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Archive for June, 2009

Good news for students who anticipate using federal Stafford loans this fall as part of their financial aid package. On July 1, the interest rate for new subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduate students will drop to 5.6% from the current rate of 6%. This rate, which applies to loans issued between July 1 and June 30, 2010, will remain in effect for the life of the loan. Subsidized Stafford loans are available for borrowers who demonstrate financial need.

Rates for new unsubsidized Stafford loans, which are available for all students, will remain at 6.8%. However, all Stafford borrowers will get a break on upfront borrower fees beginning on July 1, when the maximum fee that lenders will be permitted to charge on Stafford loans will drop to 1.5% from 2%.

Stafford loans are fixed-rate federal student loans for undergraduate and graduate students attending college at least half-time. For more information on Stafford loans or repayment options, visit studentaid.ed.gov.

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Unemployment is unfortunately rising across the nation, and many affected wage earners are considering going back to college to increase their skills or otherwise redirect their careers. The federal Trade Act is available to help, though it is restricted in its use. By law, the Trade Act extends benefits to students whose qualified educational program falls below a $10,000 cap. For details, please visit: http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact/.

Displaced workers in the Commonwealth can also seek assistance from Virginia Workforce Centers. A list of centers can be found at: http://www.vwn.virginia.gov/onestop/onestop.pdf.

Please be aware that most need-based financial aid is based upon the family’s prior year financial status. If the family is now suffering a loss of income due to job layoffs, the college has the authority to review the student’s current financial status and make adjustments to the FAFSA. This process is called Professional Judgment and may result in increased eligibility for need-based aid, including the federal Pell grant. Students should contact the Financial Aid office at their institution for further information.

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