Mar 26, 2008
Barton Community College, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA)
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Wednesday, March 26 , 2008
No Threat to Federal Student Loan Availability
By Carina Zaragoza Print this Page
No Threat to Federal Student Loan Availability
On March 17, 2008, witnesses testified before the Senate Education Committee regarding the availability of federal student loans. The committee met at Northeastern University in Boston and was called by Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Recent reports of possibly reduced or no funds for the fall semester have prompted Congress to take action.

"We simply cannot allow the problems in the credit markets to prevent our young people from going to college," Kennedy said in his opening statement.

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Report Released on Federal Loan Borrowing Trends

By Carina Zaragoza

The National Center for Education Statistics released a report entitled Trends in Undergraduate Borrowing II: Federal Student Loans in 1995-96, 1999-2000, and 2003-04. The report tracks and examines the changes in student borrowing over several academic years. Christina Chang Wei and Lutz Berkner authored the report. Among the key findings:

1. More Students Are Borrowing.

The number of undergraduate students who borrowed federal student loans rose from 25% in the 1995-1996 academic year to 33% in the 2003-2004 academic year.

2. More Students Are Borrowing Unsubsidized Loans.

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Stafford Loan Limits May Be Raised for Health Profession Students

Reports indicate that the U.S. Department of Education has decided to raise the Stafford Loan limits for medical and other health profession students. Currently, the cumulative amount medical students can borrow is $189,125, but that may be raised to $224,000. The higher loan limit applies only to unsubsidized Stafford Loans. It has not yet been determined whether the new loan limit will be effective July 1, 2008, or July 1, 2009. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings plans to release a Dear Colleague letter with details shortly.
Former Head of Student Finance Corporation Sentenced

Andrew Yao, former head of Student Finance Corporation out of Newark, Delaware, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison. Yao was found guilty of lying to creditors about the nearly $1 million in wire transfers he made before the student loan company collapsed. Yao claimed the monies were used for aircraft maintenance. It was later discovered the money was given to a mistress and used for entertainment. Student Finance Corporation collapsed in 2002.

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