Forum discusses loan changes

A forum hosted by financial aid Monday shed more light on the new changes the office will make this year regarding loans. There will no longer be a list of lenders or banks that students will be able to choose from due to changes by the U.S. Department of Education. Students will choose a direct loan lender through the department of education rather than a bank or other financial institution. After students accept loans, a promissory note must be completed. The note serves as a binding contract ensuring that students understand that they will have to pay back the money borrowed plus interest.“Everyone has to do a new promissory note, I can’t stress this enough,” said Michelle William, associate director of FAMU’s Office of Financial Aid. “When you sign a sign the promissory note, it’s good until the next ten years.” Pell Grants were not granted to students in the summer. Now, the government has changed that rule. Students will now be eligible to receive Pell Grants for the summer semester. However, those individuals will have to be enrolled a total of six credit hours or be a half-time student.This policy will also apply to students who transfer and attend a different university over the summer. They have to go through a transit process. Students can only receive Pell Grants a total of 18 times throughout their college experience. Meanwhile, some students said they were excited to hear about the new change this year.“I would have went back home for the summer or paid out of pocket,” said Lisa Dorceus, 19, a pre-pharmacy student from Orlando. “This meeting told me you have to be six credit hours to get a (Federal Pell Grant) and if I didn’t go I wouldn’t know.”Financial aid representatives said students should fill out FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) by March 1, 2010.“Meet the deadlines,” said Carita Evans, coordinator of the forum. “If [students] would follow through the guidelines the [financial aid office] give [students’] lives would be so much easier.”