Here’s How Parents Can Repay Parent PLUS Student Loans


Parents are borrowing more to send their children to college and struggling to repay those loans, says a new study from The Brookings Institution.

Here’s what you need to know and what to do about it.

Latest Student Loan Debt Data: Parent PLUS Loans

According to recent data, at least 3.4 million Parent PLUS borrowers owe $87 billion (not including any consolidated loans). That represents approximately 6% of total outstanding student loan debt of $1.5 trillion.

The rise in Parent PLUS Loans has been driven by increased tuition, the elimination of borrowing caps and regulatory changes, among other reasons.

Today, the average Parent PLUS Loan balance is $25,600, with annual borrowing amounts having more than tripled over the last 25 years.

What Is A Parent PLUS Loan?

A PLUS loan is a federal loan that graduate students, or parents of dependent undergraduate students, can borrow to pay for college or a career school. Parent PLUS Loans, in particular, refer to loans borrowed by parents on behalf of a dependent undergraduate student.

The parent is the borrower, and the lender is the U.S. Department of Education. A parent can borrow an amount up to the cost of attendance, less any financial assistance received.  


Bihar Board Releases Answer Key For Simultala Awasiya Vidyalya Entrance Exam

Bihar Board Releases Answer Key For Simultala Awasiya Vidyalya Entrance Exam

Bihar Board Releases Answer Key For Simultala Awasiya Vidyalya Entrance Exam

New Delhi: 

Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) has released the answer key for the Preliminary Entrance Exam conducted for admission to Simultala Awasiya Vidyalaya. The entrance exam for admission to class 6 was conducted on December 3, 2018. The answer key link will remain active on the website till December 10, 2018 in which time students will also be able to submit their objections, if any.

The answer key has been released for all question paper booklets (A, B, C, and D). In case of any objection, either on the questions or answer key, students can follow the steps given below to submit their objection:

Step one: Go to Bihar Board’s official website:

Step two: Click on the ‘Objection Panel for Simultala Awasiya Vidyalaya, Simultala, Jamui Entrance (Preliminary) Examination 2019’ link.

Step three: Submit objection on the question paper or answer key on the objection panel.

Students should submit their objections by December 10. Any request for submission of objection after the last date will not be entertained by the board.

Simultala Awasiya Vidyalaya is an initiative by the Bihar Government to make quality education available to students from underprivileged background. The school has produced many toppers in the past years. In 2018 too, all three state board toppers in the matric exam were from the Simultala Awasiya Vidyalaya.


Rajasthan Congress releases manifesto, promises to waive farm loans

Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot released the Congress party manifesto ahead of the assembly elections 2018. (File Photo: PTI)


  • Pilot said that Congress intends to give Rs 3,500 monthly allowance to unemployed youths in the state
  • Legislation for the protection of journalists in the state is also promised in the manifesto
  • The party has promised to provide free education to women and jobs to youth

The Rajasthan Congress on Thursday released the party manifesto, promising to waive the loan of farmers and provide free education to women and jobs to youth.

Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot, former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and chairman of the manifesto committee Harish Choudhary released the party manifesto. Pilot said the manifesto was prepared after taking opinions through multiple platforms such as social media.

Two lakh suggestions were received for the preparation of the manifesto, he said.

Pilot said the Congress party will waive the loans of farmers if voted to power, an announcement the party president had made during an election meeting in Jaisalmer’s Pokhran Assembly constituency on Monday.

He said the Congress intends to give Rs 3,500 monthly allowance to unemployed youths in the state.

The party has also promised to bring a legislation for the protection of journalists in the state. The party has promised to form an implementation committee for time-bound implementation of the manifesto.


West Bengal Board Class 10 Question Papers To Be Opened Before Students

The WBBSE decision came in the wake of reports of malpractices happened during board exams last year

West Bengal Board Class 10 Question Papers To Be Opened Before Students


In a departure from the norm, the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE) on Tuesday announced that question paper packets will henceforth be opened in front of Class 10 candidates, shortly before the commencement of the examination. Earlier, the sealed packets were broken in the office of the institution’s headmaster and papers sorted accordingly before distribution among the students.

“From 2019, the sealed question packets of Madhyamik examination (Class 10 board exam) will be opened by invigilators in front of students in the examination hall and distributed accordingly,” Board president Kalyanmoy Ganguly said.

Sources said the WBBSE decision came in the wake of reports that the headmaster of a Jalpaiguri school, during the 2018 secondary examination, opened sealed question papers 35 minutes before the scheduled time.

The headmaster was suspended by the Board after he failed to give a satisfactory reply to a showcause notice issued to him.

There were also reports of question paper leak on WhatsApp in 2017, but the board, back then, asserted that the paper circulated was “fake”.

Mr Ganguly said the WBBSE members, along with officer in-charge of local police station and a district administration official, will hold meetings with the head of examination centres to ensure that the measures were implemented without glitches.

“This time, the number of question papers in the packets will tally with the number of examinees in the hall. There will be no sorting beforehand,” he said.

The new measure was aimed at ensuring that ex


Government of India and Asian Development Bank collaborate for three projects

The Government of India takes initiative to develop water supply, sewerage, and drainage infrastructure in at least 10 cities in the State of Tamil Nadu.

The government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ABD) signs three separate loans in one day of worth USD 574 million in the capital of India to support the projects India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL) in India, wat

  • Eatablished in 2006, IIFCL also referred as SIFTI, is a government of India company.
  • IIFCL provides financial assistance to the infrastructural sub-sectors listed by the government or the RBI which broadly include transportation, energy, water, sanitation, communication, social, and commercial infrastructure
  • The ADB and the government signed a loan agreement of USD 300 million to support IIFCL
  • This project is believed to enhance the availability of long-term finance for PPP projects, improve the operational capacity of IIFCL, and expand the portfolio of infrastructure financing instruments available to IIFCL
  • IIFC has also made a contribution of Rs 300 crore to the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF)
  • This contribution is being utilized for the promotion of sports in the disciplines like Badminton, Archery and Para Sports.
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a USD 169 million loan as the first tranche of a USD 500 million multi-tranche financing to develop climate-resilient water supply, sewerage, and drainage infrastructure in at least 10 cities in the state of Tamil Nadu.
  • The state has faced recurring droughts and erratic monsoons in the recent past resulting in severe water scarcity and urban flooding.
  • ADB’s support will help address these complex urban challenges through innovative and climate-resilient investment and deeper institutional support
  • The program will develop climate-resilient sewerage collection and treatment and drainage systems in 10 cities
  • It will also help in installing country’s first solar-powered sewage treatment plant
  • Introduction of smart water management systems will help reduce non-revenue water and strengthen operational efficiency
  • Around four million people will benefit from piped water and sewerage connections, and improved drainage
  • The program will boost institutional capacity, public awareness, and urban governance as a part of a comprehensive approach for developing livable cities.
  • The ADB signed a USD 105 million loan to continue financing the transmission system upgrades in Himachal Pradesh for increased supply of hydropower to the state and the national grid
  • The tranche 3 loan is part of the USD 350 million multi-tranche financing facility (MFF) for Himachal Pradesh Clean Energy Transmission Investment Program approved by the ADB Board in September 2011
  • The program is aimed at developing and expanding the transmission network to remove clean and renewable power generated from the state’s hydropower sources to load centers within and outside the state
  • It also supports the institutional capacity development of the state transmission utility, Himachal Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Limited (HPPTCL), as the executing agency for this project.


Podcast | Digging Deeper: Decoding the pre-election sops to MSMEs

Image result for Podcast | Digging Deeper: Decoding the pre-election sops to MSMEs

The frenetic election season will bring with it controversies, sops, slogans, rallies and a lot more and media platforms will as always struggle to keep up with it all.

From the time the government reached out to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with  overtures to boost their growth, analysts have tried to understand not just the reasons and the implications of the move but the fine print underscoring it.

In this Moneycontrol Deep Dive podcast. we examine whether the 59-minute loan sanction for small businesses  is a gimmick or a masterstroke.

On November 6, Debabrata Das, wrote a piece in Fortune India with this headline, ” With an eye on elections, government gives boost to MSME sector.”

The  article exhibited a pattern of inquiry that is essential to make sense of sweeping economic decisions. It is after all still hard to completely deconstruct the reasons and outcomes of demonetisation. Or successfully  evaluate the management of the goods and services tax (GST). Or even to foretell the impact of Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) directives that are currently causing panic among ATM operators. But we must try, right?  If only,  because such complex ideas  have the potential of affecting citizenry in a far-reaching  manner.

And in retrospect, demonetisation and GST impositions did adversely impact  among other things, small and medium businesses.  And hence economic policy makers must think of not just the immediate returns of  a momentous announcement but also how it will  pan out in the future, in real time, when implemented.

And that is why it is important that the MSME goody bag is examined in its entirety. Especially because there has been an unprecedented tension between RBI  and the central government over the liquidity issues pertaining to easing credit availability to micro, small and medium enterprises. And as always there is that unavoidable question. Why now?

What about the timing?

 As Debabrata wrote in the Fortune piece, “At a time when the talk of a liquidity crunch in the Indian financial system is rife, it seems odd that micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have been promised that loans below Rs 1 crore would be sanctioned in less than an hour. But when you put it in the context of a general election next spring, the government’s efforts to pacify the MSME sector, which been through the wringer in the past two years, starts to make sense.

For nearly two years, the MSME sector has borne the brunt of the government’s policy measures. With demonetisation first and then the haphazard implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), the MSME sector had been left cash-strapped.” Unquote.

The author cites  MSME Pulse report from TransUnion CIBIL and the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to report  how the percentage of non-performing assets in the loans given to the sector grew to 17.2 percent this June, from 14 percent in December 2016. According to the report, he says, the total credit exposure in India to the MSME sector is Rs 22.8 lakh crore.

Adding to the woes of the sector was the fact that loans were tough to come by. This was , says the author, because  11 of the 21 public sector banks are facing lending restrictions as they are under the Reserve Bank of India’s prompt corrective action (PCA) framework.

“With a financing requirement of nearly Rs 4.5 lakh crore over the next two year, it was assumed that the non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) will step up into the space left vacant. However, in the aftermath of the meltdown of the biggest NBFC in the country, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS), the entire industry is strapped for cash.”

A political decision?

 As expected , says the piece, traditional support base among MSMEs for the ruling party was getting increasingly antagonised but things took a swift turn when a large support package was announced for the sector.

As the piece elucidates, “Prime amongst the measures was the promise of loans of less than Rs 1 crore being sanctioned in less than an hour. These loans can be accessed through a link on the GST portal. Further, all GST-registered MSMEs would get a 2 percent interest subvention for fresh and incremental loans. And for exporters who receive loans in the pre-shipment and post-shipment period, there would be an increase in interest rebate to 5 percent from the existing 3 percent.

MSMEs with a turnover above Rs 500 crore would be brought on to the Trade Receivables e-Discounting System (TReDS) where entrepreneurs would be able to access credit from banks based on their upcoming receivables.” Unquote.

Additionally,  as the piece informs, public sector companies have been asked to procure 25 percent  of their total purchases from MSMEs and of this 3 percent should be from MSMEs promoted by women entrepreneurs. We quote, “To improve the ease of doing business for MSMEs, clusters would be formed, initially for pharmaceutical sector MSMEs; regulations with regard to labour laws have been relaxed; inspections would be done through a computerised random allotment; and environmental clearance has been simplified.” Unquote.

Vinod Parmar, global head of sales and marketing at Vayana Network is cited and he opines that linking loan approvals to GST returns will encourage more and more MSMEs to become a part of the formalised economy. Besides, any platform which can reduce friction and give convenient access to finance to the MSMEs will see rapid adoption, according to him.

What will be the big gain?

 The bigger question is IF the growth of MSMEs will benefit from these measures. It goes without saying as the piece suggests, that the well-being of 65 million MSMEs in the country that employ  120 million people, will impact which way the election results swing in 2019. As the author says, “Disruption in credit to the sector could affect both jobs and the MSME entrepreneurs. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a penchant for making mega announcements near the festival of Diwali. This year, the focus clearly is on the elections, which is why the traders who form the BJP’s traditional support base have a lot to cheer about.” Unquote.

The larger picture

 On November 6, Ravi Krishnan wrote a Moneycontrol  piece that also went beyond the optics of the sops to convey that an inordinate price should not be paid for a short -term gain. The central argument being, “It is important that MSMEs get access to credit, but it should not come at the cost of banking sector’s health.”

The piece concedes that access to formal credit is a serious issue for most micro, small and medium firms in India. And on the surface, it seems that the government is seeking to fill this gap with its 12-point programme announced on November 2.

The slip between the cup and lip as far as lending to this sector goes, can be attributed to the fact that about 97 per cent of MSMEs operate in the informal sector and without  formal documentation and records, loans are hard to come by.

We quote, “Bank credit has been slow in recent years. Although it picked up recently, banks have ceded space to NBFCs or  Non Banking Financial Companies who have doubled their share in MSME credit from 5.5 per cent in December 2015 to around 10 per cent by March 2018. That’s why when a liquidity crunch is feared to hit NBFC lending, the government has been pushing the central bank to open a special window for such firms and also be lenient in recognising MSME defaults.” Unquote.

But even good intentions must consider how much they will cost.

As the author says, “While an attempt to help out the MSME sector is commendable, sanctioning a loan of Rs 1 crore in just 59 minutes looks like a gimmick that can have unintended consequences. It could mean subtly putting pressure on state-owned banks to lend to this sector. Public sector banks would do well not to relax their credit appraisal and assessment in a rush to meet this artificial deadline. As it is, in a sector that is reeling from demonetisation and  the imposition of Goods and Services Tax (GST), the level of delinquent loans is pretty high. According to SIDBI’s MSME Pulse, the non-performing assets ratio ranges from 8.7 percent to 19.5 percent depending on the size of the loan taken.” Unquote.

It is now an established fact that public sector banks have been hit badly with about 15. 2 percent of their MSME loans turned sour at the end of June 2018 compared to 5 percent for NBFCs and 3.9 percent for private banks.

Says the author, “Unbridled, forced lending to the sector could reverse the gains made by banks in recognizing and resolving their bad loans. Thus, the government would do well to take steps to help MSMEs beyond opening credit channels. Indeed, some of this has already been done. Asking companies with a turnover above Rs 500 crore to register themselves on the Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS) receivables platform will help MSMEs tackle cash flow problems and enhance their access to credit, since banks will have greater security (and documentation) in extending loans.

Indeed, the larger question policymakers should ask is why do MSMEs remain small and operate in the informal economy. The answer lies in complex regulations and lack of infrastructure. The GST, which is supposed to help ease the tax burden, is a case in point.” Unquote.

It is of course important to recognise the unrealised potential  of MSMEs as they contribute to a fifth of the country’s labour force, about 45 per cent of manufacturing output and 40 percent of India’s exports.

However, to help them thrive,  improving infrastructure and ease of doing business are a must. Some steps that have been announced must be lauded as checking unwarranted inspections of factories, simplifying penalties for minor offences under the Companies Act etc but as the piece points out, more such measures are needed rather than directed lending.

The pitfalls

 What could go wrong with populist measures like indiscriminate lending? Well, plenty.  The MSME package promises loan clearances in 59 minutes flat, disbursal within 10 days and concessional interest rates on borrowings. It was a great idea, but a flawed decision, says  consulting editor  RN Bhaskar   in a Moneycontrol piece on November 22. We quote, “The  Banks are already weakened by bad loans. Concessional interest rates and forcing them to increase their allocation of funds to MSMEs from the existing 20-25 percent is not a wise way of strengthening the banking sector. ” Unquote.

The article recognises the importance of the MSMEs in the organised sector work force and cites  The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises’ annual report for 2017-18 which pointed out that this sector accounted for Rs 39 lakh crore of gross value added (GVA), or about 31.6 percent of the country’s GVA.

And of the jobs they provide, about five crore  are in rural areas, making its support crucial during elections in states like Uttar Pradesh, which accounts for 14 percent of all MSMEs.

But the author points out that the only dark cloud is that the rate at which they have been growing has been declining consistently. We quote, “They grew by 15 percent in 2012-13, 12.3 percent in each of the two following years, and only 7.62 percent in 2015-16.

Clearly, they needed incentives and a bit of prodding to accelerate their growth rate. Demonetisation had hit them very hard and so did the Goods & Services Tax (GST). The latter has increased their need for working capital because GST must be paid at the time of invoicing, even before the money comes into their kitty.


Before you pause your student loan payments, consider the risks

Silhouette Portrait of a graduate in cap and gown


Yet when your payments resume, they’re often higher because your debt has swelled, thanks to interest.

The Associated Press, citing a 2017 Department of Education audit, reported this week that Navient, one of the country’s largest student loan servicing companies, steered tens of thousands of struggling borrowers into costly delays of their payments, known as “forbearances.”

Made conscious decision to focus on quality, not quantity of loans: SoFi CEO Anthony Noto   4:00 PM ET Tue, 23 Oct 2018 | 03:12

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau alleges that Navient added more than $4 billion in interest to borrowers’ debt through the misuse of forbearances between 2010 and 2015. Navient disputes the allegations in the audit and those by the CFPB.

Despite the fact that putting off payments increases their debt, nearly 70 percent of people who began repaying their student loans in 2013 had their debt in forbearance for some period, according to an April report by the Government Accountability Office.

What else can a borrower do?

Borrowers should first ask whether a deferment is available before they opt for a forbearance, said Bruce McClary, vice president of communications at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

That’s because interest does not accrue on subsidized student loans during an economic hardship deferment, for example, as it does with a forbearance. There are also deferments for cancer patients now.

If your difficulty repaying your student loans is unlikely to come to an end any time soon, you might want to enroll in an income-driven repayment plan, which caps your monthly payment at a percentage of your income. Some monthly bills wind up totaling nothing.

Is a forbearance ever a good idea?

Borrowers who find themselves in a short-term difficulty, such as a medical leave or temporary unemployment, might want to consider forbearance, said Mark Kantrowitz, an expert on financial aid and publisher of

A forbearance typically lasts a year, and borrowers can use the option up to three times.

If possible, however, people should request a partial forbearance and keep up with at least their interest payments during the break.

“This will prevent your loan from growing larger during the forbearance,” Kantrowitz said.

Can I trust my lender?

Given that student loan servicers might not always provide borrowers the best information, it helps to review your options with a nonprofit such as The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, an organization that offers free advice and dispute resolution.


Top 5 must-knows for education loan tax deduction

Gaurav Aggarwal

Education plays a crucial role in the economic development of all societies. While there is a universal acknowledgement to the need for public funding of primary and secondary education, public funding of higher education in a developing country like India is not feasible.

Thus, recognising the importance of higher education and the role of institutional funding to deal with rising cost of higher education, the policymakers came out with tax deduction on education loans under Section 80E.

The objective was to relieve interest burden from education loan borrowers through tax incentives. However, to claim the tax deduction, the borrowers have to meet certain conditions.

Here is a list of ‘must-knows’ regarding tax deduction on education loans:

Principal component does not qualify for tax deduction:

Borrowers often misunderstand tax exemption provisions available on education loan. This stems from tax exemptions available on home loan where both principal and interest components of EMIs qualify for tax deductions under Section 80C and 24b, respectively.


Is Uber a Taxi Company or Not? The EU’s Top Court Will Decide

Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

Uber Technologies Inc. is set to reach the end of the road in a legal battle over a question that’s reached the European Union’s top court — is the world’s most valuable startup a taxi company or not?

Uber has argued that it’s a technology platform connecting passengers with independent drivers, not a transportation company subject to the same rules as taxi services. The decision is being closely watched by the technology industry because it could set a precedent for how firms in the burgeoning gig economy are regulated across the 28-nation bloc.

“The judgment will either promote the digital single market or lead to more market fragmentation for online innovators,” said Jakob Kucharczyk, of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which speaks for companies like Uber, Inc., Google and Facebook Inc. “The court should make a clear distinction between the online intermediation and the underlying service it facilitates.”

The case centers around UberPop, an inexpensive ride-hailing service in several European cities that allowed drivers without a taxi license to use their own cars to pick up passengers. Legal challenges have forced Uber to shutter its UberPop services in most major European countries in favor of UberX, which requires drivers to get a license.

A loss for Uber would mean countries in the EU will have to classify Uber as a transportation service. While Uber adheres to many taxi laws in countries where it operates, the case could lead to new regulations and fees.

“Any ruling will not change things in most EU countries where we already operate under transportation law,” Uber said in a statement. “However, millions of Europeans are still prevented from using apps like ours. As our new CEO has said, it is appropriate to regulate services such as Uber. We want to partner with cities to ensure everyone can get a reliable ride at the tap of a button.”

Gig Economy

The question of whether Uber is a transport service has long vexed regulators and lawmakers across Europe. Uber has faced roadblocks, real and regulatory, in the region, amid complaints brought by taxi drivers who say the company tries to unfairly avoid regulations that bind established competitors.

Start ups argue that their apps offer flexible hours to workers. Regulators, governments and unions allege that companies are profiting on the backs of people without benefits such as overtime pay or vacation time.

Without the pressure from regulators, companies in the gig economy will force rivals to employ similarly aggressive tactics, said Andrew Taylor, who earlier this year was commissioned by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May to come up with recommendations to regulate the new business types.

“There’s a danger of a race to the bottom,” Taylor said. “Major American companies are treating national norms, culture, regulators and tax systems in a cavalier way.”

Status Quo

Mark Graham, professor at the Oxford Internet Institute, said the scrutiny represents a shift against companies that have avoided regulations facing more traditional businesses in the markets they are trying to disrupt by classifying themselves as technology platforms.

Uber isn’t the only business model being questioned by policymakers. In Paris, regulators are clamping down on Airbnb, whose home-rental service has drawn complaints from hotels that are subject to a different batch of rules. Deliveroo, the food-delivery service, is also facing scrutiny over its treatment of workers in the U.K. and elsewhere.

The EU court’s decisions in this and a pending case may bring clarity for Uber’s continuing battles in national courts. London has become a lighting rod for all of the company’s problems. The car-service provider is fighting regulators and drivers in court as it tries to protect its hold on its busiest market outside of the US.

London’s transport regulator banned Uber in September, citing safety concerns, and an appeal will be heard as soon as April. Two drivers successfully sued the company over vacation and overtime in a suit that would force Uber to radically change the way it treats its drivers.

The case is: C-434/15, Asociacion Profesional Elite Taxi.

— With assistance by Jeremy Hodges


Cable companies are looking for ways to limit password sharing

Cable companies are over people sharing logins with all their friends and family. As first spotted by Bloomberg, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said at the annual UBS conference this month: “There’s lots of extra streams, there’s lots of extra passwords, there’s lots of people who could get free service.”

Charter has made cracking down on password sharing a priority during negotiations with channel providers. Bloomberg reports that the company requested Viacom help limit password sharing by reducing the number of simultaneous streams allowed on its apps. Rutledge tells Bloomberg that channel owners bear most of the blame for the current cable situation. They don’t secure their apps and, he says, “they devalued their own product in a dramatic way.”

Meanwhile, ESPN tells Bloomberg it wants to work with channel distributors to verify subscribers whenever there are a large number of people streaming through the channel’s app.