Private loans hard to find

By Morgan Miller
March 26, 2009

A week before she was set to come back to Cabrini in January, Erin Doyal, junior biology major, experienced a setback in her future career goals.

She received a letter informing her that she would not be collecting the private loans she previously used to attend Cabrini.

Many students, like Doyal, are having difficulty staying in school because they cannot get private loans.

Melanie Zucker, assistant director of financial aid, explained that all loans are not suffering because of the economy. “The Federal Stafford Loan is still in place with no changes due to the economy,” Zucker said. “The private loans are where some students may see a change.”

Zucker also explained that the private lenders re-evaluated their credit formulas, which could have an impact on students’ approval ratings. Banks and other lenders have made their credit standards much tougher.

Sallie Mae, the primary private loan provider Doyal used, sent a letter to her residence implying that her mother’s credit was the reasoning behind her not receiving a loan.

“My mom checked up on it because she didn’t believe it because she has really good credit,” Doyal said. “She has always had a good credit score and paid everything off on time, and [it turns out that] her credit was totally fine.”

Doyal and her mom, the co-signer, were wondering why the lender Sallie Mae, would blame her mother’s credit, when it was obviously fine.

The answer came from the man who double-checked her mother’s credit. Doyal explained that he told her, “that lending groups aren’t necessarily making it up, but they are trying to tell people excuses just because they basically can’t come out and say that they don’t have the money to give to all of their [previous] clients.”

Doyal, who was in the honors program at Cabrini, is taking online courses in order to continue towards her dream of going to medical school and becoming a pediatrician.

Doyal is not the only Cabrini student experiencing issues with private loans because of the economy.

In order to possibly avoid this situation, Zucker advises students to apply for additional financial aid as soon as possible.

Cabrini students are not the only students experiencing difficulty with private loans. University students are also experiencing difficulty staying enrolled.

Nicole Kennedy, junior psychology major at West Chester University, has been experiencing issues since her mother passed away.

“I went to community college my freshman year, so my parents paid for that out of pocket,” Kennedy said. “After my mom passed away, I decided to go to West Chester. My dad has bad credit, though, so I had to have my grandmother be the co-signer.”

Kennedy explained how she is currently having issues getting the private loan through Sun Trust Bank that she usually receives because of her grandmother’s age.

In order to help pay for school, Kennedy worked at a Starbucks in West Chester. Due to her lack of availability because of classes, Kennedy was recently laid off, adding to her stress about money.

Sami Daly, who would be a junior elementary and special education major at West Chester, had to leave because of her lack of private loans.

Daly, after not receiving enough financial aid, attempted to take out a private loan for a larger amount than usual.

“The [private] loan companies told me the reason for my denial was that I tried to take out too much on my credit and did not have enough credit history,” Daly said. “I have never had this problem [when applying for private loans] before.”

Since Daly could not get the private loans or enough financial aid to pay for tuition, the potential teacher had to withdraw from West Chester.

Now, Daly works full-time at an eye doctor’s office in an attempt to save up money to pay for her tuition and continue her education.

Caitlin Friel, junior English and communication major, sympathizes with students not being able to earn an education.

“With the way the economy is currently, getting an education is very important,” Friel said. “I feel terrible that Erin [Doyal] can’t finish at Cabrini. She is such a good student and was always working hard for all of her classes. It just doesn’t seem fair or right.”

Zucker advises students who are seeking additional aid to meet with John Haggerty, a counselor in Cabrini’s financial aid office.

“John can help students find grants or scholarships that they may be eligible for,” Zucker said. “Then, [he can] walk them through the application process.”

Doyal, Kennedy and Daly are not the only students experiencing difficulty receiving private loans; however, they have all found alternative ways to further their education now or in the near future.

“This is just another hardship that is going to make me more motivated,” Doyal said. “[I will] achieve what I want and be what I want.”

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Morgan Miller

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