July 14, 2013 |
AN ATTORNEY for jailed former state Sen. Vince Fumo complained in court yesterday that the once powerful Democrat, in a legal battle with his daughter, has been cast as King Lear, the tragic figure who goes mad trying to leave his holdings to his children. Normally you could chalk that up to overblown legal rhetoric. But with Fumo, who has a long history of relationships dissolving into disputes, attorney Thomas Leonard was spot on with the Shakespearean reference. The fight involves a trust fund Fumo set up with $3.2 million in 2006 for two of his three children, Vince Fumo Jr. and Allison Fumo.
July 13, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - An emerging deal to lower interest rates on student loans hit a major obstacle Thursday after lawmakers were told it carried a $22 billion price tag over the next decade. The proposal was designed to offer Democrats the promise that interest rates would not reach 10 percent and to give Republicans a link between borrowing terms and the financial markets that they sought. But at that cost, the bipartisan coalition behind it decided to return to negotiations to bring that cost down.
July 12, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A Senate bill that would freeze a low interest rate on one type of federal student loan for another year, along with buying lawmakers more time to craft a long-term strategy for setting all education loan interest rates, failed to clear a procedural vote Wednesday afternoon. That bounces the issue back to negotiations yet again, as lawmakers try to reach a consensus before the August recess, at which point most students will have to lock in their loans for the school year.
July 11, 2013 |
Part of Jessica Prince's job at Widener University is to advise college seniors about managing their debt, so she was distressed to learn that Congress on June 30 allowed the interest rate on one popular type of federal loan to double, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. "I don't think a college education should be a debt sentence," she said. This week, the House and Senate are likely to review several bills that may or may not relieve some of the extra financial pressure the rate increase will put on graduates.
July 10, 2013
A NUMBER OF surveys have indicated that many people don't have adequate savings to cover a financial emergency. One, conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, found that 17 percent of Americans said that if they needed $1,000 for an unplanned expense, they would have to borrow it from friends or family. I've been asking readers to share their experiences of mixing family and finances. Following is one such story about a family financial fight that yet again proves what Shakespeare wrote in "Hamlet": "Neither a borrower nor a lender be, for loan oft loses both itself and friend.
July 9, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Republicans and Democrats will put good will to the test when Congress returns this week to potentially incendiary fights over nominations, unresolved disputes over student loans and the farm bill, and the uncertainty of whether lawmakers have the political will to rewrite the nation's immigration laws. The cooperation evident in the Senate last month with passage of a bipartisan immigration bill could be wiped out immediately if Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.)
July 8, 2013 |
On July 1, the rate of a subsidized Stafford student loan doubled to 6.8 percent from 3.4 percent, after Congress shut down for the Independence Day holiday without blocking a scheduled increase. If lawmakers fail to reach a retroactive agreement, the average Stafford borrower will have to pay back about $800 more than under the previous rate for every year of loans. The controversy in Congress reflects the magnitude of the challenge. Today, about 66 percent of students borrow for college.
July 6, 2013
By Stephen Stromberg Student-loan rates doubled on Monday. This is not a disaster, despite what you've heard. President Obama made the expiration of a 3.4 percent student-loan rate a big campaign issue last year, warning of dire financial consequences for struggling students. Congress extended the rate for a year. Now that extension has expired, and each side is bashing the other for allowing that 3.4 percent rate to adjust upward (though Republicans are yelling the loudest). "The divisions among the president and his own party," House Speaker John Boehner proclaimed on Monday, "are directly responsible for the current impasse that will now result in higher borrowing costs for students already coping with skyrocketing tuition bills.
July 3, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The interest rate on a key federal student loan doubled Monday, as expected, but it was unclear whether Congress would allow the increase to stand before the new school year got under way. Federal law has set the rate for new subsidized Stafford loans at 6.8 percent, up from 3.4 percent. The subsidy means that these loans, for undergraduates with demonstrated financial need, do not accrue interest while the students are in school. It is estimated that, for many borrowers, the rate hike would add about $1,000 in interest over the life of a loan.
June 26, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - The increasingly hostile debate playing out in the Capitol over payday lending may not reach biblical proportions, but the conflict is emerging as a saints vs. sinners struggle over working class access to cash. Religious groups are leading efforts to snuff out newly revived legislation to legalize payday lending - the short-term, high-interest loans for people with no credit and no ability to obtain traditional bank loans. Citing Scripture, they have characterized these storefront lenders - which closed up shop in Pennsylvania after a state Supreme Court ruling in 2010 set interest rates so low that the business was no longer profitable - as predators on the poor.