Student Loans Resource Guide
If August is the month when the school year begins, it is also naturally the month when a new wave of student loans is issued. Few these days buy into the notion that school is ever really “free”; still, the details of interest, repayment, and deferment can often be complex enough to cloud understanding of what one has actually signed on for. This guide created by Librarians Jason Ezell and Amanda Youngbar contains resources related to these topics and hopefully helps to clear those clouds.
One of the best ways to start understanding a topic is to get a broad overview. Student Advisor’s Student Loan Guide is one such source giving an overview of the student loan process and serves as an introduction to this topic. FinAid, created by financial aid expert, Mark Kantrowitz, is a widely respected clearinghouse of “information, advice, and tools” to help students make the best choices possible in terms of financing their higher education. This source, then, helps students and their families make decisions which will hopefully reduce the impact of student loan debt beforehand. One resource FinAid provides is a variety of calculators. These can help you determine the amount of money you will need to borrow, but also how much you will be paying back with interest, in the instance of the loan payment calculator.
For many, some school-related debt is inevitable. Equal Justice Works – a “nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice” – provides a collection of free educational debt webinars, including information on under-utilized repayment options such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Income-Based Repayment. Student Loan Borrower Assistance, a project of the National Consumer Law Center, informs borrowers about their options and rights once they have entered repayment. This is a good resource for borrowers who may be experiencing rainy days.
Although Income-Based Repayment was established in 2009 and has been recently improved by the Obama administration, too few student borrowers are aware of the option and how it can help keep their monthly payments manageable. This White House blog post by Megan Slack provides an IBR FAQ, and it also links to a Matt Compton post on President Obama’s Blueprint for College Affordability. For additional information on income-based repayment, see IBR Info, created by Project on Student Debt.
Of course, many have called for wider ranging forgiveness of previous student loan debt. This PBS video report by economics correspondent Paul Solman gives an overview of that argument – from both a pro and con perspective. Default: The Student Loan Documentary, another video, chronicles student borrowers as they struggle with the process of repayment. Robert Applebaum, who has spearheaded the movement for forgiveness of student loan debt, co-founded Student Debt Crisis, a key non-profit committed to “reforming funding for higher education in America.” To find out more about H.R. 4170, the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, follow it at GovTrack.us, a website committing to helping track congressional legislation. Currently, there are already a few instances in which your loans may be forgiven, such as if you are a teacher or a public service worker.
For those who want to dig a little deeper into the subject of student debt, check out The Project on Student Debt. Fact sheets, publications, news, data and research, and advice are provided here. This is less of a practical resource for how to manage student loans and debt and more of a place for researching and consciousness-raising around what has become the path to higher education for many Americans.
Avenue 100 Media Solutions Inc. (2012). Student advisor: Guide to student loans. Retrieved from http://www.studentadvisor.com/guides/guide-to-student-loans
Compton, M. (2012, January 27). Everything you need to know about President Obama’s blueprint for college affordability [web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/01/27/everything-you-need-know-about-president-obamas-blueprint-college-affordability
Equal Justice Works. (2012). Free educational debt webinars. Retrieved from http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/ed-debt/webinars
Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge. Retrieved from http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation
FinAid Page, LLC. (2012). FinAid: Calculators. Retrieved from http://www.finaid.org/calculators/
FinAid Page, LLC. (2012). FinAid: Loan calculator. Retrieved from http://www.finaid.org/calculators/loanpayments.phtml
FinAid Page, LLC. (2012). FinAid: The smart guide to financial aid. Retrieved from http://www.finaid.org/
GovTrack. (2012). H. R. 4170: Student loan forgiveness act of 2012. Retrieved from http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr4170
Institute for College Access & Success. (n.d.). Project on student debt. Retrieved from http://projectonstudentdebt.org/about.vp.html
Institute for College Access & Success. (n. d.). IBR info: An independent, non-profit source of information about new federal student loan payment and forgiveness programs. Retrieved from http://www.ibrinfo.org/
Krotala Films. (n. d.). Default: The student loan documentary. Retrieved from http://www.defaultmovie.com/
National Consumer Law Center. (2012). Student loan borrower assistance: A resource for borrowers, their families, and advocates. Retrieved from http://www.studentloanborrowerassistance.org/
PBS Newshour. (2012, May 31). Student loan debt: To pay or not to pay? . Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/jan-june12/makingsense_05-31.html
Slack, M. (2012, June 7). Income based repayment: Everything you need to know [web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/06/07/income-based-repayment-everything-you-need-know
Student Debt Crisis. (2012). Student debt crisis: Your one stop hub for student debt issues. Retrieved from http://studentdebtcrisis.org/
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