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New Law Favors Those Seeking to Escape Student Loan Consolidation Troubles

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New changes to student aid programs put a stop to government giving banks free money while pushing desperate people. A new law eliminated a $60 billion program that supports private student aids with federal subsidies and replacing it with government lending to students. The new changes also affect rates, repayments, student aid consolidation, etc.By ending the subsidies and effectively eliminating the banks as middleman, the new student aid program would generate $61 billion in savings over 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.Believe it or not, under the prior Federal Family Education LoN program, the government effectively assumes the risk for aids issued by private lenders, who then pocket the subsidies. The federal government started subsidizing private student loans since 1965 and in the 1990s began lending directly to students.it’s important for you to understand some of the changes affecting the student aid program that took effect on July 1, including:• Now all federal student aids are now issued through the federal government’s Direct Aid program. Before these changes, banks and other financial institutions provided federally guaranteed student aids through the Federal Family Education Aid Program, but the new health care reform bill enacted in May ended subsidies for lenders.Lenders can still offer private student loans. But facing a new reality, in recent months, some lenders, trying to replace the loss of billions in federal student aid subsidies, have lowered their rates and fees for their private aids.But do not even think about private aid until you have used all the federal student loans since not only the interest are lower that the program is a lot more flexible, specially if you ever confront financial problems.• Rates on some federal student aids have also been lowered. Rates for subsidized Stafford aids, which are available to borrowers who demonstrate economic need, fell to 4.5% from 5.6%. This new rate will apply only to subsidized Stafford aids issued between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011, but aids issued before July 1 won’t change, he says. The rate for unsubsidized Stafford aids, which are available to all students, remains at 6.8%, says Robert Murray, spokesman for USA Funds, a non-profit company that services loans.• Origination fees for Direct Stafford aids dropped to 1% from 1.5% on July 1.• All PLUS loans (Parent Aid for Undergraduate Students) are now issued through the Direct Loan program. As you remember, these loans were also previously offered by private lenders, as well as through the Direct Aid program.The rate for Direct PLUS Aids is 7.9% vs. 8.5% for FFEL PLUS Loans. Parents can use PLUS aids to pay for any college costs that aren’t covered through Stafford aids and financial aid. Graduate students are also eligible to borrow through the PLUS program.Student aid consolidation helpThe new law could provide relief for graduates who are in financial troubles or that aren’t making enough money to afford their aid payments.Borrowers doing student aid consolidation can use the income-based repayment program to have their loan payments reduced, based on income and family size. This is important because for most eligible borrowers, aid payments can be less than 10% of their income.• Married couples will no longer be penalized. The new law ended another affair practice of when couples filed a joint tax return, the program assumed that both spouses could use 100% of their combined income to make loan payments. When both spouses had student aids, the minimum payments were much higher than the minimum for unmarried borrowers with the same debt and income. But the new calculations take into account married couples’ combined income and their combined debt to calculate minimum payments.• Eligibility for income-based repayment will be based on the balance when the aid went into repayment or the current aid amount, whichever is greater. This is another important change benefitting borrowers who have gone into forbearance or deferment.

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