“If I had only known then what I know now.” If it feels as if you know where this one’s going, it’s probably because you’ve heard it before. As student indebtedness continues its steady upward climb, it’s increasingly become a common refrain among cash-strapped college students and graduates, groaning under the weight of hefty student loan payments. Yet at a time when a $1 trillion student loan bill nationally continues to balloon and cripple so many, a new survey finds that the root of many students’ financial woes may have started long before they ever set foot on campus, CNBC reports. According to the first annual High School Student Borrowing Survey, conducted by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), nearly 50 percent of high school seniors in the U.S. can’t even guess how much money they will need to pay for college. What’s more, “even greater numbers appear unable to understand the basic terms of a student loan,” the survey concludes.…Read More
Simplifying the student aid process, requiring colleges to share in the risk from student loan defaults, and using technology to keep costs down were some of the ideas discussed at a recent summit addressing college costs.
Higher education must become more affordable, accessible, and attainable if the United States hopes to increase its global competitiveness, said a group of policy specialists, government officials, and higher-education stakeholders at the College Savings Foundation’s 2012 Summit, a gathering to address the ever-increasing college cost conundrum.
“What you do in policy depends on what you think the underlying factors are,” said Art Hauptman, a public policy consultant who specializes in higher-education finances. “Is this a cost-push or a demand-pull inflation?”…Read More
Washington State University officials are still working to clean up a financial aid mess partially caused by the implementation of a new, multimillion-dollar student information software program called Zzusis.
The problem surfaced on the first day of school, Aug. 20, and prevented thousands of students from getting their financial aid. The software problem was fixed the next day, said university spokesman Darin Watkins, but by then officials already were behind.
Ten days into school, some students are still waiting.…Read More
The Obama administration is asking the nation’s universities to adopt a standard and simple financial-aid form that would make it easier for students to understand exactly the costs of their loans at different schools across the country.
In a conference call with reporters July 23, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said they will urge American universities to adopt the new form in time for the 2013-14 school year.
Duncan said the administration lacks the authority to force schools to use the form.…Read More
It took Mario Parker-Milligan less than a semester to decide that he was paying too many fees to Higher One, the company hired by his college to pay out students’ financial aid on debit cards.
Four years after he opted out, his classmates still face more than a dozen fees — for replacement cards, for using the cards as all-purpose debit cards, for using an ATM other than the two on-campus kiosks owned by Higher One.
“They sold it as a faster, cheaper way for the college to get students their money,” said Parker-Milligan, 23, student body president at Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore. “It may be cheaper for the college, but it’s not cheaper for the students.”…Read More
Online programs at some colleges have stopped accepting student applications from states known as hotbeds for fraud rings that sign up students for courses, receive student loan payments, and disappear from the virtual classroom.
And some schools have created teams tasked with weeding out potential fraudsters who take millions in federally backed student loans every year, taking advantage of the relative anonymity of online classes.
Higher-education administrators from across the country gathered Jan. 27 for the annual Presidents’ Forum at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., where student aid fraud was discussed after the U.S. Department of Education (ED) warned colleges of the prevalence of fraud in a Dear Colleague letter released last fall.…Read More
California’s student aid commission said on Friday that aid funds going to students at for-profit schools should be slashed first when the state cuts its education budget, Reuters reports. The U.S. Education Department has criticized some for-profit schools, which range from universities offering PhD’s to trade schools offering car-repair training, for low graduation rates and high loan default rates. The California Student Aid Commission, which administers financial aid programs, voted unanimously on Friday to put Cal Grant aid to for-profit schools’ students at the bottom of its priority list when the state is forced to make budget cuts relating to education financing……Read More
A government report released Aug. 4 details “fraudulent” practices among recruiters for some for-profit colleges, and public criticism of the popular institutions has mounted as recent statistics show that at least one for-profit university received $1 billion in federal Pell Grants during the 2009-10 academic year.
Investigators from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) posed as college students and found that four out of 15 institutions they examined “encouraged fraudulent practices” to secure federal student loans, and representatives from all 15 colleges “made deceptive or otherwise questionable statements” to the undercover students, according to a report published on the GAO’s web site.
The extensive report is the latest in a string of negative publicity for for-profit schools, which include industry giants such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, and DeVry University.…Read More
In last-minute maneuvering designed to get the measure to pass, lawmakers eliminated $20 billion in proposed education funding from the student aid overhaul enacted by Congress last week—dampening enthusiasm for legislation that K-12 and higher-education officials had lobbied for over the past year. Of that $20 billion, $12 billion was slated for community colleges to boost graduation rates, partly through the development of open online courses, and $8 billion was pegged for an early-childhood education program.
Community college officials cheered the American Graduation Initiative (AGI) when lawmakers introduced the program last fall, but last-minute compromises and worries over the cost of the student aid bill forced legislators to eliminate the $12 billion set aside for AGI, observers said. The program aimed to help community colleges produce 5 million more graduates over the next decade.
AGI had included $500 million for an online skills laboratory modeled after Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI). The free, open internet classes were to be created by the Departments of Defense, Education, and Labor, according to a White House announcement.…Read More
Congressional Democrats on March 18 trimmed their original student loan plans, reduced spending for community colleges, and eliminated early childhood money from a broad rewrite of a college aid bill piggybacked on to fast-track health care legislation.
The student loan measure would be the biggest change in college assistance programs since Congress created them in the 1960s, ending a private-lender program by having the government originate all loans to needy students.
But facing savings smaller than anticipated from the switch and a shortfall in Pell Grant money for low-income students, Democrats are proposing no increases in over the next two years and a modest increase over the five years that follow.…Read More