Monday, August 30, 2010
Perkins Call-In to Congress Days: September 15 & 16
In order to show support for extending and providing adequate funds for the Perkins Loan Program, COHEAO has planned Perkins Loan Call-In to Congress Days for Wednesday, September 15 and Thursday, September 16 for the Washington offices of Members of Congress. Please be sure to contact your legislators (House and Senate) and ask them to support the Perkins Loan Program by extending and funding it.
Additional materials are available on at www.coheao.org and please feel free to contact COHEAO with any questions or concerns. When contacting your Representatives, please ask them to cosponsor H.R. 5448, the "Perkins Loan Extension Act," a bill introduced by Congressman John Spratt that has bipartisan cosponsorship. Please also notify them of the critical need for appropriations to fund cancellations and provide more financing for students.
To locate the contact information for your legislators, please visit www.contactingthecongress.org (an excellent online resource for this information, but not affiliated with COHEAO). As always, if you have any questions on contacting your legislators, please contact Wes Huffman (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please also share any feedback you receive from your calls with us.
This is important, so please call. Thank you!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The student aid portion of the budget reconciliation legislation that a deeply divided House of Representatives passed late Sunday was completely overshadowed -- in the depressingly partisan debate on the House floor, the reams of national news coverage, and the public’s consciousness -- by the bill’s health care provisions.
But when all the shouting the voting was done, Congress’s Democratic majority had indeed given approval to what supporters, without engaging in hyperbole, characterized as a dramatic reshaping of the federal student loan programs. The legislation (H.R. 4872) would shift all lending from the bank-based Federal Family Education Loan Program to the Direct Loan Program and use $61 billion in savings over 10 years to shore up the Pell Grant Program and for a handful of other education priorities.
Whittled down in recent weeks by budget realities, the student aid legislation is a pale imitation of the version that the Obama administration envisioned early on, and that the House passed last September.
Gone -- due to diminished projections of the savings generated by the loan overhaul and the need to balance out health care spending in the overall bill -- are billions of dollars to reduce the interest rate on students’ loan payments, remake the Perkins Loan Program, and fund President Obama’s American Graduation Initiative, aimed at helping community colleges graduate 5 million more students by 2020.
Also sacrificed to practical realities are most of the Obama administration’s efforts to prod recipients of the new federal money to change their practices, through accountability provisions that would have been part of the American Graduation Initiative and the proposed $2.5 billion College Access and Completion Fund, which has been jettisoned in favor of a smaller $750 million expansion of the existing College Access Challenge Grant Program.
Thanks to a last-minute scramble to find some new money to help community colleges meet exploding demand for enrollment amid state and local budget cuts, the final version of the legislation retains $2 billion to fund a Department of Labor career training program that was created in last year’s economic stimulus bill but never funded. It would direct $2.55 billion over 10 years to historically black, Hispanic-serving, and tribal colleges. And it would provide about $1.5 billion to expand income-based repayment options for student loan borrowers.
While there will surely be disappointment in various quarters about the final contours of the student aid legislation, college and student leaders focused Sunday on what they liked about the bill -- most notably that it would apparently ensure that the government will be able to meet the exploding demand for the Pell Grant Program without taking anything away from recipients now or in the near future.
“Without the funds made available by this legislation, 8 million low- and middle-income students who rely on Pell Grants could see their grants cut to maximum award levels last seen in the late 1980s. Others could see their grants disappear entirely,” the American Council on Education and 29 other higher education groups wrote in a letter Saturday urging Congressional passage of the combined health care/student loan measure.
“In a student aid system that has been de-prioritizing federal grant programs, this bill will remove wasteful and unwarranted middleman subsidies that are currently going to big banks and lenders and direct that money to student grant aid,” Rich Williams, higher education associate for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, said in a prepared statement Sunday. “This investment will provide immediate relief for millions of students who might otherwise abandon their college aspirations or drop out of college altogether when forced to rely on loan debt to pay for it.”
Cited from "Inside Higher Ed" 03/22/10
Friday, December 11, 2009
On February 14th, 2010 Regulation Z of the Higher Education Opportunity Act’s Title X will take effect. Regulation Z consists of three disclosures provided to the borrowers of private education loans at specific intervals of the loan application and approval process.
These disclosures are required for every private education loan a school or lender provides and must contain special HEOA requirements and content. This includes all Institutional and Health Professional Loans, which fall under the Department of Education’s definition of a private education loan.
Most private education loans currently do not contain disclosures of any type. In order for a school or lender to provide these three required disclosures they would have to print and mail them at each interval and then patiently wait for the student’s response. This will waste time, money and valuable resources and it can delay the approval and disbursement process.
ECSI’s Regulation Z Solution will give your school back that valuable time and energy by creating the disclosures automatically during and after the application process, and can save your company costly resources by providing all three disclosures electronically. It is a fully automated and integrated process designed to make it as easy and intuitive as possible for both the student filling it out and the school handling it.
“We are extremely excited to bring this regulation z solution to market, as we feel there is no other company out there that can integrate the required disclosures like ECSI can. We take pride in knowing that our client base can count on us to keep them in compliance and at the forefront of technology” – John Lynch, President / CEO of ECSI
For more information, visit: www.ecsi.net/regulationz
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Most college financial aid officers oppose the Obama administration's plan for expanding but significantly altering the Perkins Loan Program, according to a survey released Wednesday by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. The administration's proposal, unveiled as part of the president's budget blueprint for 2010, would turn the program from one that provides about $1.5 billion in loan funds to students at hundreds of institutions to a broader one that provides about $6 billion to students at many more colleges. But several aspects of the proposal -- including ending the practice of the government paying interest on the loans while borrowers in college, and requiring significant matching funds from colleges -- earned opposition from the aid officers surveyed. Nearly four in five said they preferred the current version of the program over the proposed one.
Monday, June 29, 2009
As Congress begins to write reconciliation legislation, the COHEAO Board of Directors has been working to develop a set of priorities for the Perkins Loan program. The Board has decided on major priorities for the program: 1) retaining as much of the in-school interest benefit as possible; 2) continuing school control over both the distribution of loan funds and in working directly with student borrowers in servicing the loans; 3) making sure existing Perkins institutions are able to continue lending at current levels and that their rights to their institutional funds are preserved.
One of the most student-friendly features of the Perkins Loan Program is the in-school interest subsidy. COHEAO would like to continue to explore the possibility of maintaining as much as possible of the in-school subsidy, even including allowing institutions to provide the funding for such a subsidy through some form of an institutional match.
In the expanded Perkins Loan Program as proposed by President Obama, servicing arrangements would be based on factors such as cost, experience, and customer service. COHEAO believes that schools that wish to service their Perkins portfolio in the same manner as the current Program should be allowed to do so. This will maintain the competitive servicing model and functionalities that exist at the campus level for the existing and expanded Perkins Loan Program. The benefits derived from the interpersonal relationships between the servicers, institutions, and the borrower are a unique attribute of the Perkins Loan Program resulting in minimal cost and great potential benefit to the Federal Government.
COHEAO urges you to call or write your Members of Congress and let them know your views. It is especially important for those of you who have members of the House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee in your state to contact them right away. That Committee is in the process of writing legislation now. To see how to write your member of Congress and for some sample letters, go to www.coheao.org.