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Features : Letters to Editor Last Updated: Jul 24, 2013 - 8:41:51 AM


Letters to the Editor - July 25, 2013
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Jul 24, 2013 - 8:40:49 AM

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Toiletry and other personal item collections now underway
Ever wonder what you can do with those travel size items you collect from hotels during your summer travels, but never end up using?  We have a use for them!
Bring your unopened soaps, shampoos, lotions, note pads, pens, sewing kits, etc. by one of the Daniel Island businesses listed below, and you will be helping Operation Christmas Child (OCC) and East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO).
These businesses have graciously agreed to be collection locations through July and August: Crescent Moon Orthodontics, Daniel Island Animal Hospital, Daniel Island Eye Care, Lucia’s Premium Pet, and Qwik Pack and Ship.
Most of us take it for granted that we can pick up these items at nearby stores. To those who are recipients of the ministries of OCC and ECCO, it’s just not that easy. Maybe it’s lack of funds to purchase the items, or maybe the items are not readily available. Please join us as we work to help others in our area, and around the world, with such a simple and easy donation.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse that provides simple shoebox gifts to children in second and third world countries around the world. While meeting the physical needs of the children through the gifts (pens and paper to allow them to attend school, toothpaste and tooth brush, bar soap, as well as fun toys and candy), OCC also sends a message of the gospel of Christ. The Charleston area has a team of volunteers who work year round to gather over 30,000 shoeboxes every November from organizations and churches around the lowcountry area.
Three of these volunteers live right here on Daniel Island: Pam Thesing, Jenny Hartzog and Jennifer Roberts. (For more information about how to get involved with OCC, contact Jennifer at jcsroberts@yahoo.com or 843-270-1161)
The East Cooper Community Outreach provides safety net services to our low income neighbors, while empowering them to create a better future for themselves, their families, and our communities. ECCO provides emergency assistance for food, clothing, household furnishings, and financial needs, as well as ongoing services including medical, dental, prescription drug assistance, education and counseling. ECCO strives to guide clients toward self-sufficiency, while improving the quality of life in our community in a compassionate way that respects the dignity and worth of every person.
So, gather all those toiletries items that you usually bring home and throw in a drawer, and bring to one of the above-listed collection locations.  We appreciate your help!
Sincerely,
Lee LoPriore


Federal Student Loans
It’s nearing the end of July and federal student loan rates, which are set each July 1, are still on the Senate table for discussion. The problem is that millions of students and parents have signed up for the Stafford and PLUS loan respectively and the rates are still being negotiated in the House, Senate and Congress. Meanwhile, these loans disburse to colleges at the beginning of August.  Absent any Congressional decision, the interest rate for both the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford loan is set to be 6.8% with 2.5% fees.
If there is a silver lining in this is that there is now pressure to get to an agreement and pass some bill before August 1st.  Personally, I find it incredible that students and parents have signed on for tens of thousands of Stafford and PLUS loans and don’t know what interest rates and fees they will pay. This week the Senate introduced an interest rate compromise that would lower all rates.  
If the compromise introduced on July 18 is approved, the rates will look a lot better and will be retroactive to July 1, 2013, as follows: 3.86% for both subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford and 6.41% for the PLUS loan for parents. The interest rate would be fixed for the life of the loan, which would make it easier on the student and parent to calculate the cost of borrowing over the life of the loan. There would be a cap as well so that the Stafford loan rate would not go over 8.25% while the PLUS cap would be 10.5%.
As it is many students have never borrowed before and find it hard to understand the meaning of repayment over ten years, the standard length of time, much less that the rates can change from year to year.  “Financial Aid 101” ought to be one of the first college courses that students should take upon setting foot on campus. I wonder then, once they knew how much skin they have in the game, if students would apply themselves more or whether they would drop out if they did not see the value.
Of course the remedy to all this is to lower college costs in order to make colleges or career schools affordable for students who demonstrate the potential to benefit.
C. Claire Law, M.S.
IECA independent educational consultant
Daniel Island


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