Thursday, April 24, 2008

President Barack Obama on CNN radio

Obama speaks about his plans for student financing ... expand Pell Grants, cut out the middle men (... such as Sallie Mae), $4,000 tuition credit per year in exchange for community or national service, and finally curb university costs

Just watch/listen between the 3:00 and 5:30 minute mark of this YouTube video.

He speaks from personal experience with student debt. He said his and his wife's combined student loan debt coming out of law school was greater than their mortgage!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Authority to purchase federal family education loans

This is straight from today's White House Press Breifing:

... recent credit market conditions have raised concerns in the student loan market among parents and some college students, and so the administration has been taking steps to prepare for the approaching student loan peak season of applications in July and August. Today Secretary Spellings, Secretary Paulson and Director Jim Nussle sent a letter to members of Congress urging prompt action to get the Department of Education authority to purchase federal family education loans to better ensure the availability for the upcoming academic year.

The House recently passed a bill to provide this authority, and we urge the Senate to act promptly on the bill. Implementing this authority will take time, so it is imperative to move this legislation without delay if this authority is to be used in the upcoming school year. We do not want to see any students unable to attend universities this year because of the credit crunch, and that's why we are taking appropriate steps now to confront that challenge should it arise.

Larry Warder of Department of Education has been quoted saying:
"This has to be ready by July." ... in time for the peak time this year for student loans.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Martin Lewis, How to survive financially as a student

Awesome financial advice if you're currently in school. It's from the U.K. but it's for everyone.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Student Loan Advice 'Concerns'

U.S. News and World Report has posted an article expressing concerns about biased student loan advice on the internet. Along with blogs, they mention Christopher Penn's financial aid podcast from The Student Loan Network.

But consumer advocates are concerned that students may not realize or consider that these educational messages are coming from people who want their business, not unbiased sources.

First of all, I highly respect Penn's podcast. He provides a wealth of useful legitimate information. Of course, he's made a business out of it too.

Second, pretty much everyone has a biased view to some degree. The U.S. News and World Report 'online' piece has advertisements on it directing you to 'biased' sources. So does my blog. Information is never totally free. The point is, even in the biased advice, there is golden information that may be of some use to you. The most unbiased source would be government web sites and that's only because they're tax payer funded.

I thought the little video embedded in the U.S. News article was interesting. They gave 3 basic tips: 1) maximize your federal loans 2) Don't take out more money than necessary 3) Seek advice from the financial aid office.

Not taking out more money than necessary is golden advice. Maximizing your federal loans is also a must but you know you're still going to end up short on the needed cash. The thing you need to be most careful about is the financial aid office student loan advice. You'll generally get good advice but there's also a good chance you'll also get "biased" advice. The whole industry has been tainted the last couple of years because sweetheart deals between universities and loan companies

... major colleges received financial benefits for touting lenders that didn't necessarily offer the best deals for students. Some of these exclusive deals were greased with "gifts" such as free computing services or outright bribes to college loan officers.

My student loan advice to you: Soak in information from every source possible but use critical thinking skills to make the right choice for you.