Home / Author Archives: WSS News (page 64)

Author Archives: WSS News

Homeownership Dream Achieved for a Senior

Ms. Carolyn in front of her new home

Ms. Carolyn in front of her new home

After raising her four children and putting them through college, Ms. Carolyn, at her 64 young years of age and disabled can finally call herself a homeowner. After living in an affordable senior housing complex, she recently moved into her newly renovated home in the City of San Bernardino. Aside from assistance from Housing Authority staff, partners such as the City Lift Program through Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire, Community Housing Trust Program through Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services, and the City of San Bernardino HOME Program helped make her long awaited dream a reality.

“A home provides a stable environment and I’m so honored and pleased to finally be a homeowner,” expresses Ms. Carolyn. “I’m excited every day to be here. I can finally spend more time with my grandchildren who can visit freely unlike when I lived in the senior community. This means a lot to me” continued Ms. Carolyn.

At a young age she aspired to attend college and eventually buy a home. However, she put her dreams aside to raise her children alone after her divorce. She spent her time nurturing, educating, and pushing her children towards a path of success. Now that they are all grown up and independent, she is focusing on her personal goals. “Everything is perfect,” emphasized Ms. Carolyn as she gleams with joy!  Good luck Ms. Carolyn in achieving your next endeavors and congratulations again!

County of San Bernardino to have Free HIV Testing

The 20th annual National HIV Testing Day is Friday, June 27, 2014.  With an estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV and one in six are unaware of their infection in the United States, this testing initiative’s message “Take the Test, Take Control” is a giant step in the right direction toward an AIDS free generation. The County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health Clinic Operations is hosting its annual free HIV testing event on Friday, June 27th 2014. The event will be at the corner of Baseline Avenue and “F” Street, in the City of San Bernardino from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

One of the goals of President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy is to reduce new HIV infection rates by 25% by the year 2015. This will take a combination of strategies: increasing HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention efforts in our communities, and increasing the number of people living with HIV who know their status. Although great strides have been made in the prevention of the spread of HIV, according to the 2010 AIDS Surveillance Report by the California Office of AIDS, there are up to 7,000 new cases of HIV in the state each year.

“Early HIV diagnosis is critical, so people who are infected can fully benefit from available life-saving treatments,” said Maxwell Ohikhuare, M.D., County of San Bernardino Health Officer. “Finding out whether you are infected with HIV is the first step to improving your health, and the health of your community.”

On June 27, 2014 HIV Testing counselors will be available to provide free testing and prizes, as well as answer any questions regarding HIV to community members who would like to know their HIV status. The Department’s Clinic Operations section provides conventional HIV antibody testing at all public health clinic locations.  Additionally, rapid HIV testing which provides results in 20 minutes is offered via a mobile testing unit at various alternative testing sites throughout the County of San Bernardino.

For more information on National HIV Testing Day events or about HIV/AIDS and testing, call the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health, AIDS program at (800) 255-6560, or Clinic Operations at (800) 722-4777.

July 1 Brings Higher Rates, Other Changes for New Federal Student Loans

Interest rates and fees rise, subsidized loans won’t accrue interest during grace period

Oakland, CA – July 1 is when most changes to federal student aid go into effect for the coming school year.  Several are lined up for 2014-15, including higher interest rates on new student loans for undergraduates, graduate students, and parents. The Institute on College Access & Success’ (TICAS) Project on Student Debt has created a new easy-to-read chart with interest rates, loan amounts, and other useful information about federal loans issued in 2014-15.

In 2013, Congress changed the interest-rate rules for federal student loans. Rates for new loans are now set each year based on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rate in the spring of that year plus a fixed percentage that varies based on the loan type. Those rates are then fixed for the life of the loans.

“Federal student loans are still the safest way to borrow for college, with fixed rates, flexible repayment options like income-based repayment, and consumer protections like discharges when schools close,” said Lauren Asher, TICAS president. “But with interest rates on the rise, federal loans are expected to cost students and families more over time than if Congress had simply left them alone last year. Without clear information about the benefits of federal loans, news of rising rates may lead more borrowers to take on much riskier private loans instead.”

The rates for new loans this year are lower than if Congress had let the old rules stand, but beginning next July, the rates on some loans are expected to be higher than under prior law.  According to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections, rates for new loans will rise substantially over the next decade and generate $127 billion in government profits at borrowers’ expense.  Under prior law, interest rates would have consistently been 6.8% for all Stafford loans and 7.9% for PLUS loans. Under currentlaw, CBO projects rates for undergraduates to exceed 6.8% by 2017, and rates for graduate students and parents to top their old levels in 2015, just one year from now.

The changes coming on July 1 also include some good news for students and families:

  • For new subsidized loans, interest won’t accrue during the six-month grace period before the first payment is due.  (This benefit was temporarily eliminated for subsidized loans issued in 2012-13 and 2013-14.)
  • The maximum Pell Grant will increase by $85 to $5,730 (up from $5,645), financed by savings from cutting costly middlemen out of the student loan process back in 2010. However, even with this increase, the maximum Pell Grant will cover less than a third of what it costs to attend a four-year public college, the smallest share since the program began.

And here’s how the higher loan costs break down for federal student loans issued in 2014-15:

  • Fixed interest rates
    • Stafford loans for undergraduates: 4.66% (up from 3.86% for loans issued in 2013-14).
    • Stafford loans for graduate students: 6.21% (up from 5.41% for loans issued in 2013-14).
    • Parent and Graduate PLUS loans: 7.21% (up from 6.41% for loans issued in 2013-14).
  •  Origination fees
    • Because of budget sequestration enacted by Congress in 2011, origination fees will rise for federal Direct loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2014. For Stafford loans the fee will be 1.073% of the loan principal (up from 1.072%); for PLUS loans it will be 4.292% (up from 4.288%).

TICAS’ 2013 white paper includes detailed recommendations to keep federal student loans affordable, streamline the loan program, and better target benefits, as well as broader reforms to increase college affordability and completion.

For more information on new student loan terms, please see our summary of Federal Student Loan Terms for 2014-15.