Torch Voices- November 30, 2011

Dear Editor,

I am writing to provide more information on President Obama’s student loan plan.

The plan to offer Special Direct Loan Consolidation is limited to students who have federal loans in both the Family Federal Education Loan (FFEL) and Direct Loan (DL) programs. Only the FFEL loans are eligible for consolidation under this initiative. In order to be eligible for consolidation, the loans must be in a grace, repayment, deferment, or forbearance status. Keep in mind that if Ferris is the only school you have attended since 1995, you are not eligible, since Ferris has provided only Direct Loans since then.

Benefits of this Special Consolidation Loan: Interest rate reduction: Applicants receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction from the loan’s current interest rate.

Repayment term will not be changed: The current repayment term will not be extended. As a result, borrowers pay less interest over the life of the loan than with a traditional Direct Consolidation Loan.

Credit for previous Income-Based Repayment (IBR): If the borrower qualified for the IBR, and made payments on the loan, those payments will count toward the required repayment time for cancellation if they remain in IBR. Under current IBR, any remaining loan balance is forgiven after 25 years of repayment.

Eligible borrowers will be notified by their loan servicer in January 2012. Borrowers do not need to take any action until they are contacted by their servicer. The Financial Aid Office plans to notify our current students who may qualify for this Special Direct Loan Consolidation during the spring semester. More information is available on the Direct Loan Consolidation web site. www.loanconsolidation

A second announcement from the President dealt with a more generous Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan that may be effective sometime in 2012. IBR is available for borrowers whose student loan debt is high relative to household size and income. This is contingent upon legislative negotiating, but if the President’s plan goes through, monthly loan payments would be capped at 10% of discretionary income and, at the end of 20 years, if you meet other requirements, the principal balance would be forgiven. The changes to the IBR plan are deemed the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) plan.

In summary, President Obama’s plan can and will help some students, but it will not help all students.

Nancy Wencl
Coordinator of Federal Aid Programs
Ferris State University

Dear Editor,

After reading the latest Issue of the Torch I felt that there was a few additional things I would like to add regarding your article entitled “The Best of Both Worlds”. After reading the quotation taken of me I feel like there may be some concerns about the safety standards in Professor Barnum’s classes. These are concerns I would like to personally alleviate.

Shop classes are a particularly difficult undertaking, working with power tools and welding equipment brings about their own list of safety issues and concerns. However, with proper supervision and leadership these concerns can be severely minimized. Each and every single day, Professor Barnum personally makes the safety of his students and myself his top priority. He is a fantastic professor, personal mentor, and Ferris State is lucky to have him.

Having said that, I would also like to clarify my statements regarding my concerns of welding on a used gas tank. When I made those statements I was asked about what sort of challenges that I encounter working with the students in his class and their solutions. I mentioned the issue of welding on the tank before going on to say that we overcame the issue by rinsing the tank, and keeping it filled with water while welding to prevent any possible vaporization of remaining fuel. There was no danger whatsoever to myself or anyone present. If there had been any possibility of danger, Professor Barnum would not have allowed it to happen.

Brandon Boyer

FSU student