In an era of rising tuition costs and bureaucratic loan agencies, students are facing more difficulty than ever in getting their tuition paid on time.
Waiting in line at Student Financial Services, Temple student Brandon Paley was faced with the delay of his Stafford and Perkins loans and not having his classes confirmed.
“Apparently, there’s some form I have to still fill out before my loan will be dispersed,” Paley said. “Luckily, I still have a couple weeks before the due date.”
Stafford loans are provided by the federal government and are made available to any student if they fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, attend a university at least part time that participates in the Federal Family Education Loan Program and have not defaulted on any loans previously.
Stafford loans are used because of their low interest rates and availability
to students with or without credit.However, the loans are very limited. Freshmen can only borrow $3,500 a year, while $4,500 is available to sophomores and $5,500 is open to juniors and seniors, according
to the Federal Student Financial Aid Web site.
Making up the difference between
the federal limit and the amount colleges actually charge for tuition can be a daunting challenge.
“I have a Pell Grant and a partial scholarship, but another grant didn’t come through, so I’m going to have to get a Stafford loan to pay the difference,”
said Mike Sinko, a Temple student.
Most private student loans require
a background check. Parents that do not have good credit are frequently
not eligible and neither are those students who have not gained a large credit history.
One option parents have to make up the difference is to apply for a Federal Parent PLUS loan. These loans can provide as much money as a student’s tuition requires, though parents must still undergo a credit check. However, parents with bad credit still have a chance to be approved,
according to the Federal Student
Aid Web site.
“Many lenders will help PLUS loan borrowers address and resolve problems with their credit so that they can gain approval for a PLUS loan for their student,” said Emilie Van Trieste, an administrative coodinator with financial services administrator at Temple.
Fixing one’s credit for loan approval is often not an option when Student Financial Services has a payment
deadline days away.
“I’m already getting money from scholarships, grants, federal and private loans, but I still need more to make tuition,” said Kristopher Kneisler, an undeclared freshman. “I’m trying to get another private loan, but my parents do not have good credit, so I’m trying to find a family member that does.”
The looming fear is that if a bill isn’t paid, a student’s classes could be dropped.
“If a student doesn’t confirm [by paying their bill], their classes will be cancelled and the student will need to reinstate them via OWLnet,” Trieste said.
“Every semester we have registration cancellations because of this.”Such problems for students have been noticed in Washington, where last week, Congress passed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, allowing a gradual increase in Pell Grants to those in need and an interest-rate reduction on Stafford loans.
Travis Gold can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org