Two provisions in the recently-passed Federal health care legislation will directly affect college students.
The first, an extension of benefits for students under their parents’ plans, will allow college students to remain covered until the age of 26. The second, part of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), will change the way students borrow money for college. Instead of applying for private loans subsidized by the government, students may now apply directly to the federal government for borrowed aid. The bill also changes repayment requirements, allowing graduates to pay back their loans on a sliding scale based on their income. In addition, graduates who pursue employment in the public sector will enjoy the added benefit of loan forgiveness after ten years of service.
Changes to the Pell Grant were also made as part of the SAFRA, providing an increase in the award amount. In three years the grant will be changed to reflect the Consumer Price Index and be adjusted to keep pace with the rising cost of living.