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New Report Details College Enrollment, Graduation Rates, Financial Aid

June 5, 2008

by Staff

The National Center for Education Studies (NCES), the primary federal organization in charge of collecting, analyzing and reporting academic information, released a report on Tuesday detailing the latest statistics on college students. Included were college enrollment trends, graduation rates and information about the financial aid received by students who began college after 1999.

According to the report, a total of 18 million undergraduate and graduate school students were enrolled in a college or university during the fall of 2006. Based on analysis of these students, as well as of those who enrolled in a four-year institution in 2000 or a 2-year institution in 2003, it was found that:\r\n
  • 62 percent of college students attended 4-year institutions, 37 percent attended 2-year institutions and 2 percent attended institutions with programs of shorter lengths.
  • \r\n
  • About 58 percent of first-time, full-time bachelor degree seekers completed their degree after six years; only 36 percent graduated after four.
  • \r\n
  • Approximately 50 percent of full-time students seeking a bachelor’s degree at a private, not-for-profit institution graduated within four years; 29 percent of students at public universities completed school by this time.
  • \r\n
  • During the 2005-2006 school year, 75 percent of first-time, full-time degree-seeking students received financial aid in some form (including federal loans)
  • \r\n
  • Of those students receiving financial aid, 28 percent received assistance in the form of a federal grant. The average grant totaled $2,923.
  • \r\n
  • During the 2005-2006 school year, 46 percent of first-time, full-time students who sought a degree took out student loans; of these, 60 percent attended a 4-year, private, non-for profit university and 44 percent attended a 4-year, public institution.
  • \r\n
  • The average public, 4-year institution used about 25 percent of its income for instruction, 12 percent for research and 10 percent for hospitals. Private, 4-year institutions and public, 2-year institutions used about 32 and 39 percent of income respectively for instruction.
  • \r\n


GreenNote to Manage Friend, Community Loans

June 4, 2008

by Staff

GreenNote, a new peer-to-peer lending company has embarked on the business of pairing college students with familiar faces willing to lend them money. Stressing that the company itself is not a lender, GreenNote instead plans to help users obtain student loans from the people they know…officially.

To create a match, GreenNote asks that students contact their family, friends or community to find individuals who are willing to provide them with financial aid. GreenNote’s role in the partnership lies in the paperwork. For a 2% borrower loan fee and a 1% lender management fee, the company sets up a legally binding agreement, complete with tax work, credit bureau reporting and school disbursements. It’s like asking the people you trust for some assistance—with an official contract and interest fees at hand.

As uncomfortable as the concept of formalizing a friend’s aid may sound, it may be a consoling alternative to borrowing from private lenders at bloodcurdling rates. Though more lax than the typical federal or private loan process, GreenNote’s services are similar to those of other lenders.

Borrowers will be paying the standard Federal Stafford Loan 6.8% interest rate, will have the option of deferring payments while in school and will have a six month grace period upon graduating before their first balance is due. Luckily for them, they will not be required to pass a credit check and do not have to worry about the maximum federal loan cutoff. Then again, lenders are likely to know more about them than their credit checks can ever let on.

Mixed Feelings on Future of Student Loans

June 3, 2008

by Staff

Students who took out Stafford Loans shortly before July 1, 2006 may have fumed upon finding that rates would be fixed for future lenders. Those repaying older, variable-rate loans during the 2007-2008 school year were stuck with a 7.22% interest rate (6.62% during in-school or grace periods) while those whose student loans were disbursed after July 1, 2006 were secure knowing their annual rates would not exceed 6.8%. 

Well, the tables may be turning. During the 2008-2009 school year, interest rates on variable loans will be cut to 4.21% (3.61% during in-school and grace periods) while fixed rates will barely budge. For those with fixed loans first disbursed between the July 1, 2006 and June 30, 2008, these changes will be meaningless--their annual 6.8% rate will still apply. Those whose loans are first disbursed this year may get a bit of a break with the new 6.0% fixed rate (which only applies to undergraduates), but that’s a bittersweet consolation when one considers the larger variable rate cuts and the quickly rising college costs.

Luckily, the future is not completely sour for students with fixed-rate loans. Those who are able to hold off borrowing for a few more years may benefit from doing so. That's because interest rates on fixed loans will gradually fall over the next few years. Understandably, not everyone can afford to hold off. This being said, those who can should.

By 2011, the interest rates on fixed loans are expected to drop to 3.4%. Students who can't wait that long can still save money by waiting for at least one more year. Undergraduates who take out a Stafford Loan between July 2009 and July 2010 will be paying a fixed rate of 5.6%. That's certainly better than 6.8% or the upcoming 6.0%.

Emc² Election Multimedia Contest for Cash

June 2, 2008

by Staff

Student Pugwash USA, an organization dedicated to promoting social responsibility and technology, is giving away multiple cash prizes—not to mention conciliatory awards—to individuals who best answer the following question: “If you could send a message on a science, technology, or health issue to the next U.S. president and Congress, what would it be?”

Students interested in the Emc2 Election Multimedia Contest for Cash may respond to the question in a 5-minute audio, a 5-minute video or a 750 word essay. The grand prize winner will receive $2,000, and two runners up will receive $1,000 and $500 respectively. All applicants will receive a Student Pugwash t-shirt or Frisbee (while supplies last).


-Grand Prize: $2,000\r\n-Second Prize: $1,000\r\n-Third Prize: $500


-Applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 25 at the time of submission.\r\n-Applications which endorse a particular candidate for office will not be considered.


July 15, 2008

Required Material

-An audio, video or essay response to the following question: “If you could send a message on a science, technology, or health issue to the next U.S. president and Congress, what would it be?”\r\n-A completed registration form.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search. Once the search is completed, students eligible for the award will find it in their scholarship list.\r\n

Hot Town, Summer in the Classroom: Considering Off-Season Studies

May 30, 2008

by Administrator

Summer and school didn’t couple well in middle school, but now, well, they may not be the worst choice. With the exception of some lucky individuals, most college students spend at least a part of their summer working. Adding a class or two to one’s schedule won’t ruin what wasn’t paradise in the first place. While summer classes do require additional work, they are a sensible option for many. Here are some reasons why off-season classes may be worth the effort:

  • Burnout among college students is an overly familiar complaint during the school year. Students who lessen their yearly grind by taking just one or two classes in the summer may find their nerves less worn, their social life more vibrant and their remaining classes more enjoyable when the fall semester rolls around.
  • Grades are much more difficult to maintain when students are overwhelmed by a large number of classes. With fewer assignments to take care of, those who pick up a new class will have more time throughout the year to concentrate on all subjects.
  • Learning is an important component of college. Classes are certainly stepping stones to a future career, but they should also be, to some extent, enjoyable. Many students select their majors based on interests, but too much work can take the enjoyment out of learning new things. A more relaxed approach to classes during the year will allow students to retain their knowledge and enjoy the process of acquiring it.
  • Tuition is becoming an increasingly heavy burden on college students and their families. By taking a few summer classes, students may be eligible to graduate earlier than expected. Yes, summer school is not free, but staying in college for an additional semester because you are one class short of graduation can be frustrating. More importantly, completing school more quickly will allow students who struggle financially to enter the job force earlier. While this may not be the optimum option for many, students who deal with heavy debt can benefit from a full-time income.


Posted Under:

College Costs , College Culture

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

May 29, 2008

by Administrator

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a form of federal student aid that does not need to be repaid. It is awarded to students by colleges and universities, and a mixture of federal and school funds is used to pay for the program. As FSEOG awards are based on financial need, students interested in obtaining this form of financial aid will have to complete a FAFSA and have their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculated. A standard federal formula will be used to determine a student’s financial need, but schools will have a large degree of leverage over how much each student will receive.

To obtain the FSEOG, a student must attend one of the approximately 4,000 colleges and universities that participate in the federal program.  Schools that take part in the FSEOG program receive grant money from the government but must still contribute 25 percent of the funds.

Individual colleges and universities determine how much grant money each student will receives based on fund availability, the time a student submits their FAFSA (earlier is better) and the student’s level of need. The yearly awards may vary from $100 to $4,000 per year, and those who were eligible for Pell Grants will be considered first.

If a student is awarded an FSEOG, the school may pay them directly, credit their school account or both. Depending on the school’s term system, students may be paid each semester, trimester or quarter. Regardless of the institutions set course timeline, the money must be paid in at least two installments.


Posted Under:

College Grants , FAFSA , Financial Aid

Student Lenders Reconsider Leaving Federal Program

May 28, 2008

by Administrator

Weighed down by an economic downturn and a cut in federal subsidies, student lenders have been lining up at the FFEL exit sign for months. But if the past two days are a sign of what’s to come, many are reconsidering their departure. On Wednesday, Margaret Spellings sent a letter to numerous student lenders pledging the Department of the Treasury’s support in helping them get back on their feet.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Department of Education’s plan to purchase loans student lenders have trouble selling had three student lenders declaring their plans to return within two days. Though the funds are meant to be a temporary, one-year solution to the student loan crunch, the decision was enough to convince NorthStar, the Brazos Group and Graduate Leverage to return to the FFEL program.

"Many details still need to be worked out, and we will share those as they become available. But the good news is we’re back in the federal student loan business, and students and families will have more loan options for the upcoming year,” stated NorthStar’s Chief Executive Taige Thornton on the company website.

The security now provided by the federal government may be enough to lure more FFEL student lenders back into the business. It may also prove incentive enough for student lenders to relax the increasingly tight criteria used to judge potential borrowers. While the credit crunch is certainly not over, the current federal aid contributions may prove sufficient in convincing some, if not most, lenders to return to the workforce.

Comments Education Scholarship

May 27, 2008

by Administrator

As a means of promoting diversity and developing talent, has created a new set of scholarships for high school students and undergraduate students. The “Fund Your Future” Area of Study Scholarships consist of the Resolve to Evolve Scholarship and thirteen $1,000 awards to be granted to students who pursue a postsecondary education in one of thirteen designated fields and 185 related majors.

Included is the College Education Scholarship, an award for students who plan to or are already majoring in the Education and related majors. Finding money for college is not easy. By providing financial aid to education majors, we hope to produce another class of individuals who can use their knowledge to help future scholars.

If you’re interested in applying for this essay scholarship, respond to the following question in 250 to 350 words (entries that fall outside of this word range will be disqualified): “What has influenced your decision to pursue a career in education?”


  1. Applicant must be a registered user. Creating an account is simple and free of charge
  2. Applicant must be a U.S. citizen
  3. Applicant must be undergraduate student or a high school senior who plans to enroll in a college or university in the coming fall
  4. Applicant must have indicated an interest in one of the following majors: Child Care/Education, Education, Health Education, Music Education, Special Education

Deadline: August 30, 2008

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search. Once the search is completed, students eligible for the award will find it in their scholarship list.


Senate Passes Bill Boosting Veteran College Aid

May 23, 2008

by Staff

Following a controversial House tactic for approving only a part of their veteran tuition bill, the Senate today agreed upon their bill in whole. Based on the Senate version, veterans who have served in the military for a minimum of three years following the September 11 attacks would receive enough financial assistance to cover tuition at the most expensive public college or university in their state. A monthly stipend to be used for housing costs would also be provided for eligible veterans. A more divisive bill amendment—one that would set aside billions for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars—was approved by Senate but denied by the House. Rather than accept the bill in its entirety, the House decided to break the draft into three parts, voting only against the war funding portion.

Complaining that they were duped into believing the government would pay for an entire education, numerous veterans felt that the funds they received were insufficient to cover much of their college needs. The original G.I. Bill of Rights, a law created after WWII, provided troops with enough funds to complete their degree. Though financial appropriations were periodically increased, the money they receive no longer pays for all or most of the average student’s postsecondary education.

To pass the veteran tuition bill, the Senate and House will have to first hash out their differences and send a unified version to the president. Both requirements may prove difficult. Even if both chambers compromise on their ideas, the bill will have to be approved by President Bush who publicly stated that he would not support federal student aid exceeding his $108 billion cap. He was quoted by the AP as saying, “I will work with Congress on these veterans' benefits .... But the $108 billion is $108 billion.”


Department of Education Extends Temporary Aid to Student Lenders

May 22, 2008

by Staff

Following talks of purchasing FFEL loans and using a lender of last resort program to ensure student access to federal college funds, the Department of Education officially agreed on a temporary bail-out plan. For the next year, the Department has agreed to purchase loans federally subsidized student lenders have trouble selling at a profitable rate.

The credit crunch, caused in part by rising default rates and a decrease in federal student aid offered to student lenders, has caused about 80 lenders to leave the student market, reported the Los Angeles Times. Even the most important name in the market, student lender giant Sallie Mae, has threatened to pull out of the FFEL business. Attempting to ease fears that students loans would be difficult to secure, the Department of Education has been working with Congress on a regular basis to establish a quick and effective alternative.

The most recent announcement lays out an number of methods for ameliorating family and lender fears—at least temporarily. In a letter sent to Chief Executive Officers of student loan companies, Margaret Spellings promised that by July 1, 2009, the Department would purchase FFEL loans originated for the 2008-2009 school year. “Many lenders today do not have access to funds at a cost that justifies originating new loans. Our plan is designed to provide viability in the marketplace for lenders who step up and make loans in this difficult environment,” she stated.

To further assure that all students will have access to loans, the Department has agreed to put into play the Lender of Last Resort Program (LLR) which will be used to lend money to students who have trouble securing finances from weary lenders. Schools that choose to opt for the Direct Loan Program, a lesser used school loan program wherein students borrow directly from the government rather than from federally subsidized lenders, will also receive aid through a $15 billion boost in available funds. “This program should ensure that the market works for students needing loans this school year,” said Secretary Paulson of the Treasury.


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