Better Financial Aid Letters

Starting in the 2013-2014 school year, colleges have decided to send out financial aid packages that would “estimate the monthly payments a student would have to make after graduation to repay any federal loans.” This is terrific, and I wish I had been given the same information before going to college.

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6 Comments / Post A Comment

How hard is that to do, really? Even if you do it by year/semester, you can say “This is how much the monthly payments on this loan will be. In addition to your other outstanding loans, the total is now X.” Along with some boilerplate on how you can reduce this through IBR, etc.

Mike Dang (#2)

@stuffisthings Oh, it’s not hard, if you put it that way. But for the Logans of the world who likes things as clear as simple as possible, it’s a great thing.

MuffyStJohn (#280)

@stuffisthings While it’s not difficult logistically, being honest about the actual cost of an education is probably very hard for these colleges. They’ve been getting by on being vague and unclear with 17 year olds about the real costs and real prospects for a long, long time. This is a really awesome step in the right direction.

Bettytron (#111)

@stuffisthings: Plus, until repayment starts after graduation, it’s hard to get a clear idea of how long a repayment plan you’ll be eligible for, whether you’ll be able to consolidate for a lower interest loan or not, and so on. My solution at 17 and 18 was to not think about it because it was very stressful and I was just excited to have gotten into a good school, hoping that its status and opportunities post-graduation would outweigh the debt I was incurring. I definitely could have use some RealTalk like this.

Sarah H. (#408)

This is really, really good. When I enrolled in college, honest to god, I didn’t understand that the loans were taken out in my name. I consider myself an intelligent and informed person, but I just had no idea; I got a letter that listed the financial parts, I saw that enough had been allocated to cover my costs and went on my way.

Seventeen-year olds are just not informed enough to understand grants and loans and repayment, and I think colleges/universities/lenders have taken advantage of that for a long time.

Meaghano (#529)

I also which I somehow understood the value of money when I was 18 years old. Even if someone told me I’d be paying $178 a month for 10 years, I’m not sure I would have really comprehended that. Also the whole, “Oh, even though that’s what I make in a month working in the dining hall, I’m sure that will be a pittance to Future-Me!”

But yeah, still progress!

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