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Campus officials had little warning that a middle-of-the-night march would bring hundreds of demonstrators through the university’s gates.
University officials found a receptive audience on Capitol Hill last week. They showed off an online tool that could be just what some lawmakers want all colleges to do.
A survey of employers agrees with a gut feeling shared by career counselors—that the Class of 2015 will see a rise in employment opportunities.
Jennifer Freyd says the University of Oregon's leaders supported her survey on rape—until they saw the survey.
If you have federal student loans, it’s important that you understand your loan repayment options. For example, did you know that you have the option to choose a repayment plan? That’s right. While your loan servicer (the company that handles the billing and other services on your federal education loan) will automatically place your loan on the Standard Repayment Plan, you CAN choose another plan.
The Department of Education offers several traditional and income-driven repayment plans with different payment options. So, make sure to take the time to understand these options and find the plan that works best for you.
Generally, our repayment plans offer three types of payments:
- Fixed Payments: Our Standard Repayment Plan and Extended Repayment Plan offer payments that remain the same amount for the life of the loan.
- Graduated Payments: Our Graduated Repayment Plan and Extended-Graduated Plan offer payments that start out low and gradually increase every two years.
- Income-Driven Payments: Our three income-driven repayment plans offer payments that are calculated based on your income.
Choosing a repayment plan can feel overwhelming. Don’t worry—there are several resources available to help you understand the repayments plans, determine your eligibility for each plan, and make the right decision for you.
- Use our online Repayment Estimator to find out which plans you may be eligible for and to estimate how much you would pay under each plan. (If you log-in, the Repayment Estimator will use your actual loan balance to estimate your eligibility and payment information.)
- Get detailed information about each repayment plan on our website.
- Watch our Repayment: What to Expect video to get a high-level overview of the repayment plans.
- Check out our Repayment Plans infographic for an easy-to-understand visual that will give you some key points to keep in mind as you are choosing a repayment plan.
- Read our Repay Your Federal Student Loans fact sheet for additional information on loan repayment and the repayment plans.
- Contact your loan servicer to discuss your options and choose a federal student loan repayment plan that’s best for you.
Remember, the repayment plans discussed here are for federal loans only. If you have private loans, check with your lender about available repayment options.
For more information on federal student loan repayment plans, visit Studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans.
Tara Marini is a communication analyst at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.
John Garvey has the backing of the Catholic University of America’s trustees. Now he just has to regain the support of his own professors.
The university had won praise for acting quickly to suspend an accused player. Then the accuser dropped her complaint, prompting a new debate about how to handle such cases.
And it may be the best thing that’s ever happened to them.
Timothy S. Mescon will try to persuade overseas business schools in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to join AACSB International.
Cesar Fermin, who was dean for graduate studies and research at Tuskegee, was named provost there. Read about that and other job-related news.
Mr. Marsalis, the trumpeter, took on the role after telling the conservatory's president that he wanted to devote more time to education.
Authors and academics gather to give a glad yell of support to those engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs with big ideas.
Demographic and economic factors produce discomfiting unpredictability for institutions, a survey shows.
How Catholic colleges are promoting their missions in an increasingly secular society.
When I was honored to be named Nebraska teacher of the year in 2007, almost in the same breath folks said, “Congratulations – when are you leaving the classroom?” Unfortunately, we have built into the American teaching culture this perverse disincentive that only seems to listen to and honor educators who move farthest away from those who need us most – our students.
Teach to Lead seeks to flip that by allowing teachers to lead from the classroom. We know that the many of the best ideas come from teachers – in fact, the solutions to today’s educational challenges will not be solved without the involvement of classroom teachers in the development as well as the implementation of innovative educational ideas.
Teach to Lead was developed by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to advance student success by expanding opportunities for teacher leadership – in other words, to make sure that teachers were involved in the development and implementation of education transformation.
One of the components of Teach to Lead is our virtual community, Commit to Lead. Commit to Lead is for those who have a seed of an idea, those who are developing their ideas, and those who are deep in implementation. It’s for classroom teachers, administrators, system leaders, advocacy groups – all those who are working to include teacher leadership in their decision making. The platform is a place to discuss and learn from others who may have already been down your path – or who want to learn from your success!
Commit to Lead is easy to use. After you join the community, you can post your own idea (just 300 words or less) and interact with others who comment. Or you can join and then peruse the ideas posted by others, offering your suggestions and giving a “thumbs up” by voting for those ideas that you find most compelling.
Christina from Willamsport, Pennsylvania, has submitted the most talked about idea so far:
“Principals, central office admin, consultants, and state ed departments would be required to teach just one prep or class for a 3-6 month period at least once every two years. The teacher in which they are ‘subbing’ for would then be released during that time to participate in some of the leadership responsibilities of the person assuming their role as teacher. Or they could use their release time to coach a colleague (or new teacher).
An easy idea to implement? Not really. Worthy of discussion? Absolutely! To be done right, this wouldn’t just be a simple schedule change, but a real culture shift that exemplifies the importance of being as close to the classroom as possible. I’ve often heard teachers say that some policies would never happen if administrators had to live by their own rules. I also know many teachers that don’t understand the heavy burdens and isolation faced by many in traditional leadership positions. A change of this magnitude would be great if it was done thoughtfully and with the best interests of students at the forefront.
Commit to Lead isn’t just about posting your own ideas. It’s also about sharing your “teacher wisdom” with colleagues across the country. Meeting the needs of her English Language Learners is what prompted Donna from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to reach out to colleagues through Commit to Lead:
I would like to start a discussion of ways to foster accurate academic participation for ELLs (or other student populations). Currently, I use scaffolds such as posted and practiced academic sentence frames to assist students when reporting out ideas after “Think-Write-Pair-Share.” I would like to collaborate with others to broaden my strategies and increase student use of academic language and structures.
Maybe you are just the person Donna is looking for to help fill her teacher toolbox! The best ideas are stolen or borrowed from other teachers – maybe even you!
Deidra from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, saw a problem in her teaching community and stepped up with a solution:
All teachers benefit from collaborative interaction, so I am starting a collaborative learning group among the CTE [Career & Technical Education] teachers I work with at my high school. Because our planning times do not coincide, I am using Google classroom to share professional readings with my colleagues, opening up discussion threads, and encouraging them to post articles and reading suggestions as well.
I’ve been reading The Teacher Wars by Dana Goldstein and she advises, “…the next step in American education reform may be to focus … more on classroom-up interventions that replicate the practices of the best [teachers].” Christina, Donna, and Deidra – and so many other teachers like them – are doing just that: leading from their classrooms!
Commit to Lead is just a beginning and we know this work isn’t easy, but it won’t be done correctly unless professional educators are key players.
Maddie Fennell is Literacy Coach at Miller Park Elementary in Omaha, Nebraska and a Classroom Teaching Ambassador Fellow working on Teach to Lead.
Maybe you’re just getting out of school and you got a letter from your student loan servicer about repayment, or maybe you read on a blog or in the newspaper about an income-driven repayment plan. Maybe you’re not really sure what they are, how they work, or what they could mean for you. Let me give you the fundamentals.
First, let me explain the naming. “Income-driven repayment” is an umbrella term for three different repayment plans available to those with federal student loans:
- The Income-Based Repayment Plan
- The Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
- The Income-Contingent Repayment Plan
Notice how the names of all three plans reference “income” or “earnings”? Well, that’s because, under these plans, your payment amount is based on how much money you make. To really understand the differences between income-driven and “traditional” repayment plans, you must understand how your payment amount is calculated under each type of repayment plan.
How Monthly Payments Are Calculated
“Traditional” repayment plans are those such as the Standard and Extended Repayment plans. These traditionalists take three variables—the interest rate, principal balance, and repayment period—and determine the least amount of money that you can pay each month to pay the loan off by the end of the repayment period (usually 10-25 years, but sometimes as much as 30 years). This means that borrowing more, having a higher interest rate, or having a shorter repayment period will increase your monthly payment (and vice versa). Those three variables are all the traditional repayment plans care about—they don’t care if you can afford that payment, they just want your loan to be paid off within a specific time frame.
Income-driven repayment plans take these variables and stand them on their heads. These plans say, “you’ll pay what you can afford: a percentage of your ‘discretionary income’” (hint: that’s something less than your total income). Depending on the plan, that may be 10%, 15%, or something else. What you ultimately pay depends on the plan you choose and when you borrowed, but in all cases, it should be something you can afford. Sometimes, it can be as low as $0 per month.
Student Loan Forgiveness and the Income-Driven Repayment Plans
Because your payment under the income-driven repayment plans is not calculated to ensure that your loan is paid off within a specific time frame, the plans have another special feature: loan forgiveness. These plans do have a repayment period—20 or 25 years. However, it’s not the point at which your loan must be paid off; instead, it serves as a counter toward loan forgiveness. Under these plans, if your loan is not repaid in full at the end of your repayment period—20 or 25 years—then the remaining balance will be forgiven. Let me be clear: this is not to say that everyone who selects an income-driven repayment plan will receive forgiveness. You may end up paying your loan off in full before you’re eligible for some forgiveness. Because your payment is based on your income, your payment changes when your income rises (or falls). Your income is the “x” factor, and we don’t know what will happen to it in the future. Under these plans, then, you may pay your loan off in full, or not, but the income-driven repayment plans are happy either way.
What else affects whether you will receive loan forgiveness? Well, it’s those familiar variables of loan balance and interest rate. Remember, interest accrues each day on whatever your principal balance is. The income-driven repayment plans do not change this fact. So, even though your payment isn’t related to how much interest is accruing, that interest still accrues and must still be paid before you can pay down the principal balance on your loan. Ultimately, because your payment is less than it would be under another plan and may even be less than the amount of interest that accrues on your loan, then you will pay down your principal balance more slowly and increase the likelihood of receiving loan forgiveness. This also means that your loan will cost you more over time. Does this mean that you shouldn’t choose an income-driven repayment plan? Of course not! But, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t explain that there was some sort of cost to receiving this benefit.
To be a good bureaucrat, I need to give you a few disclaimers before I wrap this up:
- If you receive loan forgiveness under an Income-Driven Repayment Plan, it may be considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service.
- The Income-Based and Pay As You Earn Repayment plans both have an eligibility criteria that tests to see whether you “need” to enter the plan—this test checks how much federal student loan debt you have relative to your income.
- There are loan-based eligibility criteria that I didn’t even mention, but know that these plans are only available for federal student loans—loans made under the Direct Loan and Federal Family Education Loan Programs, to be specific.
- If you are married, how you file your federal income tax return matters; sometimes it matters a lot.
How to Apply
In closing, let me give you some actionable steps that you can take:
- Use the Repayment Estimator to model your eligibility and payment amount for an income-driven repayment plan.
- If you have still questions, call your loan servicer and discuss whether one of these plans is a good fit for you.
- Apply online at StudentLoans.gov. Because this stuff is complicated, check the box that allows your loan servicer to put you on the income-driven repayment plan with the lowest monthly payment amount.
The English language was not marred through the use of acronyms in this blog post. Ian Foss has worked for the Department of Education since 2010, and, thanks to the Income-Based Repayment Plan, has been able to eat more than just ramen noodles since he finished school.
As the centers experience more demand for their services, the wait lists are getting longer.