EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 20, 2013

Students get a break on loan repayment

Program caps student loan payments at 10 percent of income

(Continued)

But UNH is much more expensive. She is a part-time receptionist at Merrimack Sheet Metal in Methuen, but had to give that up since she leaves today for Durham.

“I just wrote a $7,000 check for this semester,” Barrett said Friday.

Few know about the program

With many colleges in New Hampshire and Massachusetts just returning to classes this week, word of the program is just getting out, according to school officials. The program began Dec. 21

One person who is helping spread the word is U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

Shaheen participated in a roundtable financial aid discussion last week at UNH Manchester. The senator outlined the benefits of Pay As You Earn during the discussion, which included students and financial aid experts, according to Jodi Abad, associate director of financial aid at UNH Manchester.

“She’s quite an advocate,” Abad said of Shaheen. “We were glad to have her here.”

Abad said the school will start introducing the plan to students, saying the cap on payments will certainly benefit graduates beginning their careers.

“Like with any repayment option, we want to put the information out there for students,” she said.

To qualify, borrowers must have started taking out federal loans after Oct. 1, 2007 and must have received a loan disbursement after Oct. 1, 2011. They must also qualify for “partial financial hardship.” The program only applies to federal loans.

Officials at several other area colleges — Northern Essex Community College, Manchester College and NHTI in Concord — said they are just learning about the program and will spread the word to students.

Shaheen is touting the program because she believes it will benefit those in low-paying public service jobs, such as teachers and emergency personnel.

“The Pay As You Earn program simply makes it easier for eligible recent graduates to lower their monthly student loan payments,” Shaheen said in a statement Friday. “That objective couldn’t be more important right now, particularly as our economy continues to recover from one of the worst recessions we’ve seen in generations.”

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