Special Request, Pell Update, CFPB Wants Your Private Loan Story

Support TICAS: Make a Year-End Donation

The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) is the home to the Project on Student Debt and hosts IBRinfo.org.

This past year student debt and financial aid were in the spotlight as never before, and so was TICAS. From the New York Times' front page to a Senate HELP Committee hearing, TICAS stood up for students, borrowers and taxpayers. With the help of our coalition partners and supporters like you, we spread the word about rising student debt and how Income-Based Repayment can help, fended off extreme threats to Pell Grants, kept risky private student loans on the CFPB's radar screen, and made the case for user-friendly net price calculators. 

As 2011 comes to a close, please consider a tax-deductible donation to support our national and California work in the coming year. Best wishes and happy holidays from all of us at TICAS!

Pell Grants Avoid Most Extreme Cuts, Harmful Eligibility Changes Enacted

Thanks to thousands of you who emailed your members of Congress, last week's final FY2012 appropriations agreement preserved the maximum Pell Grant award and avoided deep cuts proposed earlier this year.  But Pell Grants did not emerge unscathed. The most harmful change is an immediate and retroactive cut to the lifetime Pell Grant limit, from nine years to six. The result: more than 100,000 low-income students -- disproportionately African-American and transfer students, including those near graduation -- will permanently lose their Pell eligibility next year. For more see our statement on the House bill, which applies to the final agreement as well.  

Take Action: The CFPB Wants to Hear from YOU about Private Loans!

The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) wants to hear about your experience with private student loans.  Whether it's two sentences or two pages, the agency is asking what you think of the private student loan market, how and why you got a private loan, and how it is or isn't working for you. For the CFPB's request and how to submit comments, click here - the deadline is January 17, 2012

The CFPB says, "Hearing your stories will help us understand how people make decisions. The goal is to have all the facts as we prioritize what we do to make sure that the market works for students, lenders, and schools." Your input will shape the report and recommendations the CFPB must send to Congress next summer.  You can answer as many or as few of the CFPB's questions as you like, on topics such as:

  • What sources you used to shop around and learn about private loans and lenders, and how helpful those sources were

  • Whether you filled out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and, if not, why you chose private student loans over federal options

  • How well the terms and conditions of the private loans were explained

  • How well your school guided you through the financial aid process

  • How much you relied on other kinds of debt besides student loans to pay for college (e.g., tuition payment plans, credit cards, home equity lines of credit, etc.)

  • If you had trouble paying your private loan because of unemployment, whether your lender offered you a more affordable repayment plan

Sharing your thoughts about private student loans will help the CFPB do its job: protecting consumers from deceptive or unfair loan practices, and making sure people have the information they need to make informed borrowing decisions.  Please tell the CFPB what you think by January 17, 2012.

Income-Based Repayment and Pay As You Earn are two ways to help keep monthly payments affordable based on your income and family size. Visit the Department of Education’s Repayment Estimator to find out what your payments might be.

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