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The Daily Tar Heel

N.Y. Officials Suggest Aid In Form of Scholarships

N.Y. Gov. George Pataki and financial institutions seek loans and scholarships for victims' family members.

Proposals by financial institutions and Gov. George Pataki of New York intend to provide scholarships and loan extensions to those directly affected.

Work on both proposals began immediately after the tragedy when President Bush designated all five boroughs of New York City eligible for national disaster assistance.

Residents of the five boroughs who attend school in the city automatically qualify for college loan deferments and extensions.

As part of the first proposal, loan institutions have been informed by the U.S. Department of Education to grant extensions through Jan. 1, 2002.

Residents attending school outside the New York City boroughs can apply for the deferment through their loan institutions.

Both groups of students who want to defer their payments past their deadlines must apply directly to their loan institutions.

A press release from U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige stated that the deferment would ease financial burdens on affected students.

"We have pledged to help meet the needs of New Yorkers and other victims of the terrorist attack," he said.

Three main programs will administer this loan relief -- Federal Family Education Loans, the Federal Perkins Loan Program and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan.

Officials expect the proposal to affect a number of students throughout the UNC system. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators released guidelines for loan applications, which UNC administrators say they intend to use.

Shirley Ort, UNC-Chapel Hill director of scholarships and student aid, said officials should know the number of affected students by mid-October. "We really do not have much experience to go on."

Other more localized efforts include a scholarship for those affected within New York City attending school in the state.

Pataki announced the second proposal last week, which calls for a World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship.

The legislation, if approved by Congress, will guarantee free college tuition and room and board to the children and spouses of those killed or permanently disabled by the disaster. "These families should not have to worry about how they are going to pay for college, and with this measure, they will never have to," Pataki stated in a press release.

The proposal, which will go into effect immediately if approved, will pay for tuition at the State University of New York and the City University of New York. Tuition at SUNY is $3,400 a year, and tuition at CUNY is $3,200 a year.

With additional costs for room, board and transportation, the scholarship is worth about $12,000 per year with an estimated total of $47,000 for a four-year education.

Robert McCracken, New York City Chief of EMS Operations, stated in the press release that providing education to affected students is an appropriate response to the attacks.

McCraken said, "Recognizing the bravery of our personnel in this way is truly a gift that will provide peace of mind to the families of our fallen."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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