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Officials Say New Loan Law Should Benefit Many Students

By William E. Mckibben

University officials yesterday predicted more students will receive federal tuition assistance next year because of legislation President Carter signed Wednesday extending government-subsidized loans to all students regardless of family income.

"There is no question that this will make a difference in Harvard's ability to help students," Seamus P. Malin '62, assistant dean for admissions and financial aid said yesterday. "There is no question that this will make a lot more money available."

Under the new law, any student, regardless of family income, will be eligible for a government subsidized loan. In the past the government has subsidized only those loans going to families with an adjusted income below $25,000, R. Jerrold Gibson '51, director of the fiscal services department, said yesterday.

The government subsidy on the 7 per cent loans means that students will not have to begin paying back the debt until nine months after graduation. Savings on interest payments could run "upwards of $1,000 on a $1,500 a year loan" Gibson said.

Gibson estimated that of the 4,000 students in the University currently receiving loans for their education, 80 per cent of those loans came from federal programs. Since all but about 5 per cent are currently subsidized by the federal government, the new law should not have much effect on those currently receiving federal assistance, Gibson said.

"The biggest impact here will be in terms of people deciding to take loans, people who would not have received the subsidy under the old laws" Gibson said.

The bill also expands eligibility for Basic Educational Opportunity Grants to include students with adjusted family incomes up to $25,000. The previous ceiling for receiving BEOG grants was $13,000 a year in adjusted family income.

Additionally students whose adjusted family incomes fall below the $25,000 ceiling can only qualify for the grants if their families spend 10.5 per cent of their discretionary income on education. Previously, the discretionary income figure used to be 25 or 30 percent, Gibson said.

He added that "these really are revolutionary changes. This is the biggest increase in educational aid ever in one year."

The federal money may affect both student decisions about where to apply to college and what school to attend if accepted, L. Fred Jewett '57, dean of admissions and financial aid, said yesterday.

Although cautioning that "it is too early to tell for sure," Jewett said that "there will certainly be people in the margins who will have their final decisions affected by the new aid."

Harvard has in the past provided loans beyond the federal income limits said Jewett, but "they were unsubsidized. The subsidy is definitely a big plus."

The legislation, which will have to be reauthorized each year, goes into effect September 1 of next year. Malin said he thinks its passage came too late too affect this year's potential applicants.

Harvard, along with other schools, lobbied to get the legislation passed. "We worked with staff and Congressmen to tell them what we thought would be most helpful" Gibson said

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