Financial Aid: National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Recommends Stronger Award Letters - The Inquisitr Financial Aid: National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Recommends Stronger Award Letters - The Inquisitr

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Financial Aid: National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Recommends Stronger Award Letters - The Inquisitr

Financial Aid: National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Recommends Stronger Award Letters - The Inquisitr

Financial aid is often a necessity for students entering college, especially if they choose to go to private universities. Because of this, the student loan debt for people in the United States has reached over $1 Trillion.

In light of the rising debt costs for students, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is recommending stronger and more clear aid award letters, so that students and parents have an accurate description of their loans, according to SFGate.

SFGate also reports that NASFAA President Justin Draeger stated:

“As Congress and the Obama administration explore ways to improve financial aid award letters, we encourage them to consider the recommendations put forth by financial aid professionals. Incorporating the recommendations of the professionals who assist students on a daily basis and have the best working knowledge of the financial aid programs will help maximize the effectiveness of award letters and avoid unintended, negative consequences of over-prescriptive standardization.”

In order to determine the best recommendations, the NASFAA (which is comprised of 20,000 financial aid professionals at 2,800 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country), reviewed proposals from many different places, including the Obama administration, reports SFGate.

They also stated that the NASFAA evaluated sample award letters from various colleges, and surveyed financial aid offices for feedback about the letters. Finally, they consulted with other higher education associations and student aid experts.

Some of the ten recommendations they include in their report are: specific elements award letters should incorporate, a glossary to standardize award letter terminology, and additional consumer information that should accompany award letters.

According to InsideHigherEd, the report also calls for requiring that all student loans, including those from private lenders, be reported to the federal government, possibly by expanding the National Student Loan Data System.

Do you think that financial aid award letters should be standardized, and include more information?

MEPs back EU financial transaction tax - BBC

MEPs have expressed a broad consensus in favour of a European financial transaction tax (FTT), during a debate in the European Parliament on 23 May 2012.

The European Commission has proposed a 0.1% tax on the trade in shares and bonds, and a 0.01% tax on derivatives trading.

Greek socialist Anni Podimata, the rapporteur in charge of the parliament's report on the matter, said such a tax should be an integral part of Europe's strategy to get out of the current crisis, as the money raised could stimulate much-needed growth and jobs.

Her arguments were endorsed by EU tax commissioner Algirdas Semeta, who said the move would create a fairer tax system and boost revenue without asking more of EU citizens.

This would help rebuild the relationship between the financial sector and ordinary citizens, which had been "greatly damaged" by the crisis, he believed.

Representatives of the parliament's centre-right, social democrat, Green and left-wing groups supported the proposals, as did the development and internal market parliamentary committees.

They all said it was right for the financial sector to share some of the burden of the financial crisis.

Finnish centre-right MEP Sirpa Pietikainen said it would put an end to risky banking, whilst German Green Sven Giegold suggested the tax should be applied to uncompleted transactions as well.

However, there is strong opposition in several member states to the so-called Tobin Tax - most notably the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has argued that such a tax would penalise the City of London, where 75% of European financial transactions take place.

'Greedy bureaucrats'

The agreement of all 27 states is required for the proposal to become law, which Ms Podimata said made it "exceedingly difficult" to make progress.

"We can't be held hostage by a handful of member states," she told the plenary.

Danish Economy Minister Margrethe Vestager said a number of challenges had to be solved if the tax is to be made workable.

She told MEPs the Council was working on a two-track proposal: looking at the Commission's idea as well as alternatives to a FTT, if a consensus cannot be reached between member states.

UKIP's Godfrey Bloom claimed the FTT was designed to damage London, and warned: "Don't kill the goose that lays your golden eggs."

He said he wondered if a special tax on high fashion in Paris, luxury cars in Germany, or sunshine holidays in Spain would be next.

"It's coming up your street next, the greedy bureaucrats just want your money."

The Conservative ECR spokesman, Czech MEP Ivo Strejcek, reiterated his groups's opposition to the proposals, arguing that increased taxation harmed growth and competitiveness.

He also warned that the measures could create more volatility in the financial sector, as traders look to other, less usual types of trade.

The move was also criticised by some liberal MEPs, and others warned that the tax would be passed onto ordinary citizens, affecting savers and pensioners.

The parliament backed the resolution calling for the introduction of a financial transaction tax later that day.

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

Stocks, euro drop as deadlock continues in Greece - Yahoo Finance

NEW YORK (AP) -- A political stalemate in Greece rattled financial markets worldwide on Monday, driving U.S. stocks lower.

The euro sank to a three-month low against the dollar and borrowing costs for Spain and Italy jumped as bond traders anticipated that financial stress could spread far beyond Greece. Investors dumped risky assets and plowed into the safety of the Treasury market, pushing yields to their lowest levels this year.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 125.25 points to close at 12,695.35. The Dow has lost more than half of its gains for the year in the past two weeks as worries resurface about Europe and the strength of the U.S. economy.

In Athens, talks between political parties to form a government dragged into a second week. The uncertainty has raised concerns that Greece could miss a debt payment and drop the euro currency. The worry is that if Greece leaves the currency union, bond traders may demand steeper borrowing rates from other troubled countries and push them deeper into debt.

The turmoil could easily spread to the U.S. through the banking system. "The large banks are globally connected," said Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott. "The concrete fear is that if Greece exits the euro, that would hurt European banks. They'll pull back lending to U.S. banks and then they'd be in worse shape."

In other trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 15.04 points to 1,338.35. The Nasdaq composite sank 31.24 points to 2,902.58.

The losses swept across the market. All 10 of the industry groups within the S&P 500 fell.

JPMorgan Chase's $2 billion trading loss continued to hang over bank stocks. JPMorgan dropped 3 percent following news that the executive overseeing its trading strategy would step down. Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, two banks with large trading operations, sank more than 4 percent.

The loss to JPMorgan appears "manageable," said Matt Freund, a portfolio manager at USAA Investments. "But people are looking at other banks and wondering who's going to be next? What else could be lurking?"

Major markets in Europe plunged. France's CAC-40 and Germany's DAX lost 2 percent. Benchmark indexes fell nearly 3 percent in Italy and Spain.

Traders shifted money into the safest of government bonds, pushing Treasury prices up and their yields down. The yield on the 10-year note hit a low for the year, 1.77 percent.

Since hitting its high for the year on May 1, the Dow has been on a steady slide, closing lower on seven of the previous eight trading days. The Dow's 1.7 percent loss last week was its worst since Dec. 16.

Despite the broad market decline, some stocks posted gains:

— Chesapeake Energy Corp. jumped 4 percent on reports that the investor Carl Icahn bought a stake in the natural gas company. Chesapeake's CEO said he'd welcome an investment by Icahn, who is known for shaking up companies.

— Yahoo gained 2 percent. The company replaced its CEO, Scott Thompson. Yahoo reportedly pushed Thompson out for padding his resume.

— Electronics retailer Best Buy Co. rose 1 percent after the company's founder, Richard Schulze, said he would step down as chairman. An investigation found that he knew the CEO was having a relationship with a female employee and didn't tell an audit committee.

Europe Stocks, Oil Slide on Debt Crisis Before EU Summit - Bloomberg
Enlarge image Euro Sinks to Lowest Since 2010

Euro Sinks to Lowest Since 2010

Euro Sinks to Lowest Since 2010

Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The euro sank to an almost two-year-low, while stocks and commodities tumbled.

The euro sank to an almost two-year-low, while stocks and commodities tumbled. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

May 23 (Bloomberg) -- Michael Buchanan, chief Asia-Pacific economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in Hong Kong, talks about Europe's sovereign debt crisis, its implications for Asian economies and China's economic growth. He speaks with Susan Li, Rishaad Salamat, John Dawson and Zeb Eckert on Bloomberg Television's "Asia Edge." (Source: Bloomberg)

May 23 (Bloomberg) -- Daphne Roth, head of Asian equity research at ABN Amro Private Banking in Singapore, talks about global stocks and her investment strategy. Roth also discusses the potential exit of Greece from the euro zone with Susan Li on Bloomberg Television's "First Up." (Source: Bloomberg)

U.S. stocks erased losses amid optimism European leaders will do more to halt contagion from the region’s debt crisis. The euro pared its drop after sinking to an almost two-year low and U.S. Treasuries trimmed gains. Oil closed below $90 a barrel for the first time since October.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.2 percent to close at 1,318.86, reversing a 1.5 percent tumble. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 6.66 points at 12,496.15 after plunging as much as 191 points. The euro was down 0.7 percent at $1.2592 after dropping to as low as $1.2545. Concern about Europe’s debt crisis earlier sent the German 30-year bund yield below 2 percent for the first time amid demand for assets considered to be safe.

European leaders were meeting today to discuss the region’s debt crisis after deepening concern Greece will exit the euro wiped about $4 trillion from equity markets worldwide this month. U.S. equities also rebounded as the S&P 500 approached a four-month low below 1,300 that it reached last week.

“Huge turnaround,” said Tim Ghriskey, who oversees about $2 billion as chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York. “There’s speculation that European leaders will take action to stabilize the situation with Greece. In addition, there’s a lot of cash on the sidelines looking to get into the equity market. Certainly the decline we’ve had recently might provide an opportunity.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael P. Regan in New York at; Rita Nazareth in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Baker at

Stocks erase hefty losses in last half hour -

After nearly a full day in the red, stocks erased most of their losses in the last half hour of trading Wednesday.

The S&P 500 ended higher by 2 points, or 0.2%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq added 12 points, or 0.4%.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones industrial average was basically flat, losing 6 points, or less than 0.1%. Not bad, considering the blue-chip index had fallen 190 points earlier in the trading day.

Bank of America, Alcoa and Walmart were the Dow's biggest winners, each gaining more than 1.3%.

Tech giants Intel and Microsoft were the biggest losers, each falling more than 2%.

Worries about Greece leaving the eurozone fueled pessimism from the start of the trading day, as did disappointing earnings, sales and outlook from Dell.

"The Dell news sent some fears through the tech sector," said Timothy Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management. "The concern is that this goes beyond just Dell. We saw similar news out of Cisco recently."

Investors were also keeping close tabs on Facebook and the unfolding saga there. Three investors sued Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg Wednesday, along with lead underwriter Morgan Stanley and others, accusing them of withholding negative information ahead of company's initial public offering.

Shares of Facebook, which lost 18% from its IPO price in the first two days of trading this week, rebounded about 3%. It was higher in earlier trading, pulling back when the investor lawsuit became public.

European leaders were meeting in an ad hoc summit to address the latest problems with sovereign debt. The meeting is occurring amid growing worries that Greece is moving closer to dropping the euro, and about what the contagion effects an exit might have on other economies.

Former Greek prime minister Lucas Papademos told Dow Jones Newswires late Tuesday that Greece is considering preparations to leave the eurozone.

"I think the biggest issue for U.S. markets remains the story in Europe," said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial Group. "Does Greece pull out of the eurozone and what kind of contagion does that cause?"

U.S. stocks ended flat Tuesday, turning lower during the final hour of trading on reports about Greece's preparations to leave the eurozone.

World markets: European stocks closed sharply lower. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 2.5%, while the DAX in Germany fell 2.3%. France's CAC 40 tumbled 2.6%.

The World Bank cut its growth estimates for growth in the Asia-Pacific region, including China. It now forecasts a growth of 7.6% this year -- down from 8.2% in 2011, and 10% as recently as 2010.

Asian markets ended lower following the World Bank's cut of growth forecasts. The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.4%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.3% and Japan's Nikkei tumbled nearly 2%.

Companies: Hewlett-Packard shares rose slightly in afterhours trading, after the company announced its earnings topped estimates. HP plans to reduce its workforce by 27,000 employees by October 2014.

Automaker Ford Motor had its debt upgraded out of junk bond status by Moody's late Tuesday -- an important benchmark for the automaker that will lower its borrowing costs, and allow it to reclaim collateral it put up for a credit line. Shares gained, as did those of rival General Motors, which is awaiting its own upgrade to investment grade.

Toll Brothers shares rose 2.5% after the homebuilder reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue that was in line with forecasts. It also upped its guidance for the second quarter.

Shares of Hormel edged 1.1% higher after the meat processor reported a better-than-expected gain in earnings before the open.

Economy: New-home sales rose more than expected in April to an annual pace of 343,000, up from 332,000 in March. The report follows a strong report on sales of existing homes Tuesday, in which sales climbed 10%.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar rose to its highest level in nearly two years against the euro. The greenback also edged higher versus the British pound, but lost ground against the Japanese yen.

Oil for July delivery slipped $1.95, or 2.1%, to $89.90 a barrel, the first time since November that it has fallen below the $90 benchmark. Officials from six world powers are due to hold talks with Iran in Baghdad on Wednesday about its nuclear program, raising hopes that there might be an deal that would end sanctions against Iran.

Gold futures for June delivery tumbled $28.20, or 1.8%, to $1,548.40 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury moved slightly higher, knocking the yield down to 1.74% from 1.79% Tuesday.

CANADA STOCKS-TSX edges higher on gold miners - Reuters UK

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