Transcript: Sen. Lamar Alexander’s Q&A on strengthening the federal student loan program for borrowers – Part II

Part II. Partial transcript of Sen. Lamar Alexander’s (R-Tennessee) Q&A on strengthening the federal student loan program for borrowers. The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee hearing was held on March 27, 2014:

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee):
…Ms. Dill, you said that the average indebtedness – Lee is a university – you don’t have graduate programs. Right?

Marian Dill, Director of Student Financial Aid, Lee University, Cleveland, TN:
We do have graduate programs.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee):
You do have it but most of your students are undergraduates, right?

Marian Dill, Director of Student Financial Aid, Lee University, Cleveland, TN:
That’s correct, sir.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee):
And your average indebtedness is $29,000?

Marian Dill, Director of Student Financial Aid, Lee University, Cleveland, TN:
That reported data element is, as Ms. Johnson referred to, is the undergraduate.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee):
That’s undergraduate. And Ms. Johnson, yours is $30,000 for undergraduates.

Roberta L. Johnson, Director of Student Financial Aid, Iowa State University, Ames:
Right.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee):
Now, is that because that’s about the maximum a student could borrow in an undergraduate four-years or five-years? And what I’m getting to is are students simply, because interest rate is 3.86% today, are they just borrowing all they can – all they’re allowed to? Isn’t that right? Why are your numbers about the same?

Marian Dill, Director of Student Financial Aid, Lee University, Cleveland, TN:
Well, that is an interesting question. The aggregate loan limit for dependent undergraduate student is $31,000. The aggregate limit for an independent student is $57,000.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee):
So they could borrow more?

Roberta L. Johnson, Director of Student Financial Aid, Iowa State University, Ames:
Correct.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee):
Is it your judgment that if you were allowed to, if students were required with each disbursement to have some sort of financial counseling that that would be good for the student? Or would that just be another federal regulation that cause college administrators to do a lot of unnecessary work?

Marian Dill, Director of Student Financial Aid, Lee University, Cleveland, TN:
Well, what I am advocating is that it would be allowed that we could require the additional counseling but not require it because you do have the statistical indicators that the students are most probably capable and will repay and you don’t want to create an unnecessary burden. But I am asking and advocating for the authority.

Roberta L. Johnson, Director of Student Financial Aid, Iowa State University, Ames: What we have done in our institution is prior to disbursement we require the student to at least say “Yes, I still want this disbursement” or “No, I don’t” and there’s a link to a repayment that says “By the way, if you take this disbursement, here’s how much it costs you know.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee):
But you do do it with private loans?

Roberta L. Johnson, Director of Student Financial Aid, Iowa State University, Ames:
Yes, we do.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee):
So you’d like to have it as a tool, is that correct?

Roberta L. Johnson, Director of Student Financial Aid, Iowa State University, Ames:
Correct. I would agree. I would not make it mandatory but allow it or permit it.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee):
And that would require changing the Department regulations, is that correct?

Roberta L. Johnson, Director of Student Financial Aid, Iowa State University, Ames:
Yes.

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One Comment on “Transcript: Sen. Lamar Alexander’s Q&A on strengthening the federal student loan program for borrowers – Part II

  1. Pingback: Election 2014 Voter Guide: Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander's voting records & positions on issues  | What The Folly?!

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