The U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday finalized the regulations carrying out President Obama's expansion of the government's most generous income-based repayment program to more federal student loan borrowers.
Starting this December, all federal direct loan borrowers will be able to cap their monthly payments at 10 percent of their discretionary income and have any remaining undergraduate debt forgiven after 20 years of making payments. Borrowers with loans from graduate school would have to make payments for 25 years.
Borrowers who took out federal loans within the past several years have already had access to a repayment program, Pay as You Earn, with virtually identical benefits.
But the Obama administration estimates that the new program, dubbed Revised Pay as You Earn, or REPAYE, will make some five million borrowers newly eligible for capping their payments at 10 percent of their income and receiving forgiveness after as early as 20 years of repayment.
Education Department officials estimated that two million borrowers will end up choosing to enroll in the new program, and they projected that expansion of benefits will cost $15.3 billion over the next 10 years.
Washington State University has announced a new program to help low-income students save money and, officials hope, finish college. Up to 85 low-income students a year will be enrolled in a program in which, if they save $1,000 a year and participate in certain financial literacy programs, they will receive $4,000. The program is based on the theory that some low-income students have difficulty saving money, and that lack of funds can hurt chances of retention.
Submitted by Paul Fain on October 26, 2015 - 3:00am
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the large auditing and professional services company, has created a program to help its new hires pay off their student debt. The company, which hires up to 12,000 recent college graduates each year, will contribute $1,200 per year for up to six years to pay down its new employees' student debt.
The average PWC employee is 28 years old, said Bob Moritz, the company's chairman and senior partner. And student loans are a big problem for many of the company's younger employees, he said, particularly those who are members of minority groups, who tend to have a higher average debt level.
The company will make automatic monthly contributions directly toward its employees' debt. The payments can be applied to both undergraduate and graduate debt.
Moritz said one goal of the new program, in addition to helping employees, is to encourage them to stay with the company longer.
State merit-based scholarships reduce the number of students who major in a math, science or technology field by 6.5 percent and maybe more, according to a new analysis in The Journal of Labor Economics. The article speculates that one reason for this decline may be students' fear of losing eligibility due to grade-point average requirements to keep the scholarships.