Roebuck supports new PA Forward Student Loan Program

HARRISBURG, May 7 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., today announced that PHEAA applications are available for the Commonwealth’s new PA Forward Student Loan Program, currently offering borrower-friendly loans for undergraduate and graduate students, and parent borrowers.

“As costs for college continue to increase, we need to make sure that loans and other means to make college more affordable are readily available and known,” Roebuck said. “I’m happy to shine some light on this new loan program to help lower monthly payments and reduce the amount that students have to pay over their lifetime. This is critical to reducing the crippling debt of the next generation.”

A PA Forward Refinance Loan will be offered later this year to combine all of a borrower’s federal and private loans into one convenient monthly payment, which could help lower their monthly payment and/or reduce the amount they pay over the life of the loan.

Roebuck said with first-year borrowing limits on federal loans as low as $5,500, and the annual average cost to attend college in Pennsylvania over $43,000 a year, many students have trouble affording the full cost of attendance even after taking advantage of available grants, scholarships, campus-based aid, and federal loans.

If family savings are insufficient, students often must rely on private student loans, many of which come with stricter credit requirements, higher interest rates, and few borrower benefits during repayment. Roebuck said it is just one reason why the average student loan debt for a Pennsylvania undergraduate student is nearly $37,000.

PHEAA will serve as the lender and loan servicer for this program, with tax-exempt allocation provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Leveraging the combined resources of the commonwealth will allow PHEAA to provide the programs at lower rates with better borrower benefits as compared to most commercial private loan programs.

PA Forward student loan borrowers can borrow up to the total cost of attendance with competitively low interest rates. Additional benefits include no applications or origination fees, and flexible repayment options and terms.

Borrowers can receive a .50% interest rate reduction upon successful graduation and an additional .25% interest rate reduction for immediate repay through direct debit. Student borrowers could also benefit from an available 6-month grace period after graduation before the first payment is due. This allows borrowers time to get their finances in order, including time to find a job, before repayment begins.

People who have further questions or would like additional information on PA Forward Student Loans are encouraged to reach out to PHEAA’s Office of Public Information at (717) 720-2509.