06.22.12 | The Freshman’s Guide to Saving Money: Saving Money During the School Year

Posted in College Life, financial aid tips, News by Student Loan Network Staff

Welcome back readers.  For those just tuning in, I’m a student who recently completed his freshman year of college.

Student with Empty Wallet

College is a blast, but it’s also expensive.  After breaking the bank this past year, I’m here with advice on how to have a great time in college without spending your entire summer paycheck.

Purchasing tickets to shows/sports events

  1. Look for student discounts – When purchasing tickets to a concert, movie, sports game, etc., always see if you can get a student discount. Many such shows offer tickets at a discounted price to students.
  2. Buy cheap seats - You may really want first row seats to see your favorite team, but for the price they charge, it may not be worth it. When going to shows or sports events with friends, buy bleacher seats – You’re still going to see your favorite athlete and have a great time.

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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.

05.09.12 | Stafford interest rates still in limbo

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

On Tuesday, the Senate voted on the future of Stafford Loan interest rates. The rates for subsidized loans are currently at 3.4%, but without action from the government, will jump to 6.8% come July 1, 2012. A majority of 60 votes were needed to pass the bill which would lower these rates, unfortunately, the votes were split 52/45.

The issue between parties is not lower interest rates — most are in agreement that they should be lowered — it’s the how that’s keeping the bill from passing. The bill, written by the Democrats, attempts to close a tax loophole for high-salary workers in order to fund one more year of low-interest loans. However, the Republicans rather see this money come from elsewhere.

With both parties locked in a stalemate, it’s unclear how this issue will be resolved, but to learn more about the bill, check out this recent article from The New York Times.

04.26.12 | President Obama slow jams the student loan news

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

I’m pretty sure the title of this post just about says everything I need to say about the following video. Obama + Student loans + music + Jimmy Fallon = Magic. Pure magic. Oh, and what’s even better? It’s actually informative if you want to know more about what’s happening in the world of Stafford Loans right now.

Well done Sirs, well done.

04.23.12 | Obama urges Congress to lower student loan interest rates

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

You may have noticed in the news recently, student loan interest rates have been getting a lot of attention. On July 1, 2012, the interest rates of Subsidized Stafford loans are set to climb back up to 6.8%. Here’s why:

In 2007, congress passed a bill, lowering these interest rates for the next few years. Unfortunately, this bill will expire after June 31, and rates will go from 3.4% to 6.8% once again. Congress is now looking for ways to keep this interest rate hike from happening, though nothing solid has happened as of yet.

Last week, Obama spoke out about this issue and what he wants to see happen. Check out the video below to learn more.

03.15.12 | CFPB now taking your student loan complaints

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

OmbudsmanIf you have had any issues with your federal student loans, you may be familiar with the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman office. This office is responsible for mediating issues with your federal student loans or financial aid office. Students weren’t lucky enough to have this luxury for private student loans, that is, until now.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created a private student loan Ombudsman office to handle consumer complaints with loan lenders, servicers, and collectors.

What does it really mean for you, the borrower? Well, for starters, a single federal agency is now responsible for overseeing private student loans, which will hopefully provide easy answers to families seeking assistance. This new office will allow families to file complaints, at which point the office will contact the loan lender to help resolve any issues. These could be issues such as you were billed while loans were in deferment, or your payments were not applies as specified. The CFPB will now be able to help resolve loan repayment issues between you and your private loan lender.

While this office does handle complaints, they are also available to answer questions you may have about borrowing a private student loan. For more information or to submit a complaint or question, visit http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/ or call 1-855-411-CFPB.

02.14.12 | How to Avoid College Grad Unemployment

Posted in financial aid tips, News by Student Loan Network Staff

According to the Gallup poll, the U.S. unemployment rate sits at 8.6% with underemployment (those working part-time but who want to work full-time) at 18.1%. Are you a recent or soon-to-be college graduate? Do you worry about unemployment and whether your skills will land you the job you’ve hoped for (or the job you trained for)? Are you or your friends blaming the economy for the fact that the job market looks scarce for recent grads?

Recent bachelor’s undergraduates have an unemployment rate of 8.9% while those with only a high school diploma have a unemployment rate of 22.9%, and high school dropouts are at 31.5%, so a degree is some comfort in this market. What are you going to do about it?

Well you could chalk it up to the economy, the fact that big businesses made bad decisions before you even graduated, and now you can’t get a job. OR you could show potential employers that you are action-oriented, and that you not only want to work, but you want to find your passion through said work. Sounds nice right? But how do you do that?

There are several different paths one could take to evaluate their potential job prospects while still in, or just out of school.
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02.13.12 | Obama speaks on investing in community colleges

Posted in News by Student Loan Network Staff

This morning, President Obama spoke at Northern Virginia Community College, addressing students in the school’s Automotive Technology program. The 12 minute speech highlighted initiatives that would provide students with better opportunities to gain the necessary skills for employment. The hope is that community colleges would produced skilled workers to fill the many manufacturing and technology industry job vacancies, in order to get Americans back to work and stimulate the economy. Sound interesting? Watch the full speech below.

01.31.12 | Public Service Loan Forgiveness? Yes please!

Posted in News, PLUS Loans, Repayment, Stafford Loan, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a federal program that rewards public service employees for working in their chosen professions. As you might suspect, the reward is forgiveness of your student loan balance, an offer that many seek but few are able to take advantage of.

The Department of Education has recently made improvements to the PSLF process. While the requirements remain the same, they are more clear, and there’s a variety of new documentation to help get you through the application process.

If you’re not familiar with Public Service Loan Forgiveness here’s a brief overview:

Who is it for?

Employees who have worked for a qualifying public service organization for a minimum of 10 years. This does not mean your specific role at the organization needs to qualify, you simply must work for a qualifying organization.

Qualifying organizations include:

  • Federal, state, or local government organizations/agencies
  • Non-Profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501©(3) of the IRS guidelines

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01.18.12 | Paying for college: What you should know

Posted in FAFSA, Financial Aid, financial aid tips, News by Student Loan Network Staff

Misty makes some excellent points in this video, especially for families who are applying for financial aid for the first time. She mentions that the FAFSA is free, and we can’t stress this enough! For families who have questions about the FAFSA, feel free to pose a question to the financial aid experts at FinancialAidForum.com, or check out some of the other common questions from families.
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