The Financial Aid Office is proud to present “Whats New” as a helpful resource to bring you the tools to educate you with financial literacy and the fundamentals of smart financial goals and to further help you in all aspects of your life to build a healthier financial future. “What’s New” page will be up-dated frequently, so please visit this page often.
Congratulations to all of our incoming new students! The Financial Aid Office looks forward to serving you while you are here over the next few years and beyond. We feel that this site will be particularly helpful to you as you navigate through the financial aid process, budgeting and repayment strategies!
Understanding Financial Aid and Managing your Loans – Presented by The Office of Financial Aid
To All of our WesternU Students,
There are many companies currently trying to scam students into signing-up for their services to help with repayment, consolidation and overall student debt relief. Please be very careful to NOT sign-up with these companies as they will charge you a fee for their services. These services are always FREE from your lender/servicer; students should never have to pay a fee for these types of services!
CFPB Consumer Advisory—The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has published a description of actions they’ve taken to stop student loan debt relief scams that attempt to trick borrowers into paying upfront fees for federal loan benefits. The CFPB advisory includes a list of warning signs borrowers should watch for, how to understand options and get help, and how to submit a formal complaint.
What you should do if you are VICTIMIZED –
1) If funds are being (or will be) automatically withdrawn from your checking/savings account, you need to immediately notify your banking institution of the unauthorized/fraudulent activity from “said” company. This will put a ‘fraud alert’ on your account, thus preventing this activity to continue.
2) If you are in the process of signing final documents, withdraw the request. If final documents have been signed, withdraw the request.
3) Immediately change your FSA ID and/or Password to prevent “said” company from accessing the National Student Loan Data Base data.
4) Notify your federal loan servicer of the situation, so they may place the necessary ‘flags’/’comments’ to your student account.
5) Contact the Ombudsman and/or the Consumer Protection Safety Bureau and file a complaint against “said” company.
6) Stay a member of “SALT”. http://www.westernu.edu/salt/
- SALT™ was created by the American Student Assistance®(ASA), a nonprofit with 50+years of experience helping millions of students make better decision about paying for and paying back the cost of their education. WesternU students who sign up with SALT™ will have FREE additional resources regarding educational debt while in school, during the repayment phase and beyond.
7) Stay connected with WesternU through the Alumni Office. The Financial Aid Office will post or send out updates to all students concerning matters such as these and other important information as it becomes available. http://www.westernu.edu/alumni/alumni-welcome/
Please also read the below guide provided by MoneyGeek. This guide is intended to educate individuals on how to protect from service errors and illegalities.
Please feel free to reach out to the Financial Aid Office with any questions or concerns you may have regarding any type of questionable correspondence you may receive.
Changes that were made to Federal Student Aid (as of 2017)
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be available as early as October 1, of each year. Western University will begin processing in January and have awards available by mid-April. This permanent change is coined the term “Early FAFSA” by the Department of Education.
Additionally, the income used on the FAFSA will be from two years prior to the application year, referred to as “Prior-Prior Year” (PPY), rather than only one year prior to the application year.
Check out this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNv7vRmczF4. (presented by the National Association for Colleges Admissions Counseling, NACAC)
Dear WesternU Students,
Please see the attached important flyer from the Internal Revenue Service (link attached). We think this might be helpful information to our students regarding tax credits. Please see your tax professional if you have any questions.
Sequestration – What is it and how does it affect student Financial Aid?
Sequestration, sometimes called the sequester, is a process that automatically cuts the federal budget across most departments and agencies.
The Direct Loan Program is affected by sequestration in that loan fees are charged to Direct Loan borrowers. The fees can change annually.
Repaying Your Student Loans (click here)
This is a comprehensive document that will help guide you through your repayment options and what you should do before you graduate. The site also contains many repayment calculators for you to explore your options with the different repayment plans available.
Check this site out!
“Get a FREE Hospital Profile”. Go to this link http://www.ahadataviewer.com/# and then click on “Get a FREE Hospital Profile”. Enter the Hospital name and click download and then open. Students can see if the hospital would qualify for PSLF!
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Guide
Please check out the Income-Driven Repayment Plans & Public Service Loan Forgiveness power point presentation. This information is presented by Federal Student Aid an office of the Department of Education.
NEW! Loan Servicing Information – Electronic Income-Based Repayment Application on StudentLoans.gov Website
The Department of Education has made available the Electronic Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Application on the StudentLoans.gov website. The Electronic IBR Application streamlines the application process for the majority of borrowers who choose to repay their eligible William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program and / or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans under the IBR Plan.
Federal Student Aid – website is a fantastic resource for students!
The Department of Education has consolidated content from three student websites into one, the new website is www.StudentAid.gov . Please check it out! This is a very informative site for prospective, new, and continuing students.
Western University’s Financial Aid office and Alumni Relations has teamed up with SALTSM, to provide education debt management services to WesternU students and alumni. SALT is created by American Student Assistance®, a 56-year-old nonprofit organization and has been a leading service provider in student loans since 1956. They provide education and guidance to student loan borrowers throughout a borrower’s entire loan experience.
SALT is a multi-faceted program that provides financial tools and services that will assist our students and alumni in better understanding their student loans. SALT provides a secure, web-based dashboard that enables students and alumni not only to see and manage their personal education loans in one place, but also provides them with information on the cost and benefits of various repayment options. Additionally, students and alumni will have access to personal education debt counseling services with trained ASA counselors.
SALT is a membership program and is a FREE service to our students.
CHECK YOUR EMAIL & JOIN AT SALTMONEY.ORG
To sign up for SALT today please go to: https://www.saltmoney.org/register/
Did You Know…
(An excerpt from Your Money column By Sandra Block formerly with USA Today- first published in 2012)
Lenders are sweetening terms of their private student loans because those are the only types of student loans they can offer any more. In the past, student lenders earned healthy profits by issuing federally guaranteed student loans. That ended last year, when Congress adopted legislation eliminating the role of private lenders in the federal student loan program. All federal student loans are now issued through the Department of Education’s Direct Loan program.
But while some private loan rates look appealing, you should never sign up for one until you’ve maxed out on federal student loans. And even then, you should scrutinize the terms of the loan contract before you borrow. Here’s why:
Your interest rate could rise. Almost all private student loans have variable interest rates that are tied to an index, such as the prime rate or the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) index. That means there’s a good chance that the rate you start with will increase before you repay the loan — and if interest rates soar, it could rise significantly.
•You’ll probably need a co-signer. Unless you have excellent credit, you’ll need a co-signer to get the lowest interest rates on private loans. This is a serious responsibility: If the borrower can’t pay, the co-signer is on the hook for the debt. Federal student loans are available for all full-time students, regardless of credit history.
•Private student loans have less-flexible repayment terms than federal student loans. If you lose your job while you’re repaying a federal student loan, the government is required to allow you to temporarily suspend payments on the loan. Some private lenders offer forbearance or interest-only payments to borrowers who are experiencing economic hardship, but that’s voluntary, says Deanne Loonin, director of the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance project. “You get whatever the lender chooses to give you,” she says. “There’s no law that requires certain kinds of relief.”
•A late payment could cause you a world of hurt. Most federal student loans aren’t considered in default until the borrower has missed payments for nine months. The default trigger for private loans varies, depending on the contract, but some lenders will declare you in default after one missed payment, Loonin says.
If you default on a student loan, lots of bad things will happen: The entire amount will come due, you’ll probably start getting calls from collection agencies, and your credit score will be ruined.
Even if a late payment doesn’t trigger default, your lender could boost your interest rate, according to Student Lending Analytics, a research firm.
•Severe disability may not release you from your loan obligation. Borrowers with federal student loans who become severely disabled have the right to apply to have their loans permanently discharged. Some private lenders will discharge loans for borrowers who are disabled, but they’re not required by law to do so.
•Death may not end your loan obligation, either. Federal student loans are typically discharged if the borrower dies before the loan is paid off. Co-signers of private loans, however, could be held responsible for payments, depending on the terms of the contract, says Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access & Success.
That’s what happened to the family of Christopher Bryski, a Rutgers college student who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2004. When he died two years later, his father, Joseph Bryski, was held liable for $44,500 in private student loans.
Legislation has been introduced in the House and the Senate to require private lenders to ensure that co-signers understand their obligations if the borrower dies before the loan is repaid.
Sandra Block covers personal finance for USA TODAY. Her Your Money column appears Tuesdays. E-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com
IBR applications are available from many major lenders, including the U.S. Department of Education!
Contact your lender directly to apply for IBR.
- If you have Direct Loans through the U.S. Department of Education, go to : https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action
- Not sure who’s servicing your loans these days? Check the National Student Loan Data System.
If you are having serious problems applying for IBR, the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman’s Office at the U.S. Department of Education may be able to help. You can call them to report a problem at 877-557-2575, email them at email@example.com, or fill out an online help form at Ombudsman