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Under this legislation the Department of Education can buy federal college loans from lenders thereby providing these lenders with the liquidity they need to continue funding new parent and student loans. The law specifically targets lenders who in the current credit crunch are unable to find investors in the secondary market willing to purchase their student loan portfolios. Even with this legislation in place however lenders continue to find themselves forced to suspend their student loan programs. As recently as July 28 the Brazos Higher Education Service Corp. the 26th-largest originator of federal student loans in 2007 and the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority the largest student loan issuer to Massachusetts residents both announced that they would no longer be able to provide either new or current borrowers with student loans.
But Brazos once again suspended its education lending program late last month citing continued turmoil in the student loan industry. Brazos Executive Vice President Ellis Tredway said his organization simply "ran out of time to get everything in place" to issue new student loans for the fall. The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority which issued more than $500 million in college loans to 40000 Massachusetts college students and their families last year had already suspended its federal student loan program in April. Now MEFA has also pulled the plug on its non-federal private loan program which provided Massachusetts students with fixed-rate private student loans. "While we continue to pursue every possible option raising the necessary funds to offer fixed-interest rate private education loans is taking longer than originally projected and has become even more challenging" said Tom Graf MEFAs executive director. Students Face the Uncertainty of Switching Lenders With over 8 million students and parents having turned to federal college loans in 2006-07 according to the College Board the number or families that stand to be affected by the ongoing wave of lender departures this year is not unsubstantial.
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As a borrowers income rises the income-based repayment cap will also go up. If the income-based repayment cap reaches a level higher than what a borrowers monthly payment would be under a standard 10-year student loan repayment plan the borrower will no longer qualify for income-based repayment for her or his student loans. Borrowers whose adjusted gross income falls below 150 percent of the poverty threshold wont be required to make any payments on those student loans that qualify for income-based repayment. Even if no payments are due however interest will continue to accrue on those college loans . Unpaid interest will also accrue if a borrowers income-based monthly payments arent sufficient to cover the full monthly interest on the qualifying college loans.