Mar 17, 2008
Barton Community College, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA)
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Monday, March 17 , 2008
Pennsylvania State University Switches to Direct Loan Program
By Carina Zaragoza Print this Page
Pennsylvania State University Switches to Direct Loan Program
The Pennsylvania State University system announced this week that it will move to the Direct Loan Program. The Direct Loan Program is the funding arm of the U.S. Department of Education and offers Stafford and PLUS loans, among others. The Direct Loan Program is funded by the U.S. Treasury.

Prior to this move, the Penn State system primarily used the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to fund the majority of loans for students. More than 44,000 students in the Penn State system borrow federal loans; 40,800 students attending Penn State schools borrowed federal loans through PHEAA, nearly the entire Penn State student population.

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Department of Education Funding Updates

By Carina Zaragoza

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has begun to accept applications for various grant programs for the upcoming fiscal year. Notices have been made public via financial aid organizations and associations, such as Higher Education Washington Inc. and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Information about institutional grants can be found on the Department of Education website.

First, the DOE has recently announced it will take action to help colleges prepare for emergencies of any and all types. The DOE will be issuing a funding notice to higher education institutions on or near March 17 regarding funding for emergency management programs. The funds are part of the Emergency Management for Higher Education grant program. Officials estimate roughly 18 grants of $300,000 will be awarded per institution. The tentative application deadline for schools will be April 30.

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Brazos to Cut Staff

Brazos Higher Education Service Corporation announced last week that it will lay off 163 employees, or 60% of its staff. Brazos, of Waco, Texas, is the largest nonprofit holder of loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan Program. The layoffs will be completed in stages during the spring and summer of this year. Brazos cited the crisis in the credit markets as the principal reason for its decision to cut staff. "Fallout…is being felt across markets traditionally used by student loan companies to finance lending," said Brazos of the credit crisis. Brazos also indicated that subsidy cuts to student loan lenders made by Congress last year negatively impacted student loan companies.
Columbia University Eliminates Loans for Some Students

Columbia University announced expanded financial aid for students. Students from virtually all economic backgrounds stand to benefit from the new program. Those from families earning up to $60,000 will not be required to contribute to pay for tuition, room and board, and other fees. This amount represents an increase from last year's maximum income, $50,000. Aid will also be expanded for families earning between $60,000 and $100,000, with university grants replacing loans.

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