TASFAA Community Blog

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  • 10 Aug 2011 3:18 PM | Deleted user

    Borrower boot camp: Get your graduates in repayment shape with these five tips by Doug Savage, TG Senior Regional Account Executive

    Say you had the chance to send next semester’s graduates through a “basic training” in loan repayment undefined a regimen that taught them not only the essentials of responsible repayment, but offered tips on safeguarding their finances in a tough economy. What would you include in the course? How would you help borrowers focus on lean living, building financial muscle, and preparing for the endurance test that is, in essence, repayment?

    Here is an “exercise plan” designed to suggest to borrowers a successful path to loan repayment. You could include many things in such a plan; this version offers just an example. Consider adapting these suggestions for your own campus needs, using the information as a supplement to exit counseling, or  including it in future communications by mail or email.

    • ·         Build your budget muscle undefined Strong, well-planned budgets do the heavy lifting for short- and long-term fiscal needs. To make sure income is put to “healthy” use, borrowers will need to establish a budget that takes adversity into consideration undefined a lay-off or prolonged job hunt, for example. There are numerous online calculators and off-the-shelf personal finance software applications that make creating and using a budget simpler. The more borrowers can anticipate and plan for their expenses in a budget undefined and adhere to budget requirements with the occasional splurge as a reward undefined the better off they’ll be.
    • ·         Watch those spending calories undefined The temptation after getting a job and jumping several income brackets is to overindulge. Graduates used to a student’s Spartan existence may want to upgrade lifestyles without preparation; that is, without setting a spending plan. Instead of buying heedlessly, which can leave borrowers vulnerable to credit problems, they should devise a simple spending plan of purchases matched to income “calories” that takes into account long-term life goals.  Such a plan can help borrowers cut unnecessary expenses and focus on saving.
    • ·         Track loan “weight” via NSLDS undefined For a “weight scale” view of where borrowers stand with regard to repayment, the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) website (http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/) is invaluable. The site won’t be up-to-the-minute with loan amounts and statuses undefined for that, borrowers will have to contact individual servicers. But the site does offer a central place to track loan calories burned and find contact information for all loan holders. The site can be especially useful for borrowers with split loans.
    • ·         Set a long-distance goal with a repayment plan undefined Half the battle with any lengthy endeavor like repayment is setting a goal that is appropriate given need and circumstance. The standard repayment plan is not always the best for some borrowers, given dramatic changes in income or a period of time without employment. In such cases, borrowers may do well to consider Income-Based Repayment or another plan that takes into account fluctuations in salary.
    • ·         Talk to your repayment coaches, a.k.a., servicers and guarantors undefined Servicers and guarantors can offer guidance and information to borrowers in tough financial straits. They can also connect borrowers to such repayment options as forbearance and deferment, and explain the pros and cons of loan consolidation.

  • 02 Aug 2011 11:55 AM | Anonymous

    On the evening of August 1, 2011, the U. S. House of Representatives passed the Budget Control Act of 2011.  The bill has been sent to the Senate, which is expected to pass the bill and forward to the President for signing.  It will prevent the United States from defaulting on its loan obligations and raise the debt ceiling.  Under the bill, discretionary spending will be reduced by $1 trillion over the next 10 years.  The debt ceiling will be raised in two steps:  $400 billion immediately following Presidential certification that the debt is within $100 billion of the ceiling and additional borrowing is required, with a second increase of $500 billion subject to the same conditions, but subject to a joint Congressional resolution. 

    Impact on Student Aid

    • 1.      Provides additional funding of $17 billion for the Pell Grant Program over the next two years.  This covers the current $5.7 billion shortfall and the $11 billion shortfall projected for next year.  Pell would be covered for FY 2012 and FY 2013, as it is a forward funded program.
    • 2.      In order to generate funding for the Pell Grant increase, the subsidized interest for graduate students in the federal Stafford Loan Program would be eliminated beginning with July 1, 2012.
    • 3.      The repayment incentives in the federal Direct Loan Program would also be eliminated, except for the auto-debit incentive.

    For the Future

    The bill calls for the creation of a 12-member Joint Committee to report legislation by November 23, 2011 that would propose to reduce the deficit by an additional $1.5 trillion through 2021.  The Committee would be composed of six Democrats and six Republicans coming in equal numbers from the House and the Senate.  Although other programs of student financial aid were not immediately impacted, there is an opportunity for future reductions in programs based on where the cuts are taken.  

  • 28 Jul 2011 7:53 AM | Anonymous
    As TASFAA President, I sit on the TSAC Board as a voting member. The Board met this past week to review the new lottery changes that needed to be written into the lottery policies and procedures. Quick and short meeting and will be looking forward to meeting again over the new few months as TSAC develops their business plan for the ever changing marketplace.

    Funny thing happened to me the other day. I was working in my office and one of my 'duties' is to pop popcorn for the office - we have a popcorn machine and it gives staff something to munch on in between phone calls and students. We had an angry parent up front and I wheeled the popcorn machine out of my office (for fire safety it cannot be popped in common areas) I took some up front to the receptionist just about the time the parent said she wanted to speak to the Director.

    I asked her what I could do to assist her, she looked at me and the popcorn I was delivering and said "If I want popcorn I will call you, otherwise let me speak to the Director!". I gave the receptionist a knowing wink and told her to escort her to the Director's office and that he would be with her momentarily. I finished delivering popcorn and walked into my office sat down handed the mother a bag of popcorn and said" Hi I am the Director, how can I help you?." She was embarrassed and gave a nervous laugh and I chuckled as well and we worked out her issue over popcorn.

    Lesson for me was, never underestimate the power of a little carbohydrate and a laugh! (I need more of the latter personally!)

    Have a great rest of July and look forward to start of classes in August for most of you!

    Be blessed,

    Lester
  • 25 Jul 2011 8:04 AM | Anonymous

    SAVE PELL: On July 25 supporters across the country will band together for 'Save Pell Day,' an online day of action to petition lawmakers to protect the Federal Pell Grant program. If Congress reduces funding for Pell Grants in the 2012 budget, it would cut awards for the nation's neediest students in 2012-13.

    Learn more and 'Like' the Save Pell Facebook community page today.

    http://www.facebook.com/savepell?ref=ts&sk=wall

  • 14 Jul 2011 8:51 AM | Anonymous
    I'm sure many of you are getting those final forms signed and verifications completed before you head to Boston for NASFAA. If you will be attending I hope to see you there (catch me in the hotel lobby watching the Women's World Cup game on Sunday - GO USA!!!!).

    If you are not able to attend, please know that we will bring back all the information provided and share with you as we put together our Fall Training Series and Spring Conference. Speaking of Spring Conference~ conference chair and member at large Celena Tuloss gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Carrigan. Congrats to Scott and Celena!

    Safe travels for wherever you summer takes you.

    Lester
  • 11 Jul 2011 5:51 AM | Anonymous
    TASFAA Executive Board convened this past Friday at Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin. Some of the Board highlights were:

    *2011/12 Budget Passed
    *Blog was created
    *Legislative Update - will be posted to website along with minutes
    * Lottery Update - will be posted as well
    * Fall training workshops were discussed - more info to come

    We had a great game of "Get to Know" you BINGO and we thanked those on the 2010/11 Board who would not be returning.

    On a personal note, I said goodbye to a colleague and friend this past meeting. Rick Taphorn, instrumental in getting our new site up and running, but more for just being a friend. Rick has accepted a job in St. Louis and will be leaving TASFAA at the end of the summer. Rick is at Bryan College for a few more weeks, drop him a line to say thank you for all he has done at TASFAA! We'll miss you my friend! WHO DEY!

    Check back often for blog updates from all your Board members and if you are interested in posting a blog comment - please contact Debbie Nuchols, TASFAA Publicty/Public Relations Chair.

    Peace!

    Lester McKenzie
    TASFAA President
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