For Immediate Release - April 12, 2010

GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES COLLEGE LOAN BENEFIT FOR MASSACHUSETTS STUDENTS

Affordable fixed interest rate loans offered to Massachusetts students attending college in 2010-2011 school year

EAST BRIDGEWATER - Monday, April 12, 2010 - As part of his commitment to creating educational opportunities for families and students across the Commonwealth, Governor Deval Patrick today announced the availability of low-cost, fixed interest rate college loans to help tens of thousands of Massachusetts families send their children to college this fall. These loans, offered by the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA), continue the Governor's efforts to provide affordable options for students pursuing higher education during challenging economic times.

"The first step toward future success starts with education and securing opportunities for tomorrow's workforce," Governor Patrick said. "Through our continued partnership with MEFA, we are making a college education affordable and accessible for more Massachusetts students and that's good news for all of us."

This year alone, the Patrick-Murray Administration has allocated $280 million in tax exempt bonds to MEFA to finance education loans. With a fixed interest rate starting at 6.89%, these college loans offer some of the lowest interest rates in the nation. Additionally, MEFA loans for undergraduate students offer multiple repayment options - immediate, interest-only or deferred repayment - so that families are able to choose an option that meets their needs. MEFA loans also offer a predictable and stable monthly payment of as little as $94.34 per $10,000 borrowed.

MEFA is one of only a few lenders nationwide to raise proceeds to fund college loans. Loan applications for the 2010-2011 academic year are now available.

"Every student must have the opportunity to continue their education past high school so we're thankful for the option the MEFA provides in helping students and their families pay for college," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "We want to make sure that financial obligations do not deter students from continuing their education and remain committed to providing the support necessary to encourage success."

"We at MEFA are grateful for the continued strong support of Governor Patrick," said MEFA Executive Director Tom Graf. "As families make difficult decisions about how to afford a college education, students need all the help they can get in order to further their education and set themselves on a path for future success. These loans are an important tool for families as they seek to assist their children in meeting their educational goals."

Currently, students across Massachusetts are receiving college acceptance letters and accompanying financial aid offers. MEFA loans are an attractive option for families seeking financial assistance beyond federal, state and institutional programs as MEFA's 6.89% interest-rate loan is lower than the Federal PLUS loan for parents, which carries an interest rate of 7.9%. MEFA's flagship loan is also more competitive than most other education loans offered by private banks and lenders, which can carry interest rates of up to 18 to 20 percent, and are often variable-rate, not fixed.

Students and families can explore repayment options and apply for MEFA loans online at www.MEFA.org/collegeloans or by phone at (800) 449-MEFA. MEFA has trained education payment counselors available to offer one-on-one assistance as families evaluate higher education financing options.

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