New site helps students compare private loans

The student loan application process can hurt a student's credit score.
The student loan application process can hurt a student's credit score.

Students at private, nonprofit colleges and universities in 12 states can use a new online service to find a school loan, avoiding complex web searches that discourage students from finding the best deal.

The Marketplace, a web site launched in August, offers private loan options that show student applicants how much they will be charged before submitting their loan application.

Without the one-stop-shopping site for private school loans, students are left to manage a circuitous route through various sites that make it impossible to compare loans and interest rates.…Read More

ED looks to crack down on misleading college recruiting

Duncan said ED's proposed rules would increase colleges' accountability to students.
Duncan said ED's proposed rules would increase colleges' accountability to students.

Some of the nation’s largest online colleges could be barred from tying recruiters’ pay to the number of students they enroll if the Obama administration’s new list of rules for for-profit institutions becomes federal policy.

The administration’s set of 14 proposed guidelines for for-profit colleges—announced June 16—was created in response to widespread student complaints of deceitful recruiting practices at some of the most profitable institutions.

Many of the proposals aim to ensure that federal aid is distributed only to students who are qualified to take college classes.…Read More

House boosts college aid for students in need

Obama pushed for legislation that would fill a $19 billion Pell Grant shortfall.
Obama pushed for legislation that would fill a $19 billion Pell Grant shortfall.

Riding the coattails of a historic health care vote, the House on March 21 also passed a broad reorganization of college aid that affects millions of students and moves President Barack Obama closer to winning yet another of his top domestic policies.

The bill rewrites a four-decades-old student loan program, eliminating its reliance on private lenders and using the savings to direct $36 billion in new spending to Pell Grants for students in financial need.

In the biggest piece of education legislation since No Child Left Behind nine years ago, the bill also would provide more than $4 billion to historically black colleges and community colleges.…Read More

Groups make renewed push for student loan reform

Some Senate Democrats haven't committed support for SAFRA.
Some Senate Democrats haven't committed support for SAFRA.

Higher education and K-12 activist groups have stepped up their support in recent days for President Obama’s student lending reform legislation, which has stalled in the U.S. Senate while high-ranking Democrats consider passing the reform package with a simple majority vote.

Days after one of Obama’s signature proposals was said to be in trouble on Capitol Hill, reform advocates were energized March 12 by news that Democrats could pass the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) alongside health care legislation through a process known as reconciliation, which doesn’t require 60 votes to avoid a filibuster in the Senate.

The student lending overhaul—pushed in recent weeks by Education Secretary Arne Duncan—would allow the federal government to lend money directly to students, instead of having students go through commercial lenders. Duncan said SAFRA would save taxpayers $87 billion over 10 years by doing away with subsidies to private lending companies, who then tack on interest to student loan payments.…Read More

Duncan pushes back against private lenders

Duncan said he has "a lot of confidence in the Senate leadership to step up" and pass the direct lending bill.
Duncan said he has "a lot of confidence in the Senate leadership to step up" and pass the direct lending bill.

Responding to private lenders’ lobbying efforts against White House plans for direct federal loans, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Feb. 17 that he trusts the U.S. Senate will pass the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) and “end this boondoggle for banks.”

Five months after the U.S. House of Representatives passed SAFRA, senators have not voted on the bill, while private lending companies have organized town-hall style meetings and aired television ads opposing the bill in several states.

In an afternoon conference call with reporters on Feb. 17, Duncan emphasized that there isn’t a “drop dead date” for passage of the direct-lending legislation, and he promised that education officials are “in this for the long haul.”…Read More