Student Financial Services wants to keep students abreast of important topics and current events that could affect their financial situation. Please check back for updates.
Important Public Interest Debt Relief Program on Monday, April 7!
We are bringing Heather Jarvis (formerly of Equal Justice Works) back once again to discuss the federal Public Interest Loan Forgiveness program and applicable repayment plans. Heather is dynamic, informative and has been to law school and accumulated loan debt. Please attend Social Justice Monday, April 7 from 12-12:50 in Sullivan Hall, room C-5 or Monday, April 7 from 5-6:00 in the Administration Building, room 220. It will be recorded (http://www.law.seattleu.edu/multimedia-library/access-to-justice-institute/atji-public-access) if you are unable to attend. Heather has an excellent blog and webinars at http://askheatherjarvis.com. This event is sponsored by Law School SFS, ATJI, CPD, Alumni Relations and University Center for Service and Community Engagement and SFS.
Prospective Students for 2014-15
To start the process for financial aid, you will need to complete the 2014-15 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on-line at www.fafsa.gov on or after January 1, 2014, but as soon as possible thereafter. Our school code is 003790.
If you have not previously completed a FAFSA, you may request a PIN at www.pin.ed.gov.
Please let us know if you have any questions regarding the process or programs. Please e-mail us or call 206.398.4250.
Origination Fees Increased Due to Sequestration
Federal Direct Stafford origination fees increased due to sequestration. The origination fees increased on December 1, 2013. However, this applied only to loans with a first disbursement on or after December 1. The new loan fees are 1.072% (increased from 1.051%) for Direct Stafford Loans and 4.288% (increased from 4.204%) percent for Direct PLUS Loans.
Fake Student Loan Site Steals Identities
"Fake accounts for student lending giant Sallie Mae are popping up all over Instagram in an attempt to steal student identities, according to Scambook, a website dedicated to detecting bogus sites and warning consumers about using them," CBS MoneyWatch reports. "The fake Sallie sites have a timely and attractive pitch: Due to the government shutdown, indebted graduates can apply for a loan "forgiveness" program that would wipe away their debt. However, students who attempt to be among the first 150,000 to take the bogus sites up on the offer are asked to provide private information, such as birth dates and Social Security Numbers, allowing the sites to steal their identities, according to Scambook. The real Sallie Mae has no Instagram presence and has been posting repeated messages this week on its real Facebook account warning consumers that it is not on Instagram, and it does not ask for personal information via social media. Anyone who bought into the fake site's claims and plugged in personal information should quickly put a fraud alert on their credit file by either calling the three major credit bureaus: Experian (888-397-3742); Equifax (800-525-6285) and/or TransUnion (800-680-7289) or by visiting their websites or annualcreditreport.com. The fraud alert will stop creditors from granting new credit on your file for 90 days." (from NASFAA NASFAA's "Financial Aid in the News")
The interest rate for 2013-2014 student loans has been lowered for loans disbursed on or after July 1.
Stafford Loans for graduate/professional students are at 5.41% (from 6.8%)Grad PLUS loans are at 6.41% (from 7.9%)The rate is fixed for the life of the loan. The rate will change each year for new loans every July 1 based on the 10 Year T-bill (based on the last auction prior to June 1) + 3.6 for the Stafford or + 4.6 for the Grad PLUS.
On-Campus Employment for Entering Students
Entering law students interested in working on-campus at the law school who missed the Job Fair may reviewemployment opportunities here: Law Campus Employment.
Direct Deposit Available
Direct deposit of credit balance refunds is available to students. To sign up, please complete this form and turn it in (with a voided check attached) to the Business Office in Sullivan Hall, room 209.
For a student's refund to be available on the first Thursday of the semester, their financial aid needs to be finalized (all paperwork completed, submitted and processed) in a timely manner. Remember to complete the online ABA Term Certification (available on SU Online under the Academic Profile on the Students Menu). Students also need to allow two weeks for their direct deposit to be set up with their banks.
Please contact the Business Office at 206.398.4050 with any questions.
A nationwide check scam is being reported on campuses nationwide and a student on a WA campus was duped. This particular scam involves the listing of a local job opportunity. After applying for the job, a student receives an e-mail from the "employer," who claims to be out of the country but will send the student a monetary advance for work, such as job-related errands, until the employer returns.
A few days later, the student receives a package containing a check. Instructions are given for the student to cash the check, keep a specific amount for the work they are to perform, and return the remainder of the money to an address outside the United States. The check will subsequently bounce. So students not only do not earn any money, they're out what they returned, plus bank service fees.
Typically, legitimate employers do not pay in advance or require the return of money from a check written to an employee. Any off-campus employment that requires an exchange of money before the job is finalized is likely a scam. Students believing they have been victimized, or are the target of a scam, should contact SU Public Safety at 206.398.5990.
Apply for Income Based Repayment and Make Updates Online
There is a new application tool online at www.studentloans.gov for IBR. You may apply and update necessary tax information online, making the process faster to confirm eligibility and payment amounts.
A New Repayment Plan!
The Department of Education recently created a new, improved repayment plan called Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and simplified the process for discharging federal student loans due to total and permanent disability.
PAYE was created to bring the upcoming benefits of the Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan to borrowers earlier. The IBR changes will lower partial economic hardship guidelines from 15% to 10% of the difference between the borrower's AGI and 150% of the poverty guideline for the family size and forgive the balance owing after 20 years rather than 25 years of repayment but will not be effective until July 1, 2014. The good news is that PAYE matches these new benefits and will be available sooner - no later than July 1, 2013, but with an anticipated implementation by the end of 2012. Both PAYE and IBR are eligible repayment plans for the federal public interest loan forgiveness program (see http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service).
To benefit from PAYE, you need to have borrowed your first federal student loan on or after October 1, 2007 and have at least one Direct Stafford or Direct Grad PLUS loan disbursement on or after October 1, 2011.
Borrowers may start applying for this new repayment plan as of December 21, 2012. For more information you may see http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/pay-as-you-earn and the Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 212 at http://www.ifap.ed.gov/fregisters/attachments/FR110112FinalRule.pdf.
Federal Public Interest Loan Forgiveness documents are now available!
Alumni working in this area should note it's important to keep track of your on-time and eligible payments (in the right repayment plan) and eligible employment for 120 payments. The forms may be found at http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/PSF.jsp or http://myfedloan.org.
Dealing with Law School Debt: Understanding the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA)
Interested in a career in the government or nonprofit sector but worried about how you will pay your law school loans? Heather Jarvis of Equal Justice Works presented a workshop explaining the CCRAA, how student loan payments will be affected by the income-based repayment program, how borrowers can qualify for loan forgiveness, and what borrowers need to do to take advantage of the benefits of the new law. To access, go to: http://law.seattleu.edu/x12352.xml.
For information on financial literacy see the videos Money Management and Identity Theft videos below as well as Money Matter$ at http://www.law.seattleu.edu/x6786.xml.
Financial Aid Fraud Alert!
The financial aid community has received notice from Kay Jacks, General Manager for FSA Application, School Eligibility and Delivery Services that someone is impersonating a U.S. Department of Education official and is offering students grants for a processing fee.
Her message is as follows: There is someone claiming to be a representative of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) calling students, offering grants, and asking for bank account numbers so a processing fee can be charged. Specifically, the caller tells the student he understands the student has federal student loans and offers to replace the loans with an $8,000 grant. The caller explains that a processing fee must be charged and obtains the student's checking account information.
There is no ED program to replace loans with grants and that there is no processing fee to obtain Title IV grants from ED. Furthermore, as you are no doubt aware, one should never provide their bank account or credit card information over the phone unless they initiate the call and trust the company they are calling.
This is a scam. A student who is a victim of this or a similar scam should take the following steps:
- Immediately contact his or her bank, explain the situation, and request that the bank monitor or close the compromised account.
- Report the fraud to ED's Office of Inspector General hotline at 1-800-MIS-USED (1-(800) 647.8733) or email@example.com. Special agents in the Office of Inspector General investigate fraud involving federal education dollars.
- Report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC has an online complaint form at www.ftc.gov/scholarshipscams and a hotline at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-(877) 382.4357; teletype for the hearing impaired: 1-(866) 653.4261). The FTC will investigate if the fraud is deemed widespread; therefore, it is important that every student contacted by the person or people in question lodge a complaint so the FTC has an accurate idea of how many incidents have occurred.
- Notify the police about the incident. Impersonating a federal officer is a crime, as is identity theft.
When filing a complaint, the student should provide detailed information about the incident, including what was said, the name of the person who called, and from what number the call originated (if the student was able to obtain it via Caller ID). Additionally, if unauthorized debits have already appeared against the student's bank account, the student should mention this fact in his or her complaint. Records of such debits could be useful in locating the wrongdoer.
For answers to any questions you have about financial aid, please contact Student Financial Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.