Expansion Of College Aid Resources Good News For Students

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On March 30, President Barack Obama went down to Northern Virginia Community College to sign what many in the media were calling his “health bill”. True, a giant portion of the bill revolved around the controversial insurance reform, but that wasn’t all this monumental piece of legislation was about. It also had to do with education and both traditional and online college grants and online grants possibilities will come into play.

If you were to ask the general public what was the actual title of the bill Obama signed, don’t be surprised if you get a blank stare. It’s actually called “The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act”. Most media pundits grossly ignored the second half of that title. What’s important is if it goes as planned it could have a very big impact on education, including online colleges.

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Admittedly, a considerable amount of the education sections of the bill have to do with elementary and secondary schools. At the same time, who can deny that if this part of the education system isn’t overhauled, the prospects of having primed students for graduate and post-graduate education becomes slim, if not none.

Probably the most important part of this education reform revolves around online grant. When the loans were initially created by then President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, students got the money directly from the federal government, which also administered them.

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As time progressed and the administrations changed, it was decided it would save the government money if the administrative aspects were handled by banks. That turned out to not be the case when the banks started charging higher interest rates than the history of the entire program, as much as 19%. In the end more loans defaulted than ever before. Couple this with the current economic recession and the student loan program was hemorrhaging tax payer dollars.

This new legislation returns all administration back to the government. Obama expects less defaults due to lowered interest rates, and the money the government will generate from these loans can be plowed back into Pell Grant and related grants and scholarships. If all goes according to plan the Pell will go from a ceiling of $5,350 to $6,000 by 2011. Obviously, one of the people who will be keeping an eye on all this is the college financial officer, who should be consulted on this.

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Obama also announced a portion of money saved will go to online and community colleges for additional scholarships and grants. These schools cost as much as 60% less than the national universities. All the school has to prove is it is an accredited Title IV institution.

“For a long time, our student loan system has worked for banks and financial institutions”, Obama said that day. “Today, we’re finally making our student loan system work for students and our families. But we’re also doing something more. From the moment I was sworn into office, I’ve spoken about the urgent need for us to lay a new foundation for our economy and for our future…we can rightly say the foundation on which America’s future will be built is stronger than it was one year ago.

Students, either newly entering college or returning, need to check out all the resources, including online college grants, scholarships, and other forms of aid. Finding out if you quality for everything from Pell grants to private corporate sponsorship, means you too can get the degree you need to succeed.

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