Health Care and Student Loans Go Together Like …

What does this mean for the average student?

First of all, the maximum amount awarded by Pell Grants will increase. However, this will not go into effect until the 2013-2014 academic year, meaning many current students who will have graduated by 2013 are ineligible.

Researchers estimate that, with inflation, by 2020 Pell Grants could at a maximum be as much as $5,975 per year. In all, this is only a $435 yearly increase from the current maximum grant amount. The original bill in Congress proposed an increase of nearly $1,000, but the number was pared down to ensure easier passage of health care reform.

Further, the bill stipulates that eventually government loan repayment plans will be set according to a former student’s personal income, as opposed to real-money debt. However, this part of the bill will similarly take many years to implement (starting the 2014-2015 school year), and will more than likely only benefit workers on the very low end of the income scale. The benefit will cap repayments at 10% of discretionary income, as opposed to the current 15% of discretionary income rate. After 20 years of repayment, all federal loans will be forgiven, which is a decrease from the current 25 year limit.

What can you expect to change immediately?

If you receive federal loans, from the next academic year on (officially July 1, 2010), they will be distributed directly from the United States Government—they will no longer be provided by banks or private lenders. Because of this change, the possibilities of lower interest rates are increased, especially for PLUS loan awardees, who are typically graduate students and parents of students. Additionally, approval rates on federal direct loans are historically much higher than bank or middle-man managed federal loans, so families may be more likely to qualify.

Although the bill has been met with praise, there is controversy over the switch; some worry that the bill could cause tens of thousands who work for private lenders to lose their jobs, and many colleges are concerned that they will need to crunch in order to put necessary regulations in place by the July 1, 2010 due date.

{ Ron’s Note }

It’s ironic that the main benefit to students (the increase in Pell Grant money) could have easily been added to the bill without the loss of 30,000 jobs in community banks and non-profit lenders and 2,100 jobs with Sallie Mae. Yep, that’s the estimates on how many people will be losing their jobs. I have to ask myself: Why would a government deeply, hopelessly in debt seek a monopoly on college loans? Could it really be about control rather than about college loans?

It surely isn’t about “savings.” The savings trumpeted by our elected representatives never took into account the costs of administering the program. Once those numbers are plugged in, the deficit grows even larger. But no worries! The government will borrow the money at 2.8 percent and lend it to students at 6.8 percent, spending the spread on the new health care bill and other pet programs. In other words, the government will be overcharging 19 million students! Who knew that students could be a source of NEW government taxes income? With the average student going into debt $25,000, the overcharge looks to be about $1,800.

Remember that overcharge when you realize that certain groups won’t be required to repay these loans. And that the government now controls the lion’s share of most college’s finances. And we all know how the government can interfere with admissions, it the numbers aren’t politically correct.

Remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Sources and more reading on the Health Care Bill:

About the Author: Allie Gray is an Online Marketing Manager for Rasmussen College. Rasmussen is one of the premier colleges in Illinois and one of the nation’s leading online colleges.

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