Loan limits to stay same despite fee increase
November 14, 2010 9:42 PM
While CSU fees are scheduled to increase in the spring of 2011, federal student loan limits will remain the same, according to SF State's Associate Director of Financial Aid Jimmie Wilder.
"We don't have any updates as to when the loan limit will increase," said Sara Gast, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education.
Wilder said the last time the federal loan aggregate limit increased was in July of 2008 and is unaware when it will be raised next time.
"Although no one likes to see fees increase for students and their families, the CSU has been forced to increase fees to cover the state budget reductions that have been imposed since 2007-08," said Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment management at SF State.
According to Volkert, raising fees puts a financial burden predominantly on students who are not eligible for financial AID, as well as the 39 percent of the student population receiving loans for enrollment.
Students who already use loans might have to apply for more if the money they receive does not cover the 5 percent fee increase scheduled for the spring of 2011 and the projected 10 percent fee increase for the 2011-2012 academic year, said Wilder.
Despite the impending increase, Volkert said the CSU estimates that 45 percent of all students in the system will receive enough money through State University and Cal grants from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to cover the additional cost.
"I'm so sick of the politics of paying for school, I just want to graduate," said Katrina Estrella, a communications major at SF State who receives loans to pay for housing and tuition.
Because she lived with her parents in the East Bay during her freshman and sophmore years, Estrella, 20, said this semester was the first time she applied for and received a federal loan.
Students like Estrella apply for federal loans when grants from federal student aid do not equal the University's cost of attendance, which includes registration fees, books, supplies, housing and transportation, according to FAFSA's website.
The cost of attending SF State for a full-time undergraduate student who lives on or off campus is $23,476 and $15,454 for a student who lives at home during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the University's website.
Estrella received $17,000 in federal loans for the 2010-2011 school year and said she will have to apply again during her senior year.
"I'll probably be paying $40,000 after graduation," said Estrella, who lives in an apartment at Lakeshore to avoid the two-hour commute from the East Bay.
When grants and federal loans aren't enough, Wilder said students can choose to apply for an alternative loan to pay for remaining fees.
"A student can apply for an alternative loan through a private lender or bank who participates in the alternative loan industry," Wilder said.
After the student submits an application to his or her potential lender, SF State financial aid officials verify the information to certify the loan online, said Wilder.
Citibank Student Loan Corporation, Fifth Third Bank and the Star One Credit Union are some of the alternative lenders listed on SF State's website, although the University says it does not intend to endorse or promote a specific private lender.
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