Student Loans, Financial Aid Both Rise in 2009-10

According to a new report by the College Board, both loans and other types of college financial aid rose in the 2009-10 academic year, although this increase in student aid was largely offset by rising college costs, which increased by about 6 percent.The College Board, in its annual “Trends in Student Aid” report, estimates that a total of $154.5 billion in student financial aid was distributed in 2009-10. Grants now comprise about 50 percent of student financial aid from all sources, both federal and private sector.In 2009-10, the average undergraduate student financial aid package was worth nearly $11,500. This figure includes more than $6,000 in grants and more than $4,800 in government-backed federal loans. Graduate students received slightly more financial assistance, on average, in the form of grants — nearly $6,400 — but also borrowed more heavily. The average graduate student took out more than $15,700 in graduate loans.GrantsCompared to student financial aid figures for 2008-09, grant aid to undergraduate students increased by 22 percent, while federal loans increased by 9 percent. The 2009-10 academic year also saw a 16-percent increase in the average federal Pell Grant award to $3,656, the largest one-year rise in the program’s history. Only about one-fourth of all Pell Grant recipients, however, qualified for the maximum grant amount of $5,350.Student LoansPrivate student loans — college loans issued by private lenders rather than by the federal government — represented about 8 percent of all loans in 2009-10, a decrease from 25 percent in 2006-07.Federal subsidized Stafford student loans made up about 35 percent of all loans in 2009-10, an increase from 31 percent in 2006-07. Unsubsidized federal Stafford student loans accounted for 42 percent of the combined federal and private student loans taken out in 2009-10, an increase of about 12 percent from 2006-07.Subsidized Stafford loans, which are available only to students who demonstrate financial need, are government-backed college loans on which the government will pay the interest while the student is in school or in a period of approved deferred payments. Unsubsidized Stafford loans are available to students regardless of financial need. Although students, as on a subsidized loan, may defer payments on a federal unsubsidized college loan while they’re in school or in certain other authorized circumstances, the student, not the government, will be responsible for paying all the interest that accrues on an unsubsidized loan during those periods of deferment.According to the College Board, about 65 percent of all undergraduate students in 2009-10 did not accept Stafford loans of any type. The majority of students who did accept Stafford college loans ended up taking out both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. The average Stafford student loan debt load in 2009-10 was $6,550.In 2008, Congress authorized increases in the maximum annual and lifetime federal lending limits for Stafford student loans. The expanded loan amounts were approved in part to discourage students from taking on the burden of private student loans, which tend to carry higher interest rates and fewer borrower protections than federal loans.Currently, dependent undergraduate students can borrow up to a maximum of $31,000 in Stafford college loans throughout their undergraduate college career. Independent undergraduates, as well as dependent undergraduates whose parents do not qualify for a federal parent loan, can borrow up to a maximum of $57,500 in Stafford college loans.Graduate students may also be awarded both subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford student loans, up to $20,500 a year and up to a total lifetime maximum of $138,500, including both their undergraduate and graduate Stafford loans.

Should College Students Take Unsubsidized Federal Student Loans?

One of the first questions on the mind of any college student when they receive their financial aid award letter is, What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidizedfederal student loans? Sometimes students are only offered unsubsidized loans and they are puzzled about whether they should accept them are not.Both subsidized and unsubsidized federal student loans are offered through the Federal Direct, or the FFEL Stafford Loan programs, which are administered through the federal government. Both types of loans must be repaid. Though the terms and conditions of the loans are set by the federal government (generally making them the best loan options students have), the system is set up so that the actual money comes from and is paid back to private institutions – that means banks.Now, here’s what you really need to know before taking out an unsubsidized student loan.First, with subsidized loans the government covers the interest payments for you while you are in school and/or in deferment. The loan accrues interest just like any other. You’re just not responsible for paying any that accrues before you enter loan repayment on the principle. Students who take out $10,000 (for instance) in subsidized loans, find that, six months after they leave school, they basically owe $10,000 plus whatever interest that gets charged after they start repayment, whenever that might be.When you take out unsubsidized loans, you are responsible for all the interest that the loan(s) accrue, even while you are in school. While enrolled and during the deferment period, you will be given the choice of making voluntary payments on that interest. Making payments like this is a good idea if you are able; it keeps you from being charged interest on your interest. If you do not pay along the way, the interest will be added to the principle of the loan. This could mean that you pay a lot of extra money in interest, which is the biggest drawback of unsubsidized loans.On the other hand if you have not gotten any subsidized loans, because you were told you had no need because your parents make too much money or something, there’s still a good chance unsubsidized federal loans are the best option for you. Subsidized loans are need-based and unsubsidized loans are not. Your level of financial need gets represented by specific numbers calculated from the information you put on your FAFSA application. Without getting in to all the particulars, students who have greater levels of financial need qualify for subsidized loans that those with less need don’t. Even if you have no need at all (according to the governments reckoning) you can still be offered and receive unsubsidized loans.Knowing the differences between these two types of loans can save a lot of confusion, and a surprising amount of money, for you through your college career. If you are ever in a position where you are being offered a combination of subsidized and unsubsidized loans, and you only need to take out half of what’s being offered, go for the subsidized.Finally, remember, don’t take out loans you don’t need, no matter how good the deal might look.

Should College Students Take Unsubsidized Federal Student Loans?

One of the first questions on the mind of any college student when they receive their financial aid award letter is, What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidizedfederal student loans? Sometimes students are only offered unsubsidized loans and they are puzzled about whether they should accept them are not.Both subsidized and unsubsidized federal student loans are offered through the Federal Direct, or the FFEL Stafford Loan programs, which are administered through the federal government. Both types of loans must be repaid. Though the terms and conditions of the loans are set by the federal government (generally making them the best loan options students have), the system is set up so that the actual money comes from and is paid back to private institutions – that means banks.Now, here’s what you really need to know before taking out an unsubsidized student loan.First, with subsidized loans the government covers the interest payments for you while you are in school and/or in deferment. The loan accrues interest just like any other. You’re just not responsible for paying any that accrues before you enter loan repayment on the principle. Students who take out $10,000 (for instance) in subsidized loans, find that, six months after they leave school, they basically owe $10,000 plus whatever interest that gets charged after they start repayment, whenever that might be.When you take out unsubsidized loans, you are responsible for all the interest that the loan(s) accrue, even while you are in school. While enrolled and during the deferment period, you will be given the choice of making voluntary payments on that interest. Making payments like this is a good idea if you are able; it keeps you from being charged interest on your interest. If you do not pay along the way, the interest will be added to the principle of the loan. This could mean that you pay a lot of extra money in interest, which is the biggest drawback of unsubsidized loans.On the other hand if you have not gotten any subsidized loans, because you were told you had no need because your parents make too much money or something, there’s still a good chance unsubsidized federal loans are the best option for you. Subsidized loans are need-based and unsubsidized loans are not. Your level of financial need gets represented by specific numbers calculated from the information you put on your FAFSA application. Without getting in to all the particulars, students who have greater levels of financial need qualify for subsidized loans that those with less need don’t. Even if you have no need at all (according to the governments reckoning) you can still be offered and receive unsubsidized loans.Knowing the differences between these two types of loans can save a lot of confusion, and a surprising amount of money, for you through your college career. If you are ever in a position where you are being offered a combination of subsidized and unsubsidized loans, and you only need to take out half of what’s being offered, go for the subsidized.Finally, remember, don’t take out loans you don’t need, no matter how good the deal might look.

Credit Unions Challenge Big Banks for Private Student Loans

Big banks that offer private-label college loans are facing new competition from credit unions that are looking to issue their own private student loans.Credit unions, in increasing numbers, are developing partnerships with private loan companies like Sallie Mae and Credit Union Student Choice to deliver private loan products to credit union members. In one such agreement, Southeast Corporate Federal Credit Union, which itself has more than 400 member credit unions, will offer private student loans through Sallie Mae.Private loans, non-federal education loans issued by banks and private lenders, are designed to assist students who have exhausted their federal loan options. Private loans can be used to cover up to 100 percent of a student’s approved educational expenses.Credit Unions Offering Flexibility in Student Loan ProgramsSome credit union private loan programs are being structured to appeal to families with more than one student in college by enabling parents to make multiple withdrawals on a single line of credit worth as much as $75,000. In addition, credit union-backed student loans are eliminating loan origination fees and offer both in-school loan repayment and deferred, post-graduation repayment plans.In-school repayment options enable students to reduce the overall amount of interest their private loan accrues before they graduate. According to Sallie Mae, students who begin college loan repayments while still in school can reduce their student loan debt by 30 to 50 percent over traditional college loan payment plans, which defer repayment until after a student has graduated or left school.Investors Looking to Private Student Loans’ Long-Term GrowthThe prospects for private loan companies and college loan securitization are improving marginally. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) recently sold a bond worth nearly $1.2 billion that was backed by student loans, after previously relying on commercial and residential mortgages to secure its bond sales.Credit rating agencies are less sure that private student loan companies represent a good risk; however, many analysts remain optimistic about the long-term investment potential of private loans.Fueling investor confidence in the longer-term prospect of the private student loan market is the growing demand for student financial aid as record numbers of students are entering college each year.Federal Budget Cuts May Pave the Way for More Private Student LoansIndeed, private loans may gain market share in a more immediate future than analysts had been predicting.On Capitol Hill, the U.S. Senate is currently struggling to pass a continuation of its earlier spending authorization to fund the Department of Education’s federal Pell Grant program, which awards government-issued college grants to financially needy and lower-income students. The current authorization expires December 18.If the Senate fails to reauthorize the funding proposal at its current level, students who are eligible for a Pell Grant may find their Pell Grant award reduced or eliminated. With less Pell Grant aid available to them, many of these students would then need to take out more money in student loans in order to pay for college and complete their degree.Congress is already considering elimination of the Pell Grant program altogether, as recommended by President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.The bipartisan panel, which recently forwarded its final report to Congress, recommended that the federal government reduce federal education grants based on a student’s pre-college family income in favor of more government-issued college loans, which would need to be paid back, replenishing the government’s coffers, and that would be more attuned to a borrower’s post-graduation earning potential.However, spending appropriations for an expanded federal loan program may face stiff opposition in the Republican-led House of Representatives.As Congress wrestles with the funding needs and long-term future of both federal grant and federal student loan programs, private loan companies are positioning themselves to fill in any emerging federal financial aid funding gaps.private college loans: http://www.nextstudent.com/private-loans/private-loans.asp

Eliminate The Student Loan Blues With A Debt Consolidation loan

With classes coming to an end many college graduates will soon be faced with the inevitable task of repaying their student loans. In some cases this can amount to a rather difficult task based on the amounts involved. Perhaps you are one of these students facing a large amount of debt to repay back. Fortunately, there are some ways to relieve yourself of this financial strain and burden by utilizing a student loan debt consolidation program or plan.Just in case you need a quick refresher course, college students are able to obtain two different types of financial aid in order to pay for their college tuition. The first is a government loan that is administered by the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Program. This is a very popular choice for many students and generally speaking is an easier loan to pay off with a student loan debt consolidation plan.The second form of financial aid utilized by a financially struggling college student is a basic private student loan. This loan is readily obtained from any lending institution and as you can imagine the rates charged during the payback period of this loan are substantially higher then a regular federal student loan. Unfortunately, the higher rates also make it more difficult to qualify for a student loan debt consolidation program when compared to the government-backed loan.As I’m sure you know a standard debt consolidation loan is normally used to pay off all of your current outstanding debt by tabulating it all into one lump sum. In some cases you can enlist the help of a debt consolidation specialist who will negotiate on your behalf in order to obtain more favorable rates in the event you’re unable to obtain enough funds to pay off your entire financial obligation.As someone who has been around the financial aid office on a college campus I can confidently tell you that the financial aid worker will be able to help you search for a local bank or lending institution that will be able to readily support a student loan debt consolidation plan. Keep in mind that this loan is only for consumers that are no longer attending college. There are some additional constraints such as you can’t be late on any previous payments and the original student loan must be in excess of $10,000. Failure to meet these minimum criteria will result in the student loan not being eligible to be part of your debt consolidation loan.As mentioned earlier college students that obtain their funding through the use of a private loan will find that the stipulations regarding its consolidation are not quite as strict as a government sponsored federal student loan. With the interest rates normally higher on a private loan it only makes sense to seek out a student loan debt consolidation plan that will offer better rates and lower monthly payments.

How Would Tying Student Loans to Repayment Rates Affect Higher Education?

As the U.S. Department of Education considers linking colleges’ and universities’ eligibility for federal student financial aid to the school’s student loan repayment rate, some analysts are looking at just how large the student loan default problem is and what might happen if new college loan repayment rules take effect in 2012 as expected.Defaults on college loans can be measured in a number of ways, but one of the most common measures of default is the official cohort default rate, defined by the Department of Education as the percentage of a school’s student loan borrowers who enter repayment on certain federal education loans “during a particular federal fiscal year, Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, and default or meet other specified conditions prior to the end of the next fiscal year.”In other words, the cohort default rate is the percentage of borrowers who enter repayment on their federal loans and then either stop making payments on their loan debt or never make payments at all during the 12-24 months after entering repayment.Student Loan Default Rates vs. Repayment RatesGovernment analysts now want to look more closely not at schools’ default rates on federal college loans but at schools’ repayment rates on those loans.Consumer and student advocates have long argued that the cohort default rate, as currently measured, severely underrepresents the proportion of a schools’ students who are struggling with college loan debt by looking at only an initial 24-month period. The two-year snapshot, these critics maintain, misses a large swath of students who are able to muddle through making their payments for the first couple years but then begin defaulting in the third and fourth years of their repayment periods in accelerated numbers.The default rate also fails to take into account those students who aren’t able to make payments on their college loans but who aren’t considered to be technically in default because they’ve arranged for a student loan debt management plan that permits them to put off making payments on their federal college loans.In proposed rules that would regulate a school’s eligibility for federal student aid, the Department of Education would consider a school’s college loan repayment rate and not simply its default rate, as current regulations do.By expanding its institutional financial aid eligibility rules to include student loan repayment rates, the Education Department would be looking at how many students simply aren’t repaying their student loans — not only counting borrowers who have defaulted, but including those borrowers who are in a legitimate deferred repayment plan or approved forbearance period that allows them to temporarily forgo making their federal student loan payments.The Student Loan Debt Problem, as Measured by Repayment RatesEarlier this year, the Department of Education reported that the national cohort default rate was 7 percent for the 2008 fiscal year, the last year for which repayment data are available.Looking at repayment rates, on the other hand, while also expanding the time span over which student loan repayment is measured, yields a far larger non-payment rate among college loan borrowers and paints a truer picture of the size of the inability-to-repay problem among student loan borrowers.The Department of Education estimates that in 2009, among alumni of public universities who carried federal student loan debt, only 54 percent of those who had graduated or left school within the last four years were in repayment on their federal student loans — a far cry from the 93-percent national non-default rate of 2008.The four-year repayment rate was marginally higher for students at private nonprofit universities, at 56 percent. Perhaps predictably, the repayment rate among alumni of private for profit colleges was substantially lower — just 36 percent over four years.These figures come from a new repayment database that the Department of Education will use to track government-issued loans, from the time they’re issued until the time they’re paid off. The database can also track what happens in between.By looking more carefully at each loan’s entire lifespan, the Education Department hopes the database will help identify the point at which borrowers first begin to show signs of trouble repaying their federal college loans.Schools’ Student Loan Problems Could Mean Loss of All Financial AidAs the government’s proposed financial aid rules are currently worded, the new rules would allow the Department of Education to impose financial aid restrictions on schools whose overall student loan repayment rate falls below 45 percent.Schools that have a repayment rate of lower than 35 percent would face the loss of federal student aid altogether.Using the Education Department’s 2009 data, more than half of the higher education institutions in the United States would face some type of federal loan sanctions if the proposed financial aid rules were in effect today, and 36 percent of post-secondary institutions would be barred from offering federal student aid for a period of at least two years.However, the proposed new Department of Education rules will also allow schools to report student loan repayment rates separately by program. By segmenting out repayment rates by program, institutions could avoid school-wide federal financial aid sanctions, leaving intact federal student aid for academic programs whose repayment rates are within the established guidelines, while still receiving sanctions for programs whose graduates consistently fail to make payments on their federal college loans.Student loans: http://www.nextstudent.com/, student loan default rates by school: http://www2.ed.gov/offices/OSFAP/defaultmanagement/cdr.html

What Are Federal Plus College Loans and How Do I Get One?

Federal plus college loans are one of the most economical and affordable ways to stretch out your college payments. Their popularity stems from a user friendly approach to college loans in terms of affordability and practical usability.The most beneficial aspect of federal plus college loans is the low interest rates that are afforded to you with your federally guaranteed loan. In addition to this, the entire cost of tuition can be borrowed with a federal plus college loan. This includes the full cost of tuition, as well as accommodation and lodging, textbooks, travel, laboratory fees (if applicable) and also college supplies. Because college expenses do not begin and end at tuition, the federal plus college loan is extremely viable as a number one choice for students needing financial aid.You need not be in financial distress or have to display a need for extra funding to apply for a federal plus college loan, however a decent credit history is a pre-requisite for successful application. Another mandatory factor that needs to be in place before application is the students’ enrolment in at least a half time course at an eligible college that accepts federal plus college loans.Some schools have different policies with regards to accepting students with federal plus college loans, so it would be a wise move to check with them first to ensure you have all the necessary criteria in place.A credit check will be carried out against your name to ensure that you are eligible for a federal plus college loan. This credit check is obligatory and will exclude you from application if you have any accounts that are outstanding over 90 days, or if you have a Title IV debt against your name within the last five years.Federal plus college loans are available through most authorised financial services providers, and all you need to do to apply for one is to contact them online, by telephone or by making a personal visit to their offices.Some of the better known financial institutions offering federal plus college loans are listed below. You will be directed to their websites by clicking on the links and will be able to apply for or enquire about federal plus college loans while there:
US Bank
Wells Fargo

Scholarship and Educational Grant Opportunities for Freshman College

We cannot deny the fact that being a senior high school can be daunting for many people. You need to fix a lot of things like filling out college forms, checking out universities, preparing for graduation, being separated from your parents and friends, and more importantly, you will be facing the challenge of raising funds to continue your studies.When you are filling out the admission for the university that you have chosen, make sure that you have checked all the available scholarship opportunities that are available for you. There are a lot of programs that will help you ease the burdens of high tuition fees. On an average, the cost of going to school is increasing by up to 6% every year, and being picked for an educational grant will greatly help you financially.The first thing that you need to do when looking for scholarship opportunities is to visit your guidance counselor and ask about all the people, foundations, and businesses who are providing grants for school. There are different types of scholarships available to senior high school students like the Presidential Scholarship, Freshman Honor Scholarship, and special skill grants.The Presidential Scholarship is given to students who have shown great excellence in academics during high school. Most of the time this is given to students who have an average of more than 85%, and this privilege will not be given to you for four straight years. Every year, the program will be checking your performance every year and once you have gone below the requirements, the 50% discount grant will be given to other people.The Freshman Scholarship program is like the Presidential Grant, it is only given to students who have shown great academic performance. But unlike the Presidential Grant, this program will be given to you until you finish college, and will pay for all the institutional costs.Students who do not have high grades should not lose hope. In fact, there are scholarships that are given to them but not for academically excellent students. This is called special skill grant, and is given to students who are gifted with special skills in sports, arts, and music. This is to give all the students a chance to finish their college and get a degree for free. Other organizations may also offer educational grants for students who have special hobbies, and is found to be an outstanding member of a community.

Eliminate The Student Loan Blues With A Debt Consolidation loan

With classes coming to an end many college graduates will soon be faced with the inevitable task of repaying their student loans. In some cases this can amount to a rather difficult task based on the amounts involved. Perhaps you are one of these students facing a large amount of debt to repay back. Fortunately, there are some ways to relieve yourself of this financial strain and burden by utilizing a student loan debt consolidation program or plan.Just in case you need a quick refresher course, college students are able to obtain two different types of financial aid in order to pay for their college tuition. The first is a government loan that is administered by the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Program. This is a very popular choice for many students and generally speaking is an easier loan to pay off with a student loan debt consolidation plan.The second form of financial aid utilized by a financially struggling college student is a basic private student loan. This loan is readily obtained from any lending institution and as you can imagine the rates charged during the payback period of this loan are substantially higher then a regular federal student loan. Unfortunately, the higher rates also make it more difficult to qualify for a student loan debt consolidation program when compared to the government-backed loan.As I’m sure you know a standard debt consolidation loan is normally used to pay off all of your current outstanding debt by tabulating it all into one lump sum. In some cases you can enlist the help of a debt consolidation specialist who will negotiate on your behalf in order to obtain more favorable rates in the event you’re unable to obtain enough funds to pay off your entire financial obligation.As someone who has been around the financial aid office on a college campus I can confidently tell you that the financial aid worker will be able to help you search for a local bank or lending institution that will be able to readily support a student loan debt consolidation plan. Keep in mind that this loan is only for consumers that are no longer attending college. There are some additional constraints such as you can’t be late on any previous payments and the original student loan must be in excess of $10,000. Failure to meet these minimum criteria will result in the student loan not being eligible to be part of your debt consolidation loan.As mentioned earlier college students that obtain their funding through the use of a private loan will find that the stipulations regarding its consolidation are not quite as strict as a government sponsored federal student loan. With the interest rates normally higher on a private loan it only makes sense to seek out a student loan debt consolidation plan that will offer better rates and lower monthly payments.

Iowa Student Loan Grant Program Will Assist First-Year Teachers

A new grant program from Iowa Student Loan will provide $2,000 cash grants to first-year teachers in Iowa who accept assignments in certain “shortage areas,” as designated by the state Department of Education.The $2,000 one-time awards are not college loans and do not have to be repaid. The grant program, which is expected to continue annually, will be funded from Iowa Student Loan’s operating revenue and is expected to help more than 60 teachers each year. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.Applying for an Iowa Student Loan Teacher Career Establishment GrantFirst-year teachers in qualifying subjects like mathematics, science, English as a second language, foreign languages, music, agriculture, industrial arts, and special education can apply for the grants online.The program, named the Teacher Career Establishment Grant Program, is designed to help new teachers with living expenses. The grants can be used to help repay loans and reduce college loan debt but can also be used for any other expenses. Iowa Student Loan doesn’t place restrictions on how the money can be spent.The Iowa Student Loan grants are intended to help recruit and retain new teachers in Iowa. The program is open to all recent graduates, regardless of your current state of residence or where you went to college.In order to be eligible for the grant program, you must be contracted to begin your first teaching job after Jan. 1, 2011, and you must teach in an Iowa classroom. You may not have taught in any other state prior to teaching in Iowa.State Hopes Financial Aid Will Attract More TeachersThe Iowa grant program has been established in response to a growing need among Iowa school districts for qualified teachers.A 2009 survey conducted by the Iowa Department of Education reported that the state had nearly twice as many math teachers who were ready to retire as it had incoming math teachers. The same survey also showed that the ratio of retiring teachers to new teachers in other academic shortage areas, like physics, was similarly lopsided.One goal of the grant program is to convince Iowa education students to remain in the state and pursue teaching opportunities locally. By helping with newly minted teachers’ first-year expenses, Iowa Student Loan hopes to bolster the number of highly qualified teachers that remain in the state after graduation.For its part, the state has also recently moved to increase starting salaries in Iowa schools to make the decision to teach in Iowa easier on students who may be carrying a large debt burden from college loans.Historically, Iowa had offered starting salaries for teachers that were among the lowest in the country. Recently, however, starting salaries for teachers in Iowa have risen from the bottom one-quarter of all state starting teacher salaries nationwide to about the national median starting salary.Iowa Grants Begin as Student Loan Forgiveness Program EndsThese new Teacher Career Establishment Grants replace a student loan forgiveness program that was instituted in 2006 and is winding down this year.The Teacher Education Loan Forgiveness Program, also sponsored by Iowa Student Loan, provided loan debt reduction for more than 300 teachers who enrolled in the program. The student loan forgiveness program provided millions of dollars in college loan debt relief for teachers who accepted assignments in areas where teacher shortages were apparent.The student loan debt forgiveness program has paid out approximately 20 percent of its committed funds and will pay the remaining 80 percent as program participants fulfill their teaching commitments. The Teacher Education Loan Forgiveness Program stopped accepting applications at the end of the 2009-10 academic year.About Iowa Student LoanIowa Student Loan, based in Des Moines, is a private, nonprofit financial aid organization established in 1981 to help Iowa students and families obtain the money they need to pay for college. The organization also provides benefits in the form of discounted college loan products and college loan forgiveness programs, and it supports free college planning services for students and their families.Student loans: http://www.nextstudent.com/student-loans/student-loans.asp