Tax Offset Student Loans
Last week financial aid officers at Texas A&M University - a school with over 54000 students - heard from seven different lenders warning that they would no longer be able to offer federal student loans a situation that has made more than a few borrowers uneasy. Dyneche Duffield an incoming college student headed to Houston Baptist University is uncomfortable with the prospect of having to establish a relationship with a new lender other than her local bank which used to offer student loans. "I would have much rather taken out a loan there than somewhere where I didnt know anyone" Duffield said. While students like Duffield may still be able to go directly to the Department of Education for their federal college loans or find those remaining lenders who are still offering private student loans (albeit with more stringent credit criteria that are making it harder for students to qualify) the magnitude of the problem within the student loan credit markets and how deeply it has permeated the college loan industry is alarming to many administrators and officials in higher education.
In 1981 a minimum wage earner could work full time in the summer and make almost enough to cover their annual college costs leaving a small amount that they could cobble together from grants loans or work during the school year. 4. In 2005 a student earning minimum wage would have to work the entire year and devote all of that money to the cost of their education to afford 1 year of a public college or university. 5. Now think about this there are approximately 40 million people with student loan debt somewhere over the 1.2 trillion dollar mark. According to studentaid.gov seven million of those borrowers are in default that is roughly 18%. Default is defined as being 270 days delinquent on your student loan payments. Once in default the loan balances increase by 25% and are sent to collections.
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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.
Under current credit criteria most students who typically have little or no established credit history will require a co-signer in order to qualify for a private student loan. Typically a co-signer is a relative who agrees to pay the balance of any co-signed loans if the student fails to repay the loan although a family relationship is not a requirement. A student may have an unrelated co-signer. Federal Student Loans vs. Private Student Loans Government-backed federal student loans come with certain payment-deferment and loan-forgiveness benefits. Borrowers who are having difficulty making their monthly loan payments may be eligible for up to three years of payment deferment due to economic hardship along with an additional three years of forbearance during which interest continues to accrue but no payments would be due.