Important New Resources for Borrowers
We've been getting a lot of phone calls and e-mails lately.
Some of the calls are from borrowers asking about the two new programs that Congress enacted last year: Income Based Repayment (IBR) and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The callers want to know how the programs work, if they will qualify, what loans are covered, and what steps they can take now. Perhaps the question we hear most often is: When will more information be available?
To address these questions, we have developed a new web-based resource, IBRinfo.org. The site explains the programs and will be updated as new information becomes available. In addition, users have the option of registering their email addresses to get updates on important developments. (We will continue to send updates to this Project on Student Debt list, but if you are particularly interested in IBR, you may want to register at IBRinfo.org as well.) A growing list of partner organizations is committed to spreading the word about IBRinfo to a wide audience including students, parents, school counselors, college administrators, nonprofit sector workers, and teachers.
It will take a while before the U.S. Department of Education has all of the regulations for these programs written, and the systems up and running. Our goal is to help fill the information gap so that borrowers can make the most of the new benefits when they become available next year.
The Real Story on Student Loans and the Credit Squeeze
The other calls have been from reporters. They want to know whether the credit crunch spawned by the mortgage crisis will make it more difficult to get student loans this fall. In short, our answer is, No, there's no reason to expect major problems. Our analysis of the situation is that some students (no more than five percent) will have a harder time finding private (non-federal) loans because they do not have good credit records. For them (and for other families who want to know more about their borrowing options), we have produced a new one-page tip sheet: Student Loan Options in a Tight Credit Market.