Mar 07, 2008
Barton Community College, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA)
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Friday, March 7 , 2008
Congress Urges Secretary of Education to Take FFELP Loan Action
By Carina Zaragoza Print this Page
Congress Urges Secretary of Education to Take FFELP Loan Action
Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Representative George Miller (D-CA) wrote to Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings urging her to take action to ensure the availability of loans for students. They also stressed the importance of students' receiving their funds in a timely manner and thus expressed their concern over the uncertainty in the student loan industry.

In the letter, dated February 28, Kennedy, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, cited "recent activity in the credit markets" as potentially having a negative impact on "students' ability to access federal student loans." The lawmakers specifically referred to the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and the possibility that lenders will pull out of the program, making scarce the availability of loans to students this fall.

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Survey Tracks College Degrees and Employment Rates

By Carina Zaragoza

The U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released findings from a survey conducted over a 10-year period. The survey, titled Ten Years After College: Comparing the Employment Experiences of 1992-93 Bachelor's Degree Recipients with Academic and Career-Oriented Majors, followed approximately 9,000 bachelor's degree recipients and their subsequent employment rates. The entire report is publicly available in PDF format.

The report looks at the work experiences of these 9,000 graduates, along with their employment stability, industries, and salaries. A primary focus of the report is examining the differences in work experience among graduates with different types of degrees, namely academic degrees and career-oriented majors.

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PHEAA Suspends New Loans

Beginning March 7, 2008, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency will no longer fund new federal loans. The state agency announced this is a temporary suspension and will continue its guaranteeing, origination, and servicing of FFELP loans. The change only applies to the issuing of new FFELP loans with the agency's own funds. In a statement issued February 28, 2008, PHEAA cited the failure of securities auctions as the impetus for the suspension of FFELP loans, but it hopes to resume business as usual if the capital markets stabilize.
Loan Forgiveness Program for Medical Students

Congress recently added a new loan forgiveness program for medical students to the Higher Education Act (HEA). The program was introduced upon the reauthorization of the HEA and seeks to ease medical students' debt, which averages $140,000. However, the new loan forgiveness program sets a limit of $10,000, or $2,000 annually for a maximum of five years. The American Medical Student Association is pleased with the steps being taken to assist medical students but has made it clear forgiveness of $10,000 is not sufficient and more programs are needed.

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