VIDEO: Student Loan Debt is Growing

May 6, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Sydney Giesey
sschmidt@smu.edu

Student loan debt continues to exceed credit card debt, after surpassing it for the first time last June. At the same time, the federal government has large budget deficits and is cutting state support of higher education to help balance the budget.

This year, Pell Grant Funding is being cut by eight billion dollars. In addition to the cuts in Pell Grants, the federal government will no longer fund the Academic Competitiveness Grant or the Smart Grant. In Texas, state equalization grants will be cut by 30 percent. With all these cuts, loans become a necessity for students. Leaving many in debt right out of college.

VIDEO: Federal Student Aid Takes Major Cuts in Fall 2011

May 5, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Jefferson Johnson
jwjohnson@mail.smu.edu

In 1998 the federal government amended the higher education act of 1965.

Allowing lower-income students an opportunity to an education through financial aid.

“The purpose of financial aid is to provide a means for students to attend college if they don’t have the funds to pay for it,” said Marcia Miller from SMU’s Enrollment Services Financial Aid.

According to Miller, of the 10,000 students enrolled at SMU around 75 percent receive financial aid this includes scholarships and grants

“For the students that are on financial aid, it’s invaluable without it there are students that will not be here,” Miller said.

Students like SMU junior Samira Abderahman need aid.

“I receive a lot of grants we have also taken some loans, luckily they haven’t been anything outrageous,” Abderahman said.

But as Spring 2011 ends incoming and undergraduate students are faced with tough financial decisions as recent state and federal budget cuts cut into Fall 2011 financial aid funding…

“Some students are going to have to make some hard choices,” Miller said. “Which means, students that might desire to go to SMU are going to end up at a state school somewhere.”

But with a yearly $37,000 price tag, SMU isn’t so cheap.

Miller said it’s the students in the middle whose parents and themselves will have to take on more of the financial burden.

“I won’t be here should my financial aid be significantly reduced,” Abderahman said.

Miller said in the coming semesters it will be first come first served.

Students can avoid being cut out by keeping financial aid deadlines and staying up-to-date on paperwork and changes.