The Higher Education Opportunity Act was enacted on Aug. 14, 2008. It is a reauthorization of the original Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, back when Lyndon Johnson was President. The Act was created to help students pay for college by creating scholarships, increasing federal money given to universities, and giving out low-interest loans. The original Act also installed the Pell Grant, an award that does not require repayment. The subsequent reauthorizations of the HEA have amended additional programs, policies, and financial information.
One of the amendments in the 2008 reauthorization is Title X, or the “Private Student Loan Transparency and Improvement Act of 2008.” This section lays out information directed at private lenders and involves new rules for receiving and being approved for a private student loan.
Before you sign a promissory note for a loan, institutions must give you counseling about how to pay back your loan. The information includes repayment options, the average debt of students who attended the school, a sample monthly repayment plan, the average starting salaries of graduates in specific fields, and the consequences if you default on a payment. This information is vital in your budgeting plans once you graduate because legal action could take place if you don’t pay your student loans back in time.
Institutions must also give information about preferred lenders to students who wish to apply for a loan to attend college. This information includes a list of at least three lenders unaffiliated with the institution, reasons why these lenders have been included and the student’s right to choose other lenders, the lenders’ loan terms and donations they have given to the institution, and disclosure that the lenders listed have been chosen on the basis of the benefits they provide to their borrowers. Institutions that accept private loans must also make lender information available to Congress. This information allows low-income students a fairer chance to obtain loans and also prevent lenders from applying unfair interest rates to loans.
As a student, there are a few forms you will receive and/or fill out. First, you will get an application and solicitation disclosure that gives a range of possible interest rates and methods of repayment. Next, you must fill out a self-certification form if you wish to acquire private loans for college. When you fill this out, you will be required to provide information, such as cost of attending the college or university and the estimated amount of the cost covered by the loan. The third form is loan approval disclosure, which gives the details of the specific loan you have chosen, as well as the interest rate and repayment plan. The final form is the final disclosure, in which you review the loan information and are given three business days to accept or decline the loan.
As long as you get all of this information, you will be better educated and informed on how to pay for college, and you will also be better prepared to pay back the debt once you graduate.
A summary of the Higher Education Opportunity Act can be found at www.cga.ct.gov/2008/rpt/2008-R-0470.htm.
He played clarinet for the Marching Tar Heels in 2005 and 2006. He also volunteered for STV, the student-run television station at UNC-Chapel Hill, in the spring of 2010. He shot video, wrote scripts, and acted for “Off the Cuff,” UNC’s longest running sketch comedy show. He has the rare distinction of having lived in a dorm all four years of his undergraduate college career. He was also on Franklin Street on the night of April 4, 2009. His future plans are to pursue a master’s degree in journalism and to one day work for the media as a sports journalist or broadcaster.
Being one of eight children, David realizes finance is an important topic to everyone, regardless of his/her knowledge of the subject. His interests are in personal finance, budgeting, and savings.
In his spare time, David enjoys watching sports and standup comedy, as well as doing crossword puzzles and writing in the first person. He also thoroughly enjoys trivia and, one day, hopes to participate on the game show Jeopardy!, where he will try to break Ken Jennings’ 74-game win streak.