them to the student’s account for tuition, room and board, and other expenses, then returns the remainder to the student. In the past, students have been given the option of receiving the refund by check or direct deposit, but this year, there’s a new option across many campuses – a pre-loaded debit card.

The problem

These debit cards (often endorsed by the school) may seem like a great idea up front (easy, right?) but students are warned to be cautious if selecting this method. These cards can come with high fees that can eat into your federal aid funds! Not ideal for cash-strapped students. Fees include things like “$0.50 to swipe the debit card using a PIN number, inactivity fees of $10 a month starting as soon as six months and overdraft fees as high as $38 per transaction” according to the Huffington Post.
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08.24.12 | Student Loans: Where to Turn First

Posted in Financial Aid, PLUS Loans, Private Student Loans, Stafford Loan, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

Young Man ThinkingYou may have heard of Stafford loans, PLUS loans, and private student loans, but do you really know the differences between them? Is one type of loan really better than the other? Let’s find out.

Subsidized Stafford Loans: The Best of the Best

Subsidized Stafford loans are the best type of student loan, and should be taken out before any other type. Stafford loans carry a 3.4% fixed interest rate, and the federal government will cover your interest payments until graduation. Interest will start to accrue after graduation, but you will not be required to make your first payment until 6 months after graduation. As an undergraduate, you can take out a maximum of $23,000 in subsidized Stafford loans in your lifetime.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loans: The Next Best Thing

Unsubsidized Stafford loans are federal loans that have 6.8% fixed interest rate. Contrary to their subsidized counterpart, interest accrues for unsubsidized Stafford loans while you are enrolled in school. However, similar to subsidized Stafford loans, your first monthly payment will not be due until 6 months after graduation. In addition, unsubsidized Stafford loans are also need based, and not impacted by your credit score. As a dependent, undergraduate student, you can take out a maximum of $8,000 for undergraduate studies. Unsubsidized Stafford loan limits vary based on your education status.
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08.06.12 | 5 Private Student Loan Statistics

Posted in Financial Aid, PLUS Loans, Private Student Loans, Stafford Loan, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

Student loans have been all over the news in the past year, and borrowers are researching college financing options more than ever. In light of this, it’s important to know the facts so you can make better-informed decisions about paying for college.

  1. 90% of private loans require school certification
  2. Schools must approve a loan based on the student’s cost of attendance. This ensures that borrowers aren’t taking out more than they need, keeping them out of further debt.

  3. More than 90% of approved applicants applied with a cosigner
  4. Because many students have little to no history, most loans will require a credit-worthy cosigner to be approved. The good news is that cosigner release is now common among private loan lenders, allowing the cosigner to be released from obligation after a certain number of on-time monthly payments. (more…)

07.24.12 | This Week in Financial Aid

Posted in Financial Aid, News, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

This week has seen some interesting news in the financial aid community. From a new private loans report to a college shopping sheet unveiling, here are some of the hot topics in financial aid right now:

CFPB’s “Private Student Loans” Report Released

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection bureau released a 131 page report on the state of private student loans. This is the first time a report like this has been issued and it has produced some interesting findings. Read the full report or check out some highlights of the report below:

Stats:

  • 90% of all student loans in 2011 were cosigned and required school certification
  • In 2008, 42% of undergrads at for-profit schools received private loans, compared to 14% of all undergrads – Less than 15% of all outstanding loans are from private student loans
  • More than 40% of students don’t exhaust their federal aid before seeking private loans
  • The mean interest rate for private loans in 2011 was about 8.5% (down from about 10% in previous years)

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07.18.12 | Jane Lynch Chats About Student Loans

Posted in Financial Aid, News, Private Student Loans, Repayment, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

You may recognize Jane Lynch from the wildly popular TV show GLEE where she plays Sue Sylvester, cheerleading coach. Well what you may not know is that she wants to help families and students be smart about paying for college. In the video below, Lynch talks about how student loans have impacted her family, and encourages families to research loan options, saying “going forward, we have to go in there with our eyes open”.

Couldn’t agree more, Jane!

Hear more from Jane in this interview from Fox Business:


06.29.12 | Financial Aid Changes for 2012-2013

Posted in Financial Aid, Graduate Loans, News, Repayment, Stafford Loan, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

With all this talk of the impending Stafford Loan interest rate hike, many other regulation changes have been overlooked. Starting July 1, there are a handful of other updates to federal loan programs that borrowers should be aware of. These changes will not affect loans that were originated before July 1, only loans originated for 2012–2013.

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to see for this upcoming academic year:

Subsidized Stafford Loan Changes

No more subsidized loans for grad. students — Just like undergraduates, graduate students were previously able to receive both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Starting this year, only unsubsidized loans will be available for grad. students at a 6.8% interest rate.

Elimination of interest subsidy for grace periods — Subsidized Stafford Loans were less expensive than their unsubsidized counterparts because 1) the interest rate was lower and 2) interest was subsidized while enrolled in school and during the 6 month grace period after leaving school. Starting this year, there will be no interest subsidy during grace periods, however, the subsidy will still exist while enrolled in school at least half-time.

UPDATED: Extension of reduced interest rate — As I’m sure most students have heard, a bill was set to expire this year, doubling the rates for Subsidized Stafford Loans to 6.8%. Luckily, Congress just passed a bill to keep the rate at 3.4% for the 2012-2013 year. Learn more about Stafford interest rates, past and present.
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06.27.12 | Political Cartoon: Student Loan Scam

Posted in College Life, Financial Aid, News, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

Loan Scam
 
Thanks to Peter J. Reilly at Forbes for sharing this!

 

06.06.12 | UPDATE: Stafford Loan Interest Rates

Posted in Financial Aid, News, Stafford Loan, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

Recently, the U.S. Senate rejected President Barack Obama’s plan to maintain the 3.4% interest rates on federal student loans. If both parties are unable to agree on terms by the July 1 deadline, the rate will jump to 6.8%.

Both parties agree that the rates should remain at 3.4%, but paying for an extension of this proposal would cost $6 billion. So the question is, where will this money come from?

The Democrats are proposing the money come from shutting down a Medicare loophole that business partners can currently use to save money, while the Republicans suggest that eliminating a preventative health fund could provide the funding.

Background

In 2007, when interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans were 6.8%, the Senate approved a law that temporarily reduced the rates to 3.4% for low and middle-income students. While the rates are expected to return to 6.8% on July 1, President Obama is urging legislators to keep those rates at a more affordable level for students and their families.

Learn more about Stafford loans so you can prepare for the upcoming semester.