Obama college loan plan aims at an old voting bloc

Obama will use his executive authority to provide student loan relief in two ways.

Seeking to shore up support among cash-strapped college graduates and students struggling with rising tuition costs, President Barack Obama is outlining a plan to allow millions of student loan recipients to lower their payments and consolidate their loans.

Outside of mortgages, student loans are the No. 1 source of household debt. Young voters were an important bloc in Obama’s 2008 campaign, and student loan debt is a common concern among Occupy Wall Street protesters.

Obama’s announcement, made Oct. 26 in Denver, came the same day a new report was released by the College Board. It shows average in-state tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose $631 this fall, or 8.3 percent, compared with a year ago.…Read More

Plan to outsource online classes to for-profit schools meets opposition

Some Nevada college officials oppose the creation of a new virtual school.

Members of a Nevada higher-education task force are pushing for a virtual college that would farm out community college courses to for-profit institutions, drawing criticism from educators who say the proposal constitutes privatization of public education and a lowering of academic standards.

In a report released in August by a task force created by the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), officials introduced a range of reforms for Nevada’s four community colleges, with one suggestion grabbing national attention: establishing a new institution, the Nevada Virtual College (NVC), and hiring a for-profit school to “develop and deliver curriculum” to students.

The statewide proposal comes after several years of negative headlines and government reports showing how for-profit college students leave school with far more loan debt than their counterparts at traditional colleges, along with questionable recruiting tactics by some of the best-known for-profit schools, all with vast online programs.…Read More

For-profit college default rate spikes; industry hits back

Some for-profit colleges have default rates of more than 25 percent.

Colleges and universities of every kind have seen student loan default rates jump this year, with for-profit schools that have recently come under government scrutiny recording the sharpest increase in defaults.

For-profit colleges and the industry’s lobbyist groups criticized a new report from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), released Sept. 12, that showed 15 percent of for-profit college students have defaulted on their school loans, marking a four-percent increase.

The report focuses on students who should have begun repaying their academic loans in 2009. Overall, the national student loan default rate rose from 7 percent to 8.8 percent.…Read More