Sallie Mae announces new resources for students and families concerned about paying for college in difficult economy
RESTON, Va.—Sallie Mae, the nation’s leading provider of saving- and paying–for-college programs, today announced several initiatives to help parents and students concerned about paying for college in the current economic climate.
In recent months, worries among families about affording college have grown as the economy has declined. Market turbulence has taken a toll on college savings and other personal investments, many parents are facing real or possible job loss, and budget pressure has reduced merit- and need-based college financial aid in many states. As a result, families may find themselves exploring college financial aid options that they previously had not considered or expected to need.
In response, Sallie Mae offers the following assistance:
An extended commitment to make federal student loans to every eligible student at every school in the United States through the 2009-2010 academic year.
A new Sallie Mae Web site, www.SallieMae.com/resources available to all parents and students – not just Sallie Mae customers – concerned about learning more about resources available to pay for tuition. Information about free resources, such as grants and scholarships, is available to help families minimize out-of-pocket expenditures and to find the right options to help ensure students stay in school. The site also includes information about payment plans available at colleges and universities to help families avoid the need for loans by making interest-free tuition payments in monthly installments. In addition, visitors can find details about various federal student loan options, including federal parent loans, that are available regardless of income, assets or collateral. Visitors to the site will be able to submit their questions to Sallie Mae for research and response.
A tuition assistance night with toll-free hotline, 1-877-881-1012, accessible on Feb. 25 from 6 p.m. to midnight EST, to assist students and families concerned about covering the tuition bill this coming fall.
Complimentary college planning assistance webinars for parents on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. EST and Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. EST. These 45-minute sessions will educate parents on free Web tools available to find scholarships, calculate and compare college costs, build a plan to pay for college and estimate student loan payments. Parents are welcome to register by sending an email to SchoolResource@SallieMae.com. In addition, a College Planning Assistance webinar replay will be available on www.SallieMae.com/resources beginning Feb. 26.
“Too many families are picking up the pieces from depleted home values, retirement plans and college savings accounts only to realize that they still need a solution to pay for their child’s education,” said Albert L. Lord, chief executive officer. “We are closely monitoring our customers’ needs and actively looking at additional steps we can take to help both students in school and graduates in repayment.”
Today’s moves come on the heels of several recent company initiatives offered at no cost to students and families, including:
Education Investment Planner (www.SallieMae.com/plan), a free, comprehensive online tool that enables families to estimate the total cost of a college degree and build a customized plan to pay for it;
Be Debt Savvy (www.SallieMae.com/bedebtsavvy), free educational tools that help students establish and maintain good credit;
Upromise and Upromise Loan Link (www.upromise.com and www.SallieMae.com/Upromise). Upromise is a free program that helps students and families save money for education expenses. Upromise members can earn cash rewards when making purchases from hundreds of participating companies, accumulating savings for college or other purposes. Members who sign up for Upromise Loan Link may have their savings automatically transferred to help pay down eligible Sallie Mae-serviced student loans.
Sallie Mae’s Scholarship Search (www.SallieMae.com/scholarship), a free, on-line database, updated daily, containing nearly 3 million scholarship awards worth more than $16 billion.
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