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January 19, 2009

NY gov wants college grants cut, loans boosted

(Continued)



"I'm probably going to have to start helping with some of the expenses," LoBianco said. "Right now my Mom isn't getting as many hours at work as she used to."

But if Paterson's plan to raise the credit requirement goes into effect, he'll have to take an additional class to maintain his aid, and his course load would make it impossible to work.

Paterson also proposes increasing the minimum grade point average for eligibility from 1.1 to 1.8 and requiring that public pensions be counted as income when calculating a student's economic eligibility. Private pensions are already counted.

The New York Higher Education Loan Program, known as NYHELPS, might help students like LoBianco secure loans with an interest rate lower than those currently available in the private loan market — about 8 percent. That's as much as 10 percent less than current rates for conventional private bank loans.

The partnership between the state, private lenders and schools would help about 45,000 New York state residents who are enrolled in a public or private school in the state. They could get as much as $10,000 a year through the program if they're already getting all state and federal student aid they're entitled to.

"This new student loan program will help ensure New Yorkers have access to the funds they need to finance their college educations," said Matt Anderson, a spokesman with the Division of the Budget. "Even in times of fiscal difficulty, we need to make smart investments in New York's future."

To get the loans, students would have to be enrolled at least half time, and have an eligible co-signer in New York.

For students attending two-year colleges, the total amount that may be borrowed is $20,000. Four-year undergraduate students may borrow a total of $50,000, and a total of up to $70,000 may be borrowed for undergraduate and graduate study.

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