There has been a lot of talk in the news recently about the national student loan debt. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the total amount of student loan debt is now more than the total amount of credit card debt, and with the cost of attending college for four years growing; the amount of student loan debt is only expected to get larger. So, if you are having trouble paying down your loans or are looking at taking some out for college, here are a few sites you may wish to visit.
If you already have student loans:
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has created a student debt repayment assistant that was designed to help those with student debt learn about their options.
Complaints about your loans?
If you have a complaint about a student loan company, you may file that complaint with a government agency which will submit your complaint to the company and request a response.
For loans from the federal government: https://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OIG/englishhotlineform.cfm
For loans from private organizations/companies: https://help.consumerfinance.gov/app/studentloan/ask
For high school students looking to finance their college education:
The U.S. Department of Education has a college prep checklist you can use to find out what you need to do to prep for college. Find the checklist at: http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/checklist.jsp
The U.S. Department of Education also has several links where you may be able to find other sources for aid to help pay for college. To view the other sources, go to: http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/othersources.jsp
Federal Pell Grants are another source for potential aid. Unlike student loans, pell grants do not have to be repaid. For more information on pell grants, visit: http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/PellGrants.jsp
It seems that one of the biggest problems, when it relates to student loans, is that the student is unaware of or doesn’t understand the loan terms. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau along with the US Department of Education are working together to come up with a model information sheet that schools would be able to present to potential students so that they understand what they are getting into when they get financial aid. You can see a sample of this sheet at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/students/knowbeforeyouowe/
Consumer Reports has also developed some tips on “How to Graduate with Less Student Debt”. You can view their tips here: http://defendyourdollars.org/Low-CostWaystoPayforCollege.pdf
As has always been the case, scholarships are a great way to help pay for your college education. The US Department of Education has put together a list of scholarship opportunities available. You can search by keyword at www.studentaid.ed.gov/scholarship.
Your BBB also has a scholarship opportunity. The Tri-State Better Business Bureau Student of Integrity Scholarship is available for seniors in the 2012-2013 academic year in our 18-county service area. This is the BBB’s centennial year, and in celebration of that fact, we have increased the scholarship amounts this year. The first place winner of our essay contest will receive a $5000 scholarship to the school of his or her choice and the two runners-up will each receive a $2500 to the school of their choice. We will begin taking applications on September 1. All applications are due by October 15th. For more information on the scholarship or to download an application, visit http://evansville.bbb.org/scholarship/.