Most Viewed

Dec 5, 2007

New laws for refinancing - can you reconsolidate loans?

Can you reconsolidate student loans? That's the question...In other words, is reconsolidation of loans allowed?

According to Student Debt Relief Act of 2007, yes - it does allow reconsolidation of loans.
More to this:
- it also increases annual maximum Pell Grant program to $5,100 this year (2007) to $6,300 in 2011;
- it establishes the Fair Payment Assurance Program which caps loan repayment at 15 percent of a borrower's income for low income borrowers;
- it reduces FDLP origination fee to zero;
- it extends tuition tax credit.

A brief summary of Student Debt Relief Act of 2007:
Jan 22, 2007, Edward Kennedy (D-MA - Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman ) introduced S. 359, the Student Debt Relief Act of 2007.
Core moments:
1) The bill proposes to provide incentives for schools to switch to the Federal Direct Loan Program;
2) halve student loan interest rates;
3) increase the federal Pell Grant limit;
4) cap federal student loan repayment at 15 percent of a borrower’s discretionary income.

Speaking of other legal stuff on regard of student loans - there is a Sunshine Act, too.
Edward Kennedy and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced S. 486 on Feb. 1, 2007 - the Student Loan Sunshine Act.
The bill would require schools and lenders to report certain activities if the school and the lender have an “educational loan arrangement,” defined as an arrangement or agreement under which the lender provides education loans to students (or parents of students) at the school.
The bill is noteworthy in that its scope encompasses private education loan activities as well as FFELP loans.

Sep 2, 2007

Two easy ways for students to reconsolidate their loans

1) Question: I read that you can reconsolidate student loans. Is that true? In fact, I was under impression that student could not do this.
Sam Prentow, via e-mail

A: Keep in mind that you can reconsolidate under two circumstances. 1st is if you go back to school and take out a new loan. Once you've borrowed anew, you can then consolidate the fresh loan with the original consolidated loan.

2nd, is if you have a loan that has been left out of a consolidation package. Here again, you can blend that left-out loan with the consolidated loans to make a new loan.

The interest rate is determined by the weighted average of the underlying loans (in this case one consolidation loan and the other single loan), then adjusted upward to the nearest one-eighth of a percent. But, hey, it never hurts to ask. Quiz your original lender first.

2) Question: Say, I want to refinance my home loan to pay off our debts, but have not found a lender that will refinance at 100 percent. I filed for bankruptcy four years ago and have tried to keep my credit good. I'm now disputing items on my credit report. I have one late payment on a credit card, which was not my fault. My credit score is 568. A few months ago, it was 622. Can anyone help us?

A: You may continue to find it difficult to secure 100 percent refinancing of your home.
We suggest that you focus on repairing your credit score.

The 1st step would be to call your creditors to negotiate lower interest rates. If you've been a loyal customer, creditors will sometimes trim rates by 1 to 3 percent.

If that doesn't work, seek aid from a credit-counseling agency. Look for one that offers genuine educational assistance and budget planning to help you return to financial stability.

In the meantime, Viale suggests that you look a little more closely at your credit report. The fact that your credit score fell 54 points in a span of a few months is a matter of concern. There may be additional mistakes that would warrant a second look.

Aug 21, 2007

Credit reconsolidation 2007

Question: Can I reconsolidate my student loan that went into collections, along with a credit card that is about to be maxed at the same time? And will it improve my credit? Help me with reconsolidation of student loans!

First of all, you are not alone. With $13 Trillion out there of debt, we're just about all depressed with bills. The challenge is to take charge of the situation and come up with a solid game-plan.

The first goal will be to budget. Start out with the attached Personal Finance and Budget Guide (which I have attached for you for free). It has some excellent tips on how to manage your money and how to get out of the cycle of debt and into a virtuous cycle of wealth.

If you want to handle your debts on your own, and have the available cash flow to meet your payments, you may consider student loan consolidation. Unfortunately, with delinquencies and student loans in collections, you will most likely not be a viable candidate for traditional student loan consolidation, which is a federally backed program to lower rates and payments.

It is imperative, however, to understand your personal needs and then tailor a solution to what best fits your financial game-plan. There are many forms of traditional debt relief, including: i) debt consolidation loans, ii) credit counseling, iii) debt negotiation, and iv) bankruptcy.

Be aware that forms of debt consolidation are not the same. You need to consider your specific situation, including if you own or rent your home, your monthly debt to income ratio, and your credit rating. A program like a debt consolidation loan may lower your monthly payment, get you a lower rate than most credit cards, and the interest is tax deductible.

Alternatively, a program like negotiated debt settlement may lower your monthly payment, get you debt free fast, save half of what you owe, but it could negatively impact your credit rating.

Since your credit rating has already been negatively impacted, you may want to explore the lowest cost, shortest program, to get debt free without bankruptcy... which is debt settlement.


OK, just for a change, I'm off to Singles dating service

Aug 18, 2007

Student loan reconsolidation 2007

Next issue: Be-bratz games | Be-bratz dolls

New Law Changes Student-Loan Terms

A new federal law makes several changes in federal student-loan programs. If you already have student loans or plan to take out federal student loans for the 2006-2007 academic year, you should review the following items that may affect the terms of your loans. Many of the changes took effect July 1, 2006.

Consolidation Loans
Loan consolidation permits federal student-loan borrowers to bundle multiple student loans into a single loan, and depending on the borrower’s total education debt, extend the period for paying back the loan.

* In-school consolidation. You no longer will be able to consolidate your student loans while you still are attending school at least half time. The new law eliminates a provision that had permitted you to request that your loans enter repayment early. You now will have to wait until you are in the grace period after you leave school (or drop below half-time enrollment) or in repayment on your loans before you may consolidate them.
* Spousal consolidation. Spouses no longer will be able to include their loans in a single consolidation loan.
* Reconsolidation. With a few exceptions, if you already have consolidated your loans, you may not obtain a subsequent consolidation loan. The exceptions are that you subsequently take out a loan eligible to include in a consolidation loan, that you decide to include additional eligible loans within 180 days after receiving your consolidation loan, or that you decide to add eligible loans that you did not include in the original consolidation loan. The new law adds another exception that permits borrowers with Federal Consolidation loans to obtain a Direct Consolidation loan for the purpose of obtaining income-contingent repayment, but only if the lender has requested assistance from the loans' guarantor to help the borrower avoid default.

Deferment – Military Service
Deferments permit borrowers who meet certain criteria — for example, unemployment, economic hardship or attending school — to temporarily postpone their student-loan payments. The new law adds a new category of borrowers who qualify for deferment. Effective July 1, 2006, if you’re serving in the military on active duty during a war or other military operation, or national emergency, or performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency, you may qualify to defer payments on loans that were disbursed on or after July 1, 2001.

Waivers from delayed and multiple disbursements. Typically, your loan dollars are paid out to your school in more than one installment. In addition, if you are a first-time borrower and a first-year student, federal regulations require that your first loan disbursement be delayed for 30 days after your classes begin. If your school has a low student-loan-default rate, however, the new law provides waivers from these disbursement requirements. This change was effective as of Feb. 8, 2006.

To study-abroad or foreign-school students. If you are studying abroad through a program of a U.S. postsecondary institution or studying at a foreign school, the lender or guarantor of your loan first must verify your enrollment (and the foreign school that you’re attending must specifically request disbursement directly to you) before your loan can be disbursed directly to you. In addition, foreign schools must comply with the multiple- and delayed-disbursements noted in the preceding paragraph, although they also are eligible for the waivers noted above.

Prior to July 1, 2006, Stafford- and PLUS-loan borrowers could be assessed upfront loan fees of up to 4 percent of the loan amount. The new law makes the following changes in those fees.

* Federal default fee. The law requires the collection of a 1-percent fee to defray the costs of loan defaults. Lenders and guarantors, however, may pay this fee on your behalf.
* Origination fees . Origination fees for Federal Stafford loans are being phased out. The maximum origination fee is reduced to 2 percent from 3 percent for Federal Stafford loans whose first disbursement is on or after July 1, 2006. The origination fee will be reduced in annual increments of 0.5-percentage points until it is eliminated by July 1, 2010. PLUS-loan origination fees are unchanged.

Interest Rates
Stafford loans. The new law made no change in a federal law that was enacted in 2002 and calls for a change from variable interest rates to a fixed rate of 6.8 percent for Stafford loans whose first disbursement is on or after July 1, 2006. Loans disbursed prior to that date will continue to carry variable interest rates that adjust annually on July 1, based on the rate of the 91-day Treasury bill.

PLUS loans. The new law increased the fixed interest rate on Federal PLUS loans whose first disbursement is on or after July 1, 2006, to 8.5 percent from 7.9 percent. PLUS loans disbursed prior to that date will continue to carry variable interest rates that adjust annually on July 1.

Loan Limits
Beginning next year, July 1, 2007, certain undergraduate and graduate students will be able to borrower more under the Federal Stafford-loan program.

* Undergraduate students. The maximum annual loan limit for a first-year undergraduate student will increase to $3,500 from $2,625; the annual loan limit for second-year undergraduates will increase to $4,500 from $3,500.
* Graduate and professional students. The unsubsidized loan limit will increase to $12,000 from $10,000.

PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Students
Previously available only to parents of dependent undergraduate students, PLUS loans also are available, beginning July 1, 2006, to graduate and professional students to help defray their costs of attendance. PLUS loans are federally sponsored loans that may permit you to borrow on more favorable terms than private, nonfederally sponsored loan programs offer.

The chief benefit of a PLUS loan is that you can borrow up to your total cost of attendance, less any other financial aid you receive. So, unlike Federal Stafford loans, there is no set loan limit. You must pass a credit check to take out a PLUS loan. PLUS loans are unsubsidized, so you are responsible for all of the interest that accumulates on the loan. Unlike Stafford loans, PLUS loans offer no grace period: PLUS loans enter repayment within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. PLUS-loan interest rates also are higher than rates for Stafford loans, but PLUS loans offer the same flexible repayment options and the ability to defer loan payments or request forbearance, if you qualify.

Rehabilitation of Defaulted Loans
If you’re in default on a federal student loan, you may qualify to rehabilitate your loan. Rehabilitation can be beneficial by removing the reporting of your default to national credit bureaus and restoring your account to repayment status. The new law makes it easier for you to qualify for a rehabilitation loan by permitting you to make nine voluntary, on-time payments within a 10-month period, rather than the previous requirement of 12 consecutive, voluntary, on-time monthly payments.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness
The new law extended provisions for expanded loan forgiveness available to certain teachers. Read more information about teacher loan forgiveness.

Wage Garnishment
If you are in default on federal student loans, your loans’ guarantor may order your employer to withhold a percentage of your pay to apply to your unpaid loan balance. The new law increased the percentage that may be withheld to 15 percent from the previous level of 10 percent.

May 24, 2007

questions about relationship with loan-consolidation company

OU alum group answers AG's questions about relationship with loan-consolidation company
Advertising: Travel videos | Halo 3 videos | WoW videos | LOTRO videos

Ohio University's alumni organization is cooperating fully with a probe by Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann into the relationships of college alumni groups with companies that offer loan consolidation.

"We're glad to cooperate and give him the information," said Ralph Amos, executive director of the OU Alumni Association.

On May 8, Dann sent letters to alumni associations at Ohio's public and private colleges, including OU. The letters demanded information detailing any arrangements the groups have with lenders.

Amos readily acknowledged that the OU Alumni Association has a three-year contract with the National Education Loan Network (Nelnet), based in Lincoln, Neb. Under the contract, he said, the lender pays around $39,000 a year to have the Alumni Association promote its debt-consolidation services to Bobcat alums, many of whom have student debt to pay off.

"Our contracts with Nelnet are as straightforward as they can be," Amos said, with payments from the lender used to help fund the group's member services, and no individual group officers getting payoffs of any kind.

"There's no personal gain for any individual" from the contract, Amos said.

Dann's office seems to be suggesting, however, that any payoff by lenders to alumni associations to promote the lender's product should be scrutinized for possible impropriety.

"Marketing arrangements between lenders and alumni associations threaten to undermine the integrity of the alumni groups and the trust of incoming students and graduates," Dann said May 9, when he announced the latest expansion of his probe. "If alumni associations are leveraging the brand and reputation of their respective universities in exchange for compensation or financial gain, then that is a cause for very serious concern."

A pitch for Nelnet is included on the OU alumni group's Web site, which can be linked to directly from OU's front page. When a viewer clicks a link under "alumni services" titled "loan consolidation," he or she is taken to a brief, low-key promotion for Nelnet, which states that "As an industry leader, Nelnet has the experience and resources to help you better manage your student-loan debt." It also urges alums to research their loan consolidation options before making any commitments, and provides a link to an informational page offered by Nelnet, titled "Factors to Consider About your Student Loan Consolidation."

After Dann began showing interest in the issue, according to the Columbus Dispatch, Ohio State University's alumni association recently posted an explanation on its Web site of the relationship it has with another loan-consolidation company, Student Trust. The statement acknowledges, among other points, that the OSU alumni group gets at least $35,000 a year from the lender for steering business its way.

The OU Alumni Association has not to date posted anything similar on its Web site regarding its contract with Nelnet.

A spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General's office said the agency would not comment on the ongoing investigation of alumni associations' connections with lenders.

The letter Dann sent to the universities demands a long list of documents, including an organizational chart of the university financial aid office; a list of lenders included in the school's financial aid awards; copies of loan applications; marketing materials given to prospective students; criteria for a lender getting on or off the school's "preferred lender" list; records of any gift or compensation offers made by lenders to the school or individual employees; and records relating to any service by the school's financial aid employees as board members or consultants to affiliated lenders.

Nelnet, the company that contracts with the OU Alumni Association, has been at the center of a probe by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo into alumni association ties to lenders. Earlier this month Cuomo sent 90 subpoenas to alumni groups of various colleges who have relationships with Nelnet, though according to Amos, OU was not one of them.

As with the Ohio investigation, Cuomo wants to know whether the alumni associations got paid for pushing the lender's services, and if so, whether they let their alumni members know this.

In a statement issued May 3, Nelnet promised to cooperate with Cuomo's investigation, but insisted all its relationships with alumni groups are squeaky clean, and similar to those that alumni organizations have with other kinds of businesses that provide services to their members.

"We have been and remain proud of our affinity relationships with alumni associations," the statement declared. "These relationships provide valuable information and opportunities to alumni regarding student-loan consolidation, as well as generating income that helps alumni associations carry out their mission... We believe our agreements are appropriate and completely in accordance with the law."

Amos said his group chose Nelnet as a loan-consolidation company to promote to its members because it seemed to be a solid company, big enough to provide services to a group the size of the OU Alumni Association.

"Our main requirement is that they be strong enough to serve our alumni population. And Nelnet is large enough to handle the volume of our alumni population," he explained. "The customer service piece is essential."

He added that while the loan-consolidation package Nelnet offers OU alums is "competitive," the alums don't get any kind of special deal for signing up through the alumni group.

In its fourth year contracting with Nelnet, Amos said, about 1,500 alums have signed up for the company's loan-consolidation services, and most seem happy with the service provided.

"Alumni feedback we get from the program has been solid," he said.

Apr 18, 2007

How To Choose a Federal Student Loan Consolidation Lender

In the past few years, many students and graduates took advantage of record-low interest rates and consolidated their federal student loans to lock in the historic low rates. If you missed out — don’t fret, here is a simple guide on how better narrow down your decision for a future consolidation.

Besides locking in lower rates, there are some other reasons why you may want to consolidate your loans. Check out FinAid’s list of pros & cons to consolidating student loans.

So when rate changes comes around and locking in lower interest rate becomes a no-brainer, who should you choose to consolidate your loans?

The easy answer: your current lender. You’ve chosen your current lender for a reason, there’s no reason to complicate things further by going with a different lender. However, the problem with the easy answer is, you may have chosen the wrong lender in the first place, or, get this—there may be better lenders out there.

FACT: The only differences between federal student loan consolidation lenders are: Lender Repayment Incentives and Lender Service. Don’t underestimate their importance!

If you currently have a federal student loan for yourself or your child, you’ve no doubt received many solicitation from different lenders to get you to consolidate your loans to them. Many of these will tout some type incentive programs. Common repayment incentives are along the lines of reduction off in interest rate, after a certain amount of timely repayment.

Example: After 36 months of consecutive [timely] payment on your 10 year loan, you receive a 1% discount from your loan.

This typical type of lender incentive sounds great enough, but the problem is, many borrowers fail to qualify for the incentive program. Many of these incentive offers require timely monthly payment, so if you miss a payment deadline before reaching the required payment term, you won’t receive the rate deduction bonus. The same applies if you miss a payment deadline after earning your bonus.

In comes a different type of incentive program: immediate interest rate deduction if you sign up for auto debit, with additional deduction after consecutive payment.

Example: You receive a 0.5% interest rate deduction if you sign up to have your monthly loan payments automatically withdrawn from your checking account. Plus, after 24 months of consecutive on-time payment, you receive an additional 1.25% deduction in your interest rate.

A much nicer incentive, right? The above example is from ELC, which unfortunately has a minimum of $20,000 for their 1.25% deduction. If you only have a $10,000 loan, you’re out of luck on the additional interest deduction. Thus, it’s important to compare the offers and figure out which programs you can actually qualify.

As mentioned above, the second difference amidst the sea of lenders are lender services. Even if the incentive program is the best in the world, if the lender has a spotty track record for customer service, you may be doing yourself a disservice by signing up. What happens if you wish to defer your payment? If you call to ask about that, or a general inquiry on your loan, will they respond in a timely matter? For those of us with a low loan amount, lender service may not be a big deal—but for those of us that are in it for the long haul, you’ll want approachable service.

Remember, you can only consolidate once. So if you choose the wrong lender to go with, you’ll be stuck with them until you pay off your student loan for that expensive private university.

Important questions to ask when you’re choosing your lender:

  • What is the repayment incentive?
  • Is there a waiting period for the incentive? Do I have to earn it?
  • What happens if I miss a payment?
  • What happens if I request a deferment?
  • How many of the borrowers actually receive the incentive?
  • Is the lender knowledgeable and experienced?
  • What is the credibility? Does your school support or recommend the lender?
  • How is the accessibility?
  • Are there online account access? A 24/7 customer service number? If you call them, will they give you information tailor to you, or will they give you some generic scripted response?
  • How is their long-term commitment? Does the lender have a history of selling consolidated loan?
  • The worse part in owing money, is when your lender disappears and some other company buys out your loan; suddenly you owe money to someone else.

If you can’t figure out some of these answers with the information provided to you, ask the lenders. This is a great way to gauge their service. If a customer service rep is having a hard time, or trying very little to help you understand their program, it may be a good cue to stay away. If they’re being such a hassle when you’re trying to give them money, imagine when you already owe them the money!

More Resources to Check Out:

Apr 12, 2007

More re selling loans - losing borrower benefits inevitable?

If you consider student loan consolidation, you better be aware of these tricks.

I bet you've been getting tons of email junk about student loan consolidation.
Tell me, did they promise "reduced interest rates"? Yes? OK, but look for the fine print - I guess you’ll find terms that allow the lenders to change - or even take away! - these benefits.

I compiled a list of common tricks loan lenders use to make sure you don’t earn their benefits.

1) “On-time payments” - Many lenders offer discounts for making on-time payments. What they don’t tell you is that to keep the discount you have to continue making on-time payments until the loan is paid off – which could equal up to 30 years of on-time payments!

Most lenders give borrowers a “grace period” before they will consider a payment late (typically around 14 days). However, some lenders require payments to be made “by the due date as initially scheduled” in order to qualify for their benefits. This means if your payment is not received by them on your payment due date, you lose your benefits.

2) Managing Your Loans Online - Some lenders may require you to apply online in order to even be eligible to receive their benefits.

Some lenders also require you to receive all correspondence from them electronically to be eligible for their benefits. If they send you an application confirmation via email, and your email address is deemed undeliverable twice in 48 hours, then you may not get the loan benefits. Also, if you ever change you email address without notifying them and their correspondence bounces back to them you could lose your benefits.

3) Automatic Debit - Most lenders offer borrowers an additional interest rate reduction (typically 0.25%) for using auto-debit (ACH) to make their monthly payments. However, some lenders tie the ACH benefits and the other benefits together. You have to use ACH to get the benefits. If you lose ACH then you lose the benefits too.

Sometimes the opportunity to sign up for ACH is limited to 30 days from the signing of the application. If the borrower does not follow up with the lender to get ACH WHILE the application is processing, then they can be outside of the sign up window. ALL benefits lost before they get their first bill!

They are required to sign up to receive their bill via email. In addition every month they must reply to the email acknowledging receipt. If they don’t they lose ACH which causes them to lose their benefits.

Returned emails, NSF in their checking account and failure to notify of a change of address are additional ways to lose ACH, which causes loss of other benefits.

4) Repayment Plans - There are four “repayment plans” that lenders can offer: Standard, Graduated, Extended and Income-sensitive. With a Standard repayment plan borrowers will pay a fixed monthly amount (principal + interest) for the life of the loan. With the other three options, borrowers can start with lower monthly payments by paying interest only for the first two years (Graduated), three years (Extended) etc.

Some lenders require borrowers to be on a Standard repayment plan to qualify for their benefits.

5) Minimum Balances - Some lenders require minimum balances to qualify for benefits (usually $20,000 or more is required).

6) Forbearance/Deferment – These are ways for borrowers to stop making payments for periods of time, such as times of unemployment or if they go back to school.

With some lenders, borrowers can lose their benefits if the apply for deferment or forbearance.

7) Proof of Graduation - Some lenders require borrowers to provide proof of graduation in order to keep benefits.

Early Pay Off - Borrowers can sometimes lose their benefits if they pay their loans off early.

Selling loans = loosing borrower benefits?

Do you wonder if selling loans will lead to losing borrower benefits?
Choosing a lender can be one of the most important decisions you’ll make when borrowing money to pay for school. Be sure to take into account the savings offered by each lender such as origination fee discounts, interest rate reductions, or rebates. To help you make the best possible choice, consider the following information.

Under federal guidelines, lenders are allowed by law to charge an origination fee of up to 3% of your gross loan amount. Some lenders offer you discounts on this fee, while others may offer special discounts or rebates for making a number of consecutive on-time payments. For more information, see the Loan Cost Comparisons of KHEAA’s Major Lenders. Loan costs change periodically, so you should contact the lender for the most current information.


Loan Cost Comparisons of KHEAA’s Major Kentucky Lenders
o Federal Stafford Loans
o Parent PLUS Loans
o Graduate/Professional PLUS Loans


Loan Cost Comparisons of KHEAA’s Major Alabama Lenders
o Federal Stafford Loans
o Parent PLUS Loans
o Graduate/Professional PLUS Loans


Loan Cost Comparison for Alternative Loans

The Kentucky loan cost comparison chart is provided in the popular Adobe Acrobat™ format. If you need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader™ software, you can download it by clicking on the Get Acrobat Reader™ button below.

Following are important questions to ask about lenders you are considering for your student loan.

Does the lender provide origination fee discounts, interest rate reductions, forgiveness of principal, or other incentives?

The bottom line is that discounts and other incentives can save you money! Lenders are not allowed to provide an origination fee discount prior to disbursement for PLUS loans.

Does the lender sell its student loans?

Many lenders sell their loans to other holders or secondary markets after the loans have been disbursed. When your loan changes ownership, the servicer may also change multiple times during the life of your loan. It is important that you stay in touch with your loan holder and/or servicer to ensure you fulfill your repayment obligations.

Does the lender use a servicer?

Many lenders use loan servicing agencies, or servicers, to handle the day-to-day work on their student loans. Servicers handle not only borrowers’ questions about their loans, but also repayment and deferment issues. Since the borrower/servicer relationship is often long-term, it is important for you, the borrower, to know who you are dealing with. Some lenders service their loans locally and some use out-of-state or national servicers.

Does the lender require a credit check?

Federal regulations require that credit checks be performed for all Federal PLUS Loan borrowers. However, some lenders may require credit checks for Stafford Loan borrowers as well.

Does the lender require a "customer relationship"?

Some lending institutions, such as credit unions, require that you are a member of their institution before they will accept your application.

Does the lender offer Federal Consolidation Loans?

You are required to make payments to each lender that makes a student loan for you. If, throughout the course of your education, you borrow from more than one lender, you may be eligible to consolidate those various loans into one loan. By doing so, you will only have one payment to make to one lender each month. You may also reduce the amount of your monthly payments once your Consolidation Loan is approved. However, you may lose certain other benefits, such as deferment options, so consider these carefully before consolidating your loans.

As an alternative to a Consolidation Loan, some lenders are willing to buy or sell your loans from/to other lenders. This allows you to retain the same benefits on your loans and make one monthly payment. You should contact your lenders to determine if this is an option for you.

What is a preferred lender list?

Many colleges provide student borrowers a list of lenders to consider. These lists are developed by the colleges under a wide variety of objectives which may include some of the following: (1) prior service provided to borrowers at that school, (2) discounts or other borrower savings provided at loan origination time, (3) savings provided to borrowers during repayment of the loan, (4) proximity of banks/lenders in the area where the college is located, (5) electronic processes offered to student borrowers and the college financial aid office necessary for efficient and timely delivery of funds, and (6) cancellation provisions for borrowers who enter certain professions after graduation. These lists are suggestions and are provided as a convenience to the borrower for consideration. As a borrower, the ultimate decision on which lender to use rests with you--compare the origination fees, discounts, and other savings each lender offers and choose the one that is best for you.

Once I’ve compared lenders and the benefits they offer, how can I make sure I get the benefits I’m looking for?

Different lenders may have several different Lender ID Codes, and each code may have different benefits associated with it. Be sure to use the correct Lender ID Code when you fill out your loan application.

Apr 9, 2007

Life After College

How many times have you said to your friends, “I can’t wait to be able to afford all those things we can’t afford now”? The prospect of earning a “real” salary, buying a new car, and getting a new wardrobe is really exciting, but don’t forget that this new lifestyle is also going to include having to pay bills at the end of each month.

Once again, having a plan in place will help you deal with the new financial challenges you’re about to face. This time the plan is called a budget. It’s not easy to anticipate all the expenses your salary will have to cover, so putting the data on paper will help you see where your money goes. Here are some things to consider.

Credit Card Debt
Banks make getting credit cards easy. Credit cards make spending easy. But sometimes easy is not so good. Credit card companies market extensively to recent graduates because there is a great deal of money to be made in that market: Interest rates vary from card to card and may range anywhere from 10 to 20 percent yearly. It’s very easy for a new graduate to get caught in the credit card trap.

Before you accept or use your new credit card, make sure you carefully read and understand the fine print and can pay at least the monthly minimum balance. If at all possible, pay off your credit card debt as soon as possible. If you have a savings account or have received money as a graduation gift, you should consider paying off your credit card bills before you take that expensive trip you’ve been dreaming about. “Pay now, buy later” is a good rule of thumb at a time when your income is limited.

Repaying Student Loans
Most students are troubled by the prospect of repaying their student loans. They’re not sure of the who, what, when, and where of the system. Here are a few things to remember:

* All students who took out loans and signed promissory notes during their undergraduate study now have a legal obligation to repay that amount and any interest associated with that loan.
* Know the addresses and phone numbers of all your lending agencies.
* Know all of the loan repayment options that are available to you, such as loan consolidation, standard repayment, and graduated repayment. Choose the option that will best fall within the limits of your budget.
* A deferment is postponing the repayment of a student loan. As a borrower, you have a legal right to exercise this option if circumstances merit.
* Forbearance options are also available, where the lender agrees to extend your payment schedule to avoid a default situation. Contact your lender immediately if you are having problems with your repayment schedule. On certain occasions, lenders may be willing to temporarily change your repayment schedule.

A word of caution is needed here about credit ratings. Anytime you are late with a payment, whether it be a credit card payment, car loan payment, telephone bill, or rent, it most likely will be reported to a credit bureau. This bureau will be contacted when you try to get a mortgage or want to borrow money to make any kind of sizeable purchase. It’s very important to remember that your buying and spending habits now may have major repercussions in the future.

Buying a Car
Making any major purchase requires lots of research before the transaction is completed. The process of buying a car is time consuming and takes lots of patience.

The first step is to decide whether you want a new or used car. More and more people are buying used cars, since the initial cost of buying a used car is usually a good deal lower than the purchase of a new car.

Then, you should spend time prioritizing the extras you want. Can you really afford a sunroof or that stereo system that has spectacular sound? It’s true that such items will increase the resale value of your car, but they will also increase the purchase price.

Know the cost of insurance for the car before you buy a new car. Investigate several insurance companies and learn what services they provide, how much deductible you will have to pay, etcetera.

When it’s time to pick up your car, you will have to sign all loan agreements, have a certified check for your down payment, and have a check to cover the costs for the registration of your car. You will need some sort of verification from your insurance company to indicate that the car is insured.

Ultimately, you should consider all options before committing to costly payments each month, and remember, if you’ve made the wrong choice, you can always go to Plan B or even Plan C if necessary.

Building a Professional Wardrobe
Now that you’ve got that job, what kind of clothes will you need and, just as important, what impact will buying these clothes have on your budget?

Dress codes vary greatly, depending on the industry and management team at the helm of a business. If you’re not sure you’re dressing right on the job, look around you and notice the attire of the managers and others who are the decision makers. Meanwhile, wear your more conservative clothes until you get a sense of what’s appropriate.

But how do you manage to buy a wardrobe for your new work situation, while you’re living on a very tight budget? Once again, you’ll need to devise a plan.

You really don’t need to buy a great many clothes. Start with the basics and add new components and accessories from there. The mix and match rule will help you recycle the same outfits until you can afford to augment your wardrobe.

Also, check out discount stores and resale shops for apparel, at a fraction of the retail price. Think of buying clothes that are “classic” and not in a style that will be out of fashion next year. An expensive suit that you can wear for five or six years is a better investment than a poorly made bargain that looks shabby after you’ve worn it for a year or two.

If you put some time and effort into planning your wardrobe, you can look like a successful, big-time career person, by only using a small-time budget.

From: Reality 101: The Ultimate Guide to Life After College, by Fran Katzanek

i really enjoyed this book. this is an excerpt from this great novel. i recommend anyone reading this who is stepping out of college and fresh into the working world. considering i am one of those people, i had to pick this up at Barnes & Noble. Glad I did! This book is great. Besides, its nice to have a "smart read" once and awhile.

Apr 4, 2007

Reconsolidation Loans

John Carlton writes today in his blog:

...Here’s what I’m talking about: The Web has “officially” become the Number One source for advertising for many of the culture’s biggest advertisers — a year earlier than predicted. Gazillions of bucks that used to be channeled through “traditional” media (newspapers, magazines, direct mail, television, radio, etc) have now been measurably diverted online.

For the people who keep track of this sort of info, this news is astonishing and troubling (if not unexpected).

The entire foundation of our capitalistic economy is shifting, and most of the former movers and shakers simply are not prepared for the change.

The obvious signs of upheaval are the disappearance of entire market segments. Like most of the music-selling stores (Tower, Wherehouse, your favorite former local hipster CD haunt)...

Read more at his blog.

Comprehensive Overview of Student Loan issues

These days, getting angry seems to be part and parcel of earning a degree. And I'm not talking about student protests. I'm talking about student loans.

Higher education has always been expensive and applying for financial aid was never easy. The difference now is that student loan debtors, like other consumers, are more vocal when they think they're being treated unfairly. And student loan companies don't like what they're hearing.

The latest controversy revolves around Loan to Learn, whose parent company EduCap Inc., based in Herndon, pioneered the private student loan business.

A quick and dirty primer: Students have several pools of money to tap into to pay for school: their family, grants and scholarships, federal loans and private loans.

Student borrowers are limited as to the amount of federal loans they can take out. And family and grant money are, for most people, a finite resource. That's where private loans come in.

Reconsolidation loan gimmicks you shall be aware of

If you are thinking about reconsolidating your loan, getting a student loan consolidation or whatver else kind of loan (like, wedding etc.) there are things to watch out for, and often you have to read the fine print to find them. Here are some marketing gimmicks some consolidators will use to get you to do a consolidation loan:

• "Apply by this deadline!"

Well, the fact is THERE AREN’T APPLICATION DEADLINES in student loan consolidation. Just keep in mind that interest rates may change every July 1st, so it’s a good idea to check if rates are going to change that year and determine if you should apply before the loan interest rates change.

• "Apply online and get great interest rate benefits!"
Some loan consolidators may require you to apply for a loan online in order to receive interest rate discounts. Plus, if they send you an application confirmation via email, and if your email address is deemed undeliverable twice in 48 hours, then you may not get the discounts!

• "Get an 0.25% interest rate reduction by doing business electronically."
That’s great but you might LOSE that 0.25% reduction if you simply change your email address and they get a bounce back when they try to send your notice or statement. Be sure you understand your obligation to the consolidator in order to keep your reduction.

• "Avoid late with auto-debit."
With auto-debit, watch your bank account balance! When the lender tries to auto debit your bank account and there are insufficient funds you may get a late fee from both the consolidator and your bank. Be sure to read the fine print to get specific details on their auto-debit program.

• "No fees to apply for our consolidation loan!"
Not charging fees is a requirement with federal loans. No one charges a fee for a federal consolidation loan.

• "Important information about YOUR student loan interest rates!"
Some loan consolidators attempt to mislead you into thinking that you’re being contacted by the lender of your education loans and that there are changes to your loans. Their hope is that you will contact them so that they can offer you their loan instead. Check out these lenders carefully before applying for a loan.

• Mailings that use seals or logos to imitate the government, a college or university.
Some loan consolidators do this to entice you to open their mailings. Be sure to really check out their logo and fine print to ensure you know who you are dealing with before applying for a loan.

• "Get Deferment or Forbearance Insurance."

Be on the lookout when some loan consolidators may play-up their services. If a loan consolidator offers you Deferment or Forbearance Insurance, they are basically "offering" you deferment or forbearance, which is a standard feature of consolidation loans and is offered by all lenders. Be sure to compare apples-to-apples and understand the actual benefits that your may receive with a loan product.

Remember: If it sounds too good to be true it probably is… read the fine print, ask questions and get it in writing!

Mar 30, 2007

Jonh Chow's calculus class

You guys ever tried "make money online" query on Google? OK - I was in a mood for googling what "make momey online" can bring me and here you are - take a look at this make money online.jpg:

Now you see what? Title of the captured page reads "make money online" - that's one.
Address field of the captured page reads "make money online" - that's two.
My beloved Web 2.0 panel search field (at the captured page) reads "make money online" - that's three.
Google search field of the captured page reads "make money online" - that's four.
Web results bar of the captured page reads "make money online" - that's five.
Bolded phrase of the 1st search result block reads "make money online" - that's six.
And - ta-dam! - 2nd result (out of OMG 140 Mln!!! for the term "make money online") sports three (3) more hits for the phrase you've already seen somewhere today - right, that's "make money online".

And that "make money online" belongs to John Chow, it's his blog. You wanna know who the guy is? Come check the blog - it's pretty intriguing how he managed to achieve 2nd out of 140 Mln position ranking on the phrase which - I bet - you've seen in my post 10 (or was in 11? Darn it...) times by now - "make money online".

Cheers John - keep up the good work.

Mar 29, 2007

Reconsolidation loans were the last thing on my mind when I got into Uni

A student graduates from Georgetown University with about $63,000 in debt.

Student recalls: "Reconsolidation loans were the last thing on my mind when I got here. Just imagine - a new place and I'm on my own for the first time! It was very exciting. Yes, it seemed like college would last forever."

For seniors, Georgetown Uni is offering a series of financial literacy workshops, covering such topics as loan repayment and debt consolidation, reconsolidation loans basics, credit cards, spending, benefits and taxes.

"If only I'd known this when I was your age" - thats' what the professors and other financial experts leading the classes say.

You better learn these lessons while young, for you'll have a lot of time on the line.

Students are leaving college with more debt than ever, now that more of them have to rely on loans, tuition keeps rising and credit cards are being pushed on many campuses.

For full-time students at four-year colleges, the median education loan debt is nearly $20,000.
And you should factor in credit cards - more than half of students surveyed in winter 2007 had piled on more than $5,000 in debt in school. There is even more - one-third added more than $10,000 in credit-card debt.

Some students treat credit cards and student loans like found money, for spring break trips or betting on NCAA brackets. But many are struggling to afford college; nearly a quarter charge part of their tuition. And most need to get used to managing expenses, learning -- often the hard way -- as they go along.

"We get the sense that students don't really understand how money works," said Greg Pasqua. "People do things that aren't very intelligent with their money. Overdraw accounts six times on $2 purchases, and get hit with six fees for buying bubble gum. Or get reported to Equifax because you didn't pay your loan on time, and you're like, 'I'll get it next time.' "

"30 to 40 percent of students' proceeds will be taxed away - how come what some students don't know that?
Students shall know basic things - what 401(k)s is, or whether they should put money into the pretax retirement savings accounts.

So professors and other experts explained the types of benefit choices students'll be expected to make, how to figure out what their monthly loan payments and take-home pay will be, how to invest in their 20s.

It's not difficult stuff. It's just -- who has time to think about credit scores and interest rates when there's so much else going on?

Until a car loan or a lease is turned down because of a bad credit score, or late fees pile up.

So she didn't pay too much attention to the details of the loans she was taking out. "When I was a freshman, I was like, 'Loans, great! I don't have to pay them back 'til I stop going to school -- cool.' "

"It wasn't until senior year, when I had to pay my own rent and pay utilities, that I really understood what $60,000 was," she said, referring to her tuition debt.

The classes have already changed her mind-set, she said. She learned about interest rates and credit scores.
"If you go three years [paying] on time, you could have a 3 percent decrease in the interest rate -- which is amazing."

She doesn't regret taking out the loans; she had so many great classes at Uni that she kept switching majors, from pre-med to English and so on.

She might have taken out smaller loans, with less money for expenses. "I might have had more of a realization that all of that was [racking up] interest and would take a long time to pay back."

Now she has a better idea of how to manage loans and evaluate benefits and salary. The classes reminded her to budget carefully and put money away for retirement when she can.

Reconsolidation Loans - what's new in 2007

Reconsolidation loans statutory limitations would be eliminated - that's the core of The Student Debt Relief Act Of 2007 introduced by Senator Kennedy.

On January 22, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) introduced the Student Debt Relief Act of 2007 (S. 359) along with Senators Durbin (D-IL), Lieberman (D-CT), Mikulski (D-MD), Obama (D-IL), and Schumer (D-NY) as cosponsors.

"A new day has now dawned in Congress, and last week, our colleagues in the House showed they have their priorities right on college costs by cutting student loan interest rates in half," Kennedy stated in a prepared statement in the Congressional Record. "Now it�s our turn in the Senate, but we won�t stop there."

Kennedy, the Chairman of the Senate authorizing committee with jurisdiction over the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, outlined many of the bill�s proposed changes to the HEA that would provide additional support to students. Some of the more prominent changes include the following.

Increase in the Pell Grant

The proposed legislation increases the Pell Grant to $5,100 for the 2007-08 academic year, and increases it in incremental steps thereafter to reach a maximum of $6,300 in the 2011-12 academic year. The Pell Grant would increase according to the following schedule:

* 2007-08 Academic Year: $5,100
* 2008-09 Academic Year: $5,400
* 2009-10 Academic Year: $5,700
* 2010-11 Academic Year: $6,000
* 2011-12 Academic Year: $6,300

S. 359�s Pell Grant maximum award provisions are a striking departure from normal practice. In the past, it was customary for a bill increasing the Pell Grant maximum award to insert new and higher authorized amounts. But, a higher authorization is merely a fishing license to seek funds in the appropriations process to make the higher authorization a reality. Without the appropriated funds for such a higher maximum Pell Grant a higher authorization is merely a goal. In other words, you may have a valid fishing license, but that license does not guarantee you will catch a fish. Chairman Kennedy in this provision of the bill reverses field. He now wants the increases in the Pell Grant maximum award to be mandatory, entitlement funding.

Student Aid Reward Program

The bill contains the Student Aid Reward Program that offers financial incentives to schools to participate in the Direct Loan Program. Schools would receive payments from the government not to exceed 50% of the total savings to the government. Schools could use such payments to supplement the amount awarded to Pell Grant recipients or could use such payment for grants to low- or middle-income graduate students. Schools would be required to join the Direct Loan Program for five years from the date the first payment is made to qualify for the funds. Because payments will be contingent on available funding, schools switching from the FFEL Program to the Direct Loan Program would be paid first and, then, other DL schools, if funds remained, would be paid on a pro-rata basis.

Interest Rate Reduction

Interest rate reductions would mirror the House�s College Student Relief Act (H.R. 5), except that the final interest rate cut would extend through the 2011-12 academic year. The Student Debt Relief Act also differs from the House in that it does not offset these interest rate reductions through reduced payments to FFEL loan participants.

Fair Payment Assurance

Very similar to proposals made by the Project on Student Debt during the latest rounds of Negotiated Rulemaking, this provision would institute a partial financial hardship deferment, allowing Stafford or GradPLUS borrowers to limit their monthly student loan repayment amounts to 15 percent of borrower's income that exceeds 150 percent of the poverty line applicable to the borrower's family size.

Additionally, the Secretary of Education is instructed to cancel any loan after 25 years of being in an economic hardship, partial economic hardship, standard repayment, or income contingent repayment status. Finally, the proposed statute does away with the three year limitation on economic hardship deferments.

In a related provision and applicable to only borrowers with Direct Loans, borrowers employed in public service would receive loan forgiveness after 120 payments under the income contingent repayment plan.

Additional Tax Breaks

The proposed legislation would increase the current tuition deduction from $4,000 to $8,000 in tax year 2007 and then to $12,000 in tax year 2008. Maximum income limits to be eligible for the deduction also would be increased and indexed to the inflation rate.

Current tax deductions on student loans interest for would be turned into a tax credit, but would be limited to the first five years of repayment. Like the income tax deductions, the maximum qualifying income limits would be increased and tied to the inflation rate.

Consolidation Changes

In-school loan consolidation would once again be allowed under this legislation and "reconsolidation" statutory limitations would be eliminated.

Direct Loan Origination Fees

The Direct Loan origination fees would no longer be mandatory, giving the Secretary the discretion to charge the fee or not. Additionally, DL fees, under the terms of the bill, would be reduced another 1 percent as they are phased out over the next several years. No additional reductions were proposed for FFEL Program loan fees which are also being phased out. The Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005. mandated origination fees be totally phased out over five years for both FFELP and DL loans, but left in place a mandatory charge of one percent on DL loans that parallels a one percent default fee that may be changed to FFELP borrowers by guaranty agencies.

Mar 27, 2007

9 Tips On Taking Out a Loan For Consolidation and Wedding

I'm about to share with you some tips for taking out a loan.

Debt consolidation loan can serve different purposes. You can clear your credit card bills, medical bills, and make other outstanding payments. Besides these, the money drawn from the loan can be used to invest in business, make home improvements, plan out a vacation or - WEDDING. How's that?!

Weddings like most of the things come with a price tag. If the cost tends to eclipse your wedding plans, wedding loans can help you meet wedding expenses.

The cost of average wedding, per year is $34,000 and is continuously rising since the last five years. Taking out wedding loans is easy as long as you know how much you need and how much you can afford. When planning on wedding loans concentrate on making expenses on things that are important. Wedding photography, wedding dress, rings, bridal gown videos hotel reception and honeymoon – wedding loans can finance for all these expenses.

There is no better way to commence pre marital money talk than wedding loans. Make wedding loans an opportunity to know about your partner’s spending habits. Few people realize how important financial compatibility is for their wedding.

The tradition of parents paying for the wedding is loosing its ground. Thus, more and more couples are paying for their own wedding. Usually people can’t single handedly pay for the cost of the entire wedding. Wedding loans undoubtedly helps the one to expand its wedding cost thereby helping you plan a memorable wedding. However, parents who want to finance for the wedding of their children can also apply for wedding loans. Wedding loans exist in two forms – secured and unsecured wedding loans.

Wedding loans are a great way to borrow money by placing a security. The guarantee can be anything, you home, your car. Depending on loan amount you can also further alternative forms of security like stocks and bonds. Unsecured wedding loans require no security. Thus, tenants can apply for the unsecured wedding loans. With wedding loans you can borrow anywhere from $10,000-50,000. Employed, self employed, part time employed, unemployed – all have a choice with wedding loans.

A one page online form and there you are applying for wedding loans. The decision for wedding loans is made fast, within 24 hrs. Wedding loans are also possible for those who suffer from bad credit. People with bad credit should first get their credit report and then apply for wedding loans. There are loan lenders who will comprehend your situation and will offer you wedding loans accordingly.

Wedding loans according to your requirements and financial affordability are doable. In fact you first need to understand affordability with respect to your circumstances. Planning for repayment of wedding loans along with your wedding is a smart idea. Remember this as a rule – you should not borrow more than you can repay in three year.

Interest rates for wedding loans are reasonable. Usually wedding loans do not have any fee or pre payment penalties. With research you will be able to find better terms and rates. Don’t forget to compare loans cost online. It is important to look beyond monthly repayments while settling on wedding loans. Look out for total loan cost, terms and be sure to read the fine print. Read the terms carefully and make sure you understand the wedding loans contract before you make the final decision.

I was promising to share with you tips for taking out a loan, right?

These nine tips will help your loan process be as hitch-free as possible:

1. Compare options like refinancing and other loan options to determine if a wedding loan is the best choice.

2. Make sure you can tell lender what the purpose of the loan is. Your answer will help determine whether or not you are approved.

3. Check your credit report for errors and get your FICO scores because lenders will review your FICO score to determine your loan rates. Check "How to Improve Your Credit Score" for more information on cleaning up your credit.

4. Compare several wedding loan options. Discuss the loan programs with your lender and find the best loan for your situation. Getting a good interest rates isn't a bad idea either.

5. When applying for a loan, you will get a checklist from your lender containing the list of paperwork you need to close the loan, including:
• Copy of deed to property.
• Recent tax appraisal.
• Last two years' W-2's, tax returns and current pay stub, or two years' tax returns if self-employed. Be sure to include all schedules.
• Proof of income from alimony, child support, disability payments, lawsuit settlement, inheritance or other income source.
• Copies of your last 3-6 bank statements.
• List of all open credit accounts (account numbers, payment amounts, and balances).

6. Faxing documentation from the checklist will expedite the loan process more than mailing it.

7. Fill out your loan application thoroughly, or it may delay approval and loan closing.

8. Beware of bad loans. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that you may be signing into trouble if the lender encourages you to falsify your application to get the loan, urges you to borrow more than you need, pushes you into unrealistic payment terms, shows up at closing with a different loan product than you agreed to, asks you to sign blank forms, or denies you copies of documents you signed.

9. Has your wedding loan application been rejected by a lender? Ask why it was rejected to find out what you need to do to secure wedding loan approval in the future. Sometimes paying down some credit cards can increase your credit score just enough to qualify.

Standing up for the rights of those seriously indebted under the Federal Student Loan Program 2007

PortFolio writes this week on regard of Federal Student Loan Program (2007):

Jennifer O’Donnell seems to be one of the few journalists who has the courage to stand up for the rights of those seriously indebted under the Federal Student Loan Program. We're talking here her fine writing ("Student Debt Mayhem"). Yes, it's about the the time for American students and their families to wake up to the chaos created by the 109th Congress.

Just imagine the uproar if homeowners were suddenly told that they can no longer refinance their homes. Then consider how American students and their parents feel - look, they are experiencing exactly the same problem with their federally insured student loan debt.

Read the full article here.

Mar 26, 2007

Clever Idea How To Consolidate My Credit Card Debit To Make One Payment With a Lower Interest

Elena writes:
"I earnestly wish to consolidate my credit card debit to make one payment with a lower interest, so I can pay this debit off more timely and not just be paying on interest and finance charges. This loan would also assist in paying medical bills from my pregnancy. I learned about Prosper from an evening news segment and it truly fascinated me – I wanted to journey this road if open to me. This is my second request and to those who bid on my first request, I am extremely grateful and wish I could thank you personally!"

You still havent got a clue what this about? It's a quote from description of Elena's inquiry for a loan at Prosper Marketplace.

She asked for $20,000.00 @ 11.00%, and by the time I stumbled upon this page she already got 73% funded - so my guestimate is what she'll get what she wants.

Quite an interesting resource, check it out - as Time Magazine put it, "for those more used to the Internet age, think of it as eBay meets your neighborhood bank."

Mar 12, 2007

Loan Consolidation For People Who Make Less Than 30000

Uhm...should I get a credit union loan?

I have less than $9,000 in credit card debt. I would like to have one bill but want to know what are the pros and cons to getting a credit union loan to pay them off this way. The cards are all in excellent standing but I do not use them anymore and I keep one for emergency purposes. Should I go for the credit union loan and pay them off or pay them individually like I am now?

Hmm...Credit Unions are easier to get loans from, and their interest is usually a little lower then banks.

But take this warning with you. Over the past several years, lots of people have been suckered into getting consolidation loans, home equity loans, or refinancing homes in order to pay off credit card debts. Then those people turn right around and charge up the now-empty cards all over again. They are now in twice the debt, with no hope of getting out. The end up filing bankruptcy.

Last year many thousands of people did just that.

If you plan to go this route, you MUST control your credit spending. Don't close your credit accounts, but rip up the cards so you can't use them for a while. Call and get the credit limits lowered to around $500, and don't let them jack them up again (they will, trust me).

This is exactly what has happened to many of the people I am trying to help out. Credit card companies make it so easy for you to get credit these days.

New Laws Reconsolidating Student Loans 2007

I made notice of following:

Q: Can married couples consolidate their loans together?

A: No. A recent change in federal law eliminates the ability of married couples to consolidate their loans together. The new law is effective for consolidation applications received on or after July 1, 2006.

Q: If home mortgages can be refinanced repeatedly, why can’t
federal educational loans be reconsolidated to take
advantage of the current low interest rates?

A: Home mortgages are quite different from federal educational loans in
a number of ways. First, mortgages are secured by the value of the
borrower’s property whereas educational loans are ultimately
guaranteed by the federal government. Second, there are usually
significant costs associated with refinancing a home, such as points,
appraisal costs, application fees, etc. No fees can be passed on to a
borrower on a Federal Consolidation Loan. Third, the interest rates on
mortgages are market-based and lenders recognize that many
borrowers will sell their homes before the end of the loan term. The
interest rates on educational loans have been written into law. Finally,
permitting borrowers to reconsolidate repeatedly would destabilize
the student loan market, which could make it difficult for current
students to obtain the loans they need.

More details

Borrower Benefits Statistics 2007

On my quest for Making College More Affordable :) I came across a 2007 EFC Borrower Benefits Stats book - the focus is on Not-for-Profit and State-Based
Student Loan Secondary Markets.

It's quite a study, I tell you. I got to know that regarding Borrower Benefits, UHEAA offers one of the nation’s most generous student borrower benefit programs to help keep student loan borrowing costs as low as possible. I learned that in addition to FFELP loans and private loans, some of the programs North Texas Higher Education Authority, Inc. (NTHEA) offers include Donation of Complete Computer System
to winner of a drawing at the annual FASFA conference in Texas. Each student winner receives a new computer complete with all peripherals to use for college work.

and so on. Lots of valuable information - give it a click.

ACFS Loans 2007 - ACFS invites you to share this free program with your friends, family and/or acquaintances

Just have read that ACFS Loans offer a new free program. In a nutshell, they say:

"we diligently strive to maintain our status as the industry leader in customer service. We invite you to share this free program with your friends, family and/or acquaintances. ACFS realizes that word-of-mouth referrals are invaluable. To demonstrate our gratitude, we provide you with $100 for each qualified referral who completes a Freedom Consolidation Loan with ACFS. To submit a referral(s), simply complete this form and return it to ACFS. Thank you for selecting ACFS as Your Answer to Student Loan Debt Management"

Feb 23, 2007

Reconsolidation Student Loan 2007 - Many Lenders Provide Significant Discounts.

Although 90 percent of students have some type of financial aid, last year’s seniors racked up an average of $17,300 in student loan debt.

For many, taking out a loan is inevitable. Financial aid director JoAnn Laugel said the 60 percent of students who had federal loans last year requested about $5,500 each.

But taking out a loan is better than resorting to credit cards, she said, which often accrue more debt through higher interest rates. Loans are also debts to be repaid, Laugel said, but students cannot get a four-year interest-free loan for anything else.

The first step in the loan process—for undergraduate and most graduate students—is filing for the FAFSA. The Indiana deadline is March 10.

Laura Freeman, Old National Bank student loan administrator, said the FAFSA enables students to learn how much money they are entitled to in scholarships and grants, as well as if they qualify for a federal Stafford loan.

Federal loans are the best type students can get, Freeman said, because they generally have lower interest rates and fees than private loans.

Laugel said UE provides a preferred lender list for federal and private loans.

“There are thousands of players, that’s the reason we have six,” she said.

Lisa Rollings, Citibank senior account manager, said students should look closely at what lenders are offering as many provide significant discounts.

“Some benefits are only if you pay on time, and some are up front,” she said.

If students plan on consolidating their loans—taking out one to pay for others—the up-front benefits will work best for them. But, typically, Rollings said students who consolidate loans pay more in the end as interest from lower monthly payments adds up.

Although consolidation can be beneficial, Freeman said one of the biggest problems is students who did not consider the size of payments, often $200 per month for those with $17,000 of debt.

Laugel said that is why UE offers exit counseling for graduating seniors—some becoming financially independent for the first time—to help them learn about sorting their finances. Sessions will be set toward the end of the semester.

While balancing loan payments might be difficult for some, UE students have been above the national average for keeping up with payments, she said.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the national rate for students not making payments on time for the 2004 fiscal year was 5.1 percent. Laugel said UE had a 1.7 percent default that year, and the 2005 fiscal year was at 1.1 percent.

“Just that 1 percent defaulted,” she said. “It’s a sign students are getting good jobs with a UE education.”

And if students are having problems making loan payments, Rollings said they should contact their lender.

“Make sure you communicate with your lender,” she said. “If you move, if you have any updated changes like marriage, changing your name or financial situation changes, call.”

If students communicate with lenders, Rollings said most are more willing to give them options and even briefly accept lower payments.

But Laugel said loans are not the only way to help pay for college. Ongoing scholarships from outside UE are available for all students

Financial aid has a notebook of scholarships in the office and the list is also posted at

Feb 22, 2007

F.A.Q.: Reconsolidation Student Loan 2007

I'm browsing thru Federal Consolidation Loan FAQ and just making notes of what not to forget...OK, let's see:

What is a Citibank Federal Consolidation Loan?
A Citibank Federal Consolidation Loan combines several existing federal student loans into one new loan. You can enjoy the convenience of lower monthly payments, a single fixed interest rate and one monthly payment.

How can I consolidate my loan with the grace rate?

You have the option of consolidating your loan during your grace period and taking advantage of a rate as low as 3.50%. It is important to remember that you must indicate the month and year of your grace end date in #26 on the Consolidation Loan application if you would like to hold the processing of your Consolidation Loan until the end of your six-month grace period. The rates in effect at the time that you apply for your Consolidation Loan will be used in the weighted average calculation to determine the rate on your Consolidated Loan.

Will the reduced interest rate that I am receiving due to borrower benefits on my existing loans be used to calculate the fixed interest rate on my new Consolidation Loan?

No. Interest rate reductions received as borrower benefits on existing loans will not be considered when determining the applicable interest rate on your consolidation loan. For example, if the applicable rate on your existing loans is 6.80%, but you were receiving interest rate reductions as a borrower benefit that reduced the interest rate to 5.80%, the interest rate used to calculate your new Consolidation Loan will be 6.80%.

How can I find out what my Consolidation Loan payment will be?
To estimate what your payments and total amount of interest paid may look like, input various interest rates into our Loan Consolidation Calculator. After your application has been approved, the disclosure and monthly account statement will include your exact payment amount and interest rate.

Can I consolidate my loans while I am attending school? (!!! - NB)
If you are currently a full- or half-time student, you can apply for a Consolidation Loan upon graduation. For loans disbursed prior to July 1, 2006, the interest rate during the grace period is 0.60% lower than the Stafford repayment rate. By consolidating while you are in grace, you will have the opportunity to secure a lower interest rate and start paying down your student loans.

Can I get an in-school deferment on my Consolidation Loan? (!!! - DONT FORGET TO ASK ZEE !!)
If you are attending school at least half-time you will be eligible for an in-school deferment on your Consolidation Loan. Keep in mind that you will need to begin repaying your Consolidation Loan immediately upon graduating, withdrawing, or dropping to less than half-time enrollment status. Citibank offers a special Consolidation Loan four-month Lender Option forbearance that may be considered to help you ease into repayment.

loan help 2007 - my personal F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked Questions on loan help in 2007 - that's the questions I ask myself, you know...+609 or -711 - doesnt matter.

Any ideas on how to handle it better? I'm just making a quick TODO list:

What is the benefit of a Federal Consolidation loan?
How much can I lower my monthly payments?
What is the interest rate on a Federal Consolidation Loan?
How can I lower the interest rate on my loans even further?
Do I get a grace period on my consolidation loan?
How long will it take for you to get my loans consolidated?

OK, now - Applying

What do I need to do?
How do I know if I'm eligible for a consolidation loan?
How much does it cost to consolidate my Federal Loans?
What if I don't know who currently holds my loan?
Will you check my credit before approving me for a consolidation loan?
Should I continue paying on the student loans that I am consolidating, while my application is in process?

Now, the core question - Repayment

Once I have taken out a Consolidation loan, can I add any new loans to it?
What are my repayment plan options?
When do I start repaying my loans?
If later I decide to switch to a different repayment plan, can I do so?
Can I pay more than the minimum loan payment required for each month?
Are deferments and forbearance allowed under a consolidation loan?

You guys know the right answer? Shoot me a message then.

2007: Interest Rate Reduction for Student Single Loan Holders

Gotta give a closer look to this:

American Collegiate Financial Services (ACFS) is now offering a variety of interest reducing programs through their Federal consolidation loan program.

Student single loan holders have the option of consolidating their Federal student loans upon graduating, leaving school or dropping below half-time enrollment.

Consolidating allows the borrower to obtain a fixed interest rate, lower monthly payments (uh-oh...) and take advantage of interest rate reduction programs.Interest rate reduction programs are incentives for automated and on-time payments.

The standard throughout the consolidation industry has been a 0.25% reduction for ACH, an automatically withdrawn payment from a checking or savings account and a 1.00% reduction for making 36 or 48 consecutive on-time payments.

"Unfortunately, borrowers planning to pay their loans off in a few years cannot fully benefit from the 1.00% reduction after 36 months because it takes at least three years to qualify," stated John Vis, President and CEO of ACFS.

Recognizing that student loan holders are individuals with unique financial needs, ACFS has launched a new incentive of a 0.75% reduction, awarded for 12 consecutive on-time payments.

The 0.75% reduction, along with the 0.25% reduction, is the most efficient interest rate reducing program available.

NB: loan cons direct loan for 2007

I've been looking for info on loan cons direct loan for 2007, found some:

"We're encouraging our students to consolidate in the Direct Loan Program very heavily," says Mohan Boodram, director of admissions and financial aid at the Harvard Medical School. There, student loans are serious business: The average debt of the class of 2007 was $91,000, approximately half of it federal loans. "There really is no downside to doing an in-school consolidation when interest rates are as low as they are today."

"There are some things the Direct Loan Program offers that the other programs don't offer," adds Susan Gilbert, associate director of MBA financial aid at Harvard Business School.

At the GSE, where last year's graduating doctoral students carried an average debt of $55,000, White notes an irony in all the loan consolidation information flooding students.

White encourages her students to learn as much as they can about loan repayment and pursue the plan that best suits their individual situation: often Direct Consolidation Loans, but sometimes, no consolidation at all. "The trick about consolidation is it's not one-size-fits-all," she says.

Financial aid professionals stress that students should consider the impact of consolidation on some of the benefits of their original loan, such as a postgraduation grace period on payments or special loan forgiveness circumstances, that may not transfer to a consolidation loan.

Reconsolidation Student Loan 2007 - A New Grad Question

I spotted an interesting exchange of opinions:

posted February 17, 2007
I'm a new grad, my grace period ends this June. I was wondering if any one on here has consolidated the loans from school, and if so what was the process like, are you glad, how long did it take and what the company name is.

Thank you

Buddy T DC replies back:

Consolidate and lock in the rate. It doesnt get much lower than it is right now. It's a no brainer. Shop around and see what rate and deals you can get. Some offer to drop the rate with 24 consecutive on time payments, some offer a certain percentage back up front when you consolidate. Figure out what's best for you.

Students of Izhevsk at long last are eligible for loan consolidation program offered by ElcomWest Bank

Russia, Udmurtia
February 22

ElcomWest Bank announce its new program

Do you need a sum to cover your tuition fees once you are a student?
ElcomWest Bank has special offer on student loans for you:

Who is the student loan for?
ElcomWest Bank student loans are devised for Russian citizens, who need to fund their tuition costs for:

Bachelor’s and master’s programs in Izhevsk;
Master’s programs abroad;
Secondary, high education and other educational courses.

Advantages The lowest interest rate - from annual 14% RUR/USD;

Fast application – the loan is granted in an hour;

Particular simplicity for the students rating I and II – minimum supporting documents are required;

Bonuses - VISA Electron card
- Internet banking
- ATM deposit service

Where to apply?
From February 22nd, apply to the students' service center opened specially for you.
Address: 245 Potemkina str., (II floor) Izhevsk.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am-5pm.
In regions outside Izhevsk apply to ElcomWest Bank branches.

ElcomWest Bank student loans – the first step on the way to your success in the future!

Loan Terms
Funding Bachelor’s programs in Izhevsk

Minimum loan amount 1000 USD

Loan term 1 to 12 months
Interest rate 14%-18%
Credit Bureau Fee 10 USD
Life insurance commission fee annual 0.72%
Collateral not required
Loan disbursement fee 1% of the loan amount, minimum 30USD

Funding Master’s programs in Izhevsk

Minimum loan amount 1000 USD
Loan term 1 - to 60 months
Interest rate 16%
Credit Bureau Fee 5 USD
Life insurance commission fee annual 0.72%
Collateral not required
Cost sharing a minimum of 10%

Repayment schedule in equal monthly payments (principal and interest)
Loan disbursement fee 1% of the loan amount, minimum 30USD

The student can obtain a loan him/herself for funding Master’s course on enrolment (upon the submission of the relevant document). As well as that, one of the family members of a student can be a co-borrower.

Student loan for funding Master’s course can be granted only if the eligibility of a school is preliminarily determined by the Bank.

Requrements for the borrower:

Length of service – minimum 1 year
Minimum amount of monthly income in case of:
salary - 500 USD

Funding Magistracy fees and accommodation costs abroad

Loan amount 200 – 25 000 USD
Loan term period of study + 66 months
Grace period period of study + 6 months
Interest rate 16%
Credit Bureau Fee 10 USD
Life insurance commission fee annual 0.72%
Collateral not required if the loan amount is less than 10 000 USD. In other cases, the loan must be secured by immovable property.

Cost sharing 0%

Repayment schedule monthly payment of principal and interest in equal amounts after the expiry of grace period
Loan disbursement fee 1% of the loan amount, minimum 30USD

The Humanitary and Art programs are not being funded.

Funding other courses

Loan amount 1000 USD
Loan term 1 – to 60 months
Grace period not allowed
Interest rate 6% - 23%
Credit Bureau Fee 5 USD
Life insurance commission fee annual 0.72%
Collateral not required if the loan amount is less than 10 000 USD. In other cases, the loan must be secured by immovable property.

Cost sharing 0%

Repayment schedule monthly payment of principal and interest in equal amounts
Loan disbursement fee 1% of the loan amount, minimum 30USD

Feb 14, 2007

A chance for students to win a $1,000 scholarship

That's right - a student loan company offers students a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship.

Just have heard of a nice contest you as a student could enter and win a $1,000 Scholarship - East Valley City News reports that a local student loan company offers students a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship. To enter the contest use the form at

Bruce Jacobs of KFYI radio station will reveal the winner's name during his show - drawing will be held on February 23, 2007.

As reported, Federal Student Loan Solutions offers this contest opportunity during a time of rising tuition for higher education across the nation.

Read the full story here.

Feb 13, 2007

Thoughts on missed opportunities on financial aid

Arthur M. Hauptman of Inside Higher Ed shares his thoughts on missed opportunities on financial aid.

Article's highlights:
- a bill to cut interest rates in half for some new borrowers (namely, students and their families)
- Pell Grant maximum award sees first increase in several years
- the students’ benefit from lower interest rates
- are the interest rate cuts limited to new borrowers in the subsidized student loan program?
- could the House-passed legislation provide help for the millions of borrowers who are currently having trouble repaying their loans because of high debt levels and/or low incomes?
- what would be a better approach to target increased awards on the lowest income students?

read the full article here.

Feb 2, 2007

Free Application for Federal Student Aid - is it still available?

Don't wait to file for student aid

By Marshall Loeb Of MarketWatch

| Attention high school seniors and parents: Have you submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid yet? If not, what are you waiting for?

Students entering college in the fall need to complete the FAFSA to be eligible for any type of financial aid — that includes government loans and grants and various merit awards. And many schools award aid on a first-come, first-served basis, so once the 2007-08 FAFSA became available on Jan. 1, the race began.

According to Rob LaBreche, president of consumer marketing for the College Loan Corp., ''Students and families who complete the FAFSA first are putting themselves in the best position to benefit from federal aid.''

It's still early, however. And completing a FAFSA is simple. Paper forms are available at local libraries, high school guidance offices and college financial aid offices. But it's easier and faster to submit the FAFSA electronically. It's available at . (Be sure to get a PIN from the U.S. Department of Education first — .) Not only is the electronic version processed more quickly, but it also has built-in checks for accuracy.

In the FAFSA, you'll have to include tax information. Don't worry if you haven't received your W-2s yet — just estimate the information and correct it later. If the student expects to receive tuition payments from a college savings plan in the upcoming academic year, you will have to report the value of the plan as a parent asset (not as an asset of a dependent student as it was in the past.)

Don't forget to complete college-specific financial aid forms, which many schools require in addition to the FAFSA. Many private colleges and universities also require applicants to submit the College Board's CSS/Financial Aid Profile application. It helps private schools determine eligibility for nongovernmental aid. Visit for details.


Most of graduates leave school with $19,000 in debt - but there is a way out.

Shortly after graduation, many college students feel like they've been hit like a ton of bricks. Moving out into the real world and trying to secure a new career are hard enough without having to deal with a stack of student loan bills.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average college graduate leaves school with $19,000 in debt, a figure that can be overwhelming, particularly for someone just starting out; but it becomes more manageable when you consolidate.

College loan consolidation will not only provide you with more money at the end of each month, but help you secure long term savings as well. If interest rates are low when you consolidate your student loan, you will enjoy putting that extra interest you are currently paying back into your pocket for the life of your loan, or using it to pay off your loan faster.

How to make the most of your money in 2007

A short time sorting out finances could save hundreds.

Spending just a small amount of time to find the best student loan deals could save hundreds of dollars.

It's really important to shop around to make sure that you get the best deal on loan.

Tips on how to borrow wisely

If you do take advantage of the discount a store card offers, make sure you pay off balance at the first statement to avoid interest charges.

Check interest-free credit deals are completely free of interest.

A credit card charging zero per cent on new purchases is a wise way to borrow, but make sure you pay your balance before any high standard interest rates come in.

A credit card balance transfer could save money, and there are still some cards that do not charge the typical two or three per cent per transfer fee, but be careful not to be caught out by cards without a maximum transfer fee as some cards cap fees at $100 or $200.

Personal loans have some of the lowest interest rates but are best used when you want to borrow a large sum of money over longer periods, as rates are higher for smaller amounts. However, this needs to be balanced against taking longer to repay the loan which can result in paying more interest.

Watch out for payment protection insurance on credit cards and personal loans. It is unnecessary, expensive and gives limited cover.

Your home is at risk if you secure a loan against it. Use your home as security only as a last resort.


"...a pretty big rip-off": ramblings on Student Loan Consolidation and such.

"It turned out to be a pretty big rip-off..." - recalls a guy who finally finished paying off his student loans a few months ago. "All those loans that seemed like such a good idea as a wide-eyed, wet behind the ears college freshmen, turned out to be a pretty big rip-off" - that's what he's actually saying. In the end, he's even got a congratulatory letter from the student loan consolidation company.


Exclusive: 60 percent DROP-OFF on Student Loan Consolidation?

Phoenix-based firm says that recent graduates still have time to save when consolidating their student loans, but time may be running out to lock-in a little-known discount offered by the company.

Once a student graduates, a six-month grace period goes into effect during which time the borrower is exempt from making payments. Many borrowers consolidate student loans during this time, taking advantage of low interest rates, which have increased from historical lows prior to July 1, 2006.

Those who have not yet participated in student loan consolidation may still lock in rates as low as 4.5 percent, fold all student loans such as the federal Stafford Loan or Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS Loans) into one easy-to-manage package, reduce payments by up to 60 percent and attain significant savings and benefits.


Feb 1, 2007

Borrowers can save money by not consolidating loans

Federal Loan Consolidation May Not Benefit All Student Borrowers

WILMINGTON, Del., Feb. 1 PRNewswire — Federal loan consolidation is an option that may help borrowers manage repayment of their federal student loans, particularly if they still have Federal Stafford/Direct Loans with variable interest rates. But, consolidation may not be right for all borrowers, particularly for those who now only have federal student loans with fixed interest rates. According to Jeffrey E. Hanson, director of borrower education services at Access Group, a nonprofit student loan provider, "Borrowers may be able to save money both in terms of their monthly loan payment and in the total amount they pay if they do not consolidate their fixed rate Federal Stafford/Direct and Federal PLUS loans."

There are three primary reasons why borrowers should weigh the benefits and costs before rushing into consolidation. First, Federal Stafford/Direct Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2006, have fixed interest rates. Thus, the fixed interest rate structure of the Federal Consolidation Loan provides no advantage to borrowers who have these new fixed rate loans. Second, many graduate/professional student borrowers likely now qualify for the Extended Repayment option on their Federal Stafford/Direct and Federal PLUS loans. That option provides a 25-year repayment period, thereby allowing borrowers to reduce their monthly loan payment without having to consolidate. And most importantly, many lenders now offer on-time payment incentives on Federal Stafford and Federal PLUS Loans that are more beneficial financially than those offered on consolidation loans.

To see examples illustrating how borrowers can save money by not consolidating and to learn more about the pros and cons of the Federal Consolidation Loan program, go to FederalConsolidation.Org.

About Access Group
Access Group is a nonprofit organization that has specialized in providing graduate and professional student loans for more than 20 years. Its products include federally guaranteed (FFELP) loans and private loans for students financing their law, business, medical, dental, health, and other graduate degrees. Access Group also creates custom loan options and university-wide programs for schools to meet the unique needs of their students. The company offers flexible repayment options for all loans, as well as the Federal Consolidation Loan program. Access Group also provides borrower education materials and need analysis services for students and financial aid administrators. For more information, visit

SOURCE Access Group