Staff members’ work reduces student loan rates
(ATHENS, Ohio – Oct. 8, 2013) With the average medical student
graduating with more than $185,000 in student debt, every saved
penny adds up.
The diligent work of two members in the Office of Student Affairs
will help OU-HCOM students who receive two types of federal loans
save money through lower interest rates.
On Aug. 9, President Barack Obama signed the “Bipartisan Student
Loan Certainty Act of 2013.” As a result, student loan interest
rates changed from a fixed amount to a new formula tied to the
uniform index rate of the Treasury bill, retroactive to July 1,
That change gave students in the Classes of 2016 and 2017, whose
student loans were disbursed after July 1, a Stafford Loan interest
rate of 5.41 percent (compared with 6.8 percent under the fixed
amount) and a Grad PLUS loan interest rate of 6.41 percent (compared
with 7.9 percent previously). Unfortunately, third- and fourth-year
students whose loans were disbursed prior to July 1 would be subject
to the higher interest rates.
However, Marie Barone, assistant director of financial aid, and
Michelle Kittle, administrative coordinator, found a way to help
loan recipients in the Classes of 2014 and 2015 qualify for the
lower rates. They realized that by reprocessing the remaining
amounts of the loans yet to be distributed, the lower interest rates
“There is nothing that we can do about the interest rate on the
summer disbursement of those loans, but we’ve been working behind
the scenes to cancel all of the upcoming loan disbursements for fall
and spring and re-issue them as ‘new’ loans,” Barone explained.
Revising the necessary paperwork and re-issuing the loan amounts for
the balance of the year allowed the fall and spring loan
disbursements to qualify for the lower interest rate. Of the 257
third- and fourth-year students, 242 receive one or both of the
“It was a lot of hard work and we weren’t required to do it, but
we’ve got to do everything that we can to watch out for our students
and help them by reducing their debt as much as possible,” Barone
The average third- and fourth-year OU-HCOM student borrows $47,167
in Stafford loans, Barone said. The fall and spring portion of that
amount is $31,445. “To be able to reissue this amount at the lower
interest rate will represent a nice savings for our students in the
long run,” she said.