Monday, February 16, 2009

Loan crisis goes to college

Posted By: Bovemsa Cheung

When parents and students try to line up college funding this spring, they will likely be in for a nasty shock. They may still get a loan, but it will come at a price. Borrowers will have a more limited choice of lenders and find discounts for on-time payments or direct debit scarce. On top of that, they'll see higher rates and fees.

The credit crisis, which started last year with mortgages and has bled into many other areas, is now affecting student loans. Many lenders, particularly smaller companies not affiliated with banks, are finding their main source of funding for private student loans cut off as investors balk at buying securities backed by these loans. This will force some to boost interest rates on private loans by up to 1 percentage point, raise minimum credit scores to 650 and require parents to co-sign the loans, experts said.

"If lenders are not able to securitize, they are not getting the capital to make new loans," said Mark Kantrowitz, who runs, a college funding Website based in Cranberry Township, Pa. "It's an issue of liquidity and cost of capital."

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