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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
As their state financing dwindled, four-year public universities increased their published tuition and fees almost 8 percent this year, to an average of $7,605, according to the College Board’s annual reports, says the New York Times. When room and board are included, the average in-state student at a public university now pays $16,140 a year. At private nonprofit colleges and universities, tuition rose 4.5 percent to an average of $27,293, or $36,993 with room and board. The good news in the 2010 “Trends in College Pricing” and “Trends in Student Aid” reports is that fast-rising tuition costs have been accompanied by a huge increase in financial aid, which helped keep down the actual amount students and families pay……Read More
Academia might be a bastion of liberal thought, but in the past two years, the higher-education industry often has lined up opposite the White House and congressional Democrats—and has spent a lot on lobbyists in the process, reports the Washington Post. The most recent example is the resistance from for-profit colleges to the Obama administration’s proposal to raise standards for institutions receiving federal student aid. But traditional colleges and universities also have opposed Democratic initiatives. First there was President Obama’s plan to cap the charitable tax deduction for the wealthy, bringing their tax break closer to everyone else’s. The measure would have raised $318 billion over 10 years, but it died quickly on Capitol Hill. Charities were the most visible opponents, but universities also worried that it would reduce giving by wealthy donors: the American Council on Education (ACE), higher education’s main trade group, lobbied on the issue in 2009, records show. The next conflict was over the Democratic proposal to eliminate subsidies for student loan providers. The overhaul would provide billions of dollars in Pell grants for low-income students and billions more for colleges to improve graduation rates. But schools were ambivalent about cracking down on private lenders, with whom they had built close relationships over the years. And they were opposed to the strings that would come with the additional institutional funding: requirements that they provide more data on student outcomes and submit to more state oversight……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
Riding the coattails of a historic health care vote, the House on March 21 also passed a broad reorganization of college aid that affects millions of students and moves President Barack Obama closer to winning yet another of his top domestic policies.
The bill rewrites a four-decades-old student loan program, eliminating its reliance on private lenders and using the savings to direct $36 billion in new spending to Pell Grants for students in financial need.
In the biggest piece of education legislation since No Child Left Behind nine years ago, the bill also would provide more than $4 billion to historically black colleges and community colleges.…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
Some college students will be able to use their allotted financial aid by swiping a debit card instead of waiting for paper checks to come to their dorm rooms or houses after Blackboard Inc. this week launched a student payroll system.
Officials from Blackboard, the largest provider of learning management systems (LMS) software in K-12 schools and colleges, said the Blackboard Pay program would not charge overdraft fees or other penalties common among banks and other companies that issue debit cards.
Blackboard is teaming up with First Data and Discover to distribute the cards, which students will use to spend the per-semester or annual aid they are granted through federal or private loans. Student card holders will be able to use the Blackboard Pay cards to get cash from ATMs with the Pulse, Allpoint, or STAR Network logos, among other companies.…Read More
Over the past decade and a half, the internet has made it easier for families to learn about, find, and apply for college scholarships, government grants, and other types of student financial aid. This transformation of the financial aid industry continues even today with a simplified federal aid form and a new XML data standard that will make applying for scholarships easier than ever.
I have acted as a catalyst for some of these major developments and have a unique perspective on the role of the internet in paying for college.
I founded the FinAid web site in the early 1990s to help people plan for and pay for college by making the process easier to understand and more efficient. FinAid was one of the internet’s first web sites, not just one of the first web sites about student financial aid. It is also one of the oldest web sites still in existence.…Read More