Aug 16, 2007
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Thursday, August 16 , 2007
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Senator Herb Kohl introduces bill to help students remain out of debt

By Nihit Aurora

Predatory lending is the use of unethical lending tactics to keep gullible borrowers in debt as long as possible. Predatory lenders usually target vulnerable groups like students, the elderly, minorities, and people with poor credit records.

This is a widespread practice among mortgage lenders and credit card companies. They flourish by lending to consumers who need more than they can afford. They have a knack for making borrowers believe that the credit they are offering is necessary and affordable.

Recently, U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) introduced a bill called the Student Credit Card Protection Act, which is a measure to help students remain out of debt by making student credit card companies adhere to strict and financially accountable lending practices.

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Cuomo investigates Division I athletic departments

By Amit Agarwal

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has launched investigations to find out whether Division I athletic departments have led athletes and other students to education loan providers in exchange for questionable benefits.

Cuomo sent subpoenas to 39 universities and requested documentation on deals made between their athletic departments and Student Financial Services, Inc., a part of University Financial Services (UFS). The 39 colleges include names such as Auburn University, Ohio University, and Texas Christian University. The attorney general is also investigating team names, mascots, and colors that would make it obvious that the company was the colleges' preferred lender.

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Private Student Loan Transparencies and Improvement Act

The Government Accountability Office's recent study on the private loan industry and a series of investigations of college loan offices has lead Congress to debate a number of bills, including the Private Student Loan Transparencies and Improvement Act. The bill, which is under consideration by the Senate, aims to regulate and monitor student loan providers. Authored by democratic presidential candidate and Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, the bill requires lenders to provide clear disclosures on their interest rates, fees, terms, and deferral options. It also requires lenders to inform students of their eligibilities for federal loans.

Low response to scholarships offered in NJBEST program

A college-savings plan in New Jersey that provides scholarship money is not being fully utilized by many families. According to The Record, only 363 scholarships have been awarded through the plan, which started in 1998. The NJBEST program awards $500 to $1,500 in scholarships to families who have invested a minimum of $1,200 by the time the student enters high school. Though out-of-state students can also invest in the program, only resident families are eligible for scholarships. A reason for the low response to the program is that many families may not know that they have to apply for the scholarship. Another reason may be that eligible students may not be old enough to go to college yet.

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