Student Loans

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What A Student Loan Survey Tells Us That We Need To Be Teaching In HS Classrooms

Interesting survey from Student Loan report demonstrates the biggest knowledge gaps that college seniors have about their student loans. Let’s be sure students leave our high school classrooms knowing these key concepts BEFORE they take out student loans (my comments in sub-bullets):

  • 65% of respondents didn’t know that the standard repayment term on their student loans
    • Why this is important: May choose longer repayment terms if they focus only on monthly payment
  • 46% of respondents didn’t know how long of a grace period they had after graduation before making payments
By |June 14th, 2017|Current Events, Research, Student Loans|

What’s The Catch?: Student Loan Forgiveness Or…

What if you were a student loan borrower struggling to make your monthly payment and saw this ad pop up on your computer screen one day:

Or maybe this one: 

Student Loans: You Better Know What You’re Signing Up For!

As your seniors head off to college in the fall, you better arm them with the information they need to succeed financially during and after college. The biggest issue they will deal with in college: Student Loans. They will be required to go through an online “counseling” process which I would describe as “too little, too late” just before their loan is disbursed. I was trying to come up with a fun way (Ok, I might be stretching it here) to get them to review what in industry parlance is known as the “MPN” or Master Promissory Note for their student loans.  It is 7 printed pages long so rather than have them read straight through, how about a Scavenger Hunt where they will review the Note so they can complete this FAQ (frequently asked questions).  Each of the questions below can be answered within the note:

Question: What Are The New Interest Rates on Federal Student Loans?

Answer: 4.45% for federal direct student loans effective July 1, 2017 (up from 3.76% for 2016-17 school year).

Why the increase? Student loan interest rates are now tied to the 10 Year Treasury Bond interest rate.

From Bloomberg:

New undergraduate loans from the Department of Education are due to carry an interest rate of 4.45 percent, up from 3.76 percent for the academic year ending in June. Rates on some graduate loans are set to rise from 5.31 percent to 6 percent, while rates on loans to parents and guardians are due to experience a jump from 6.31 percent to 7 percent.

Question for students:

Article: This Is One Case Where A PLUS Is Not So Positive

WSJ article out today warning of the dangers of Parent PLUS loans. I thought this was particularly pertinent as high school seniors pore over their financial aid award letters before making a May 1st decision. Here’s the lede:

Millions of U.S. parents have taken out loans from the government to help their children pay for college. Now a crushing bill is coming due. Hundreds of thousands have tumbled into delinquency and default. In the process, many have delayed retirement, put off health expenses and lost portions of Social Security checks and tax refunds to their lender, the federal government.

What makes this even more disconcerting is the financial aid “packaging” that often occurs where the PLUS loan becomes the

By |April 24th, 2017|Article, Current Events, Paying for College, Student Loans|

What Do High School Seniors Think About the Financial Aid Process?

It’s April so I thought I would do a temperature check for my AVID class just before we dove into an activity analyzing aid award packages. Here’s the word cloud that came from their individual responses (with some mentor comments sprinkled in which tended to be more on the positive side):

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 12.56.44 AM

Why did I do this?

From March Madness to April Anguish…

Yes, it’s that time of the year..thin envelopes, thick envelopes, cost of attendance, financial aid, subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans and the dreaded PLUS loan plug (for the uninitiated, the Parent PLUS loan is often the way that financial aid offices get their offers to balance out). Here are three activities from our Paying for College unit that I used recently with AVID students at Mountain View High School to lessen the anguish of this process and prepare them to analyze their own award letters: 

By |April 2nd, 2017|Activities, Current Events, Paying for College, Student Loans|

What I Have Been Reading This Week…

Here’s a weekly round-up of articles that caught my attention this week that I thought you would find interesting:

  • Want to find out what it feels like to own a volatile stock? Find out how this investor got emotional by making a $3 trade in this MarketWatch article, “I drove myself crazy by investing $3 in the stock market.”

“Turns out, it doesn’t cost much to drive yourself batty over your investments. For the past week, ever since I broke one of my cardinal investing rules by buying an individual stock, I have experienced pronounced emotional swings over the company’s every tick and trade, feeling accomplished when the price rises and despondent when it falls.”

  • You may have heard about robo-advising to create passive investing portfolios, now the largest fund company in the world is investing in algorithms to make stock picks in actively managed funds. Find out more in this NY Times article “At BlackRock, Machines Are Rising over Managers to Pick Stock,”