Student Loan Reform 101

What the new law, shoehorned into the health care bill at the eleventh hour, means for college kids.

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Also read: The rest of the 2010 MoJo Mini College Guide, plus the 2009 MoJo Mini College Guide.

Congress reformed more than just health care this year. Below, four ways the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act affects you:

 Your federal Stafford Loan will now be made directly by the Department of Education, saving the government tens of billions it used to pay in administrative fees to companies like Sallie Mae.

 If your parents’ combined income is less than $50,000, you qualify for a Pell Grant (PDF), and your yearly scholarship will increase by as much as $425.

 Community colleges and historically black- and minority-serving schools will get grants totaling $4.5 billion to use at their discretion.

 Once you finish school, your loan payments can be no more than 15 percent of your monthly salary. Students borrowing after 2014 will have to set aside only 10 percent of their paycheck for loans.

Also read: The rest of the 2010 MoJo Mini College Guide, plus the 2009 MoJo Mini College Guide.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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