Easier IBR Enrollment
Process in the Works
Last week, the White House issued a Presidential Memorandum that will make it much easier for federal student loan borrowers to enroll in Income-Based Repayment (IBR). By the end of September, you'll be able to electronically transfer your IRS income data directly into the IBR application and submit it online. But people need to know about IBR before they can benefit from this major improvement to a process that can currently take weeks or even months. (For more on the Obama Administration's planned IBR improvements, see the White House's fact sheet.)
In a statement, TICAS praised the planned simplification and said it should also be used to verify annual income information for those already in IBR. We also called on the Obama Administration to do much more to tell struggling borrowers about IBR and it how could make their payments more manageable. According to news reports, about 700,000 people are enrolled in IBR. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that more than five million people are past due on at least one student loan.
If you know people who might benefit from IBR, help spread the word and tell a friend!
Focus on Transparency in Financial Aid Offers
College financial aid offers should be easy for students and families to understand and compare, but too often they're not. Two recent developments highlight a growing sense of urgency to bring more transparency to aid awards and reflect several of TICAS' long-standing recommendations, such as clearly distinguishing grants from loans and emphasizing net price (the full cost minus grants and scholarships).
Last week, the White House announced that 10 colleges and university systems committed to include several crucial and comparable pieces of information about costs, aid, and student outcomes in their financial aid packages for 2013-14 and beyond. And last month, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) introduced the "Understanding the True Cost of College" Act, which would require all colleges to use a standardized, user-friendly financial aid award letter.
See our statement on the White House announcement and learn more about the emerging consensus on what all financial aid offers should include and our specific recommendations at /?p=710 and /sites/default/files/legacy/files/pub/TICAS_award_letters_comments_08-25-11.pdf.