Category Archives: Student Aid

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Bipartisan Bill Aims to Provide Support for Homeless College Students

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on Tuesday introduced legislation that aims to remove barriers to access to higher education for homeless students and those in foster care.

The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act is sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington; Sen. Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio; Rep. Katherine Clark, Democrat of Massachusetts; and Rep. Don Young, Republican of Alaska. It…

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Lawmakers and Trade Group Criticize Education Dept. Move to Single Loan Servicer

A bicameral group of federal legislators on Tuesday sent a letter to Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, criticizing recent changes in how the Education Department chooses an outside company to service the billions of dollars in federal student loans it issues.

The lawmakers were led by Sen. Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington; Sen. Elizabeth A. Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts; Rep. Bobby Scott, Democrat of Virginia; and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Democrat of Oregon. “We have serious concern…

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Does State Support Have ‘Weak’ Connection to Tuition? Association Begs to Differ

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities is arguing against the implications of a new report from the American Enterprise Institute about the relationship between state funding for higher education and rising tuition at public colleges and universities.

The report, “Pennies on the Dollar: The Surprisingly Weak Relationship Between State Subsidies and College Tuition,” says state disinvestment in higher education has played a small role in the increasing cost of tuition. And th…

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Education Dept. Says It Will Pick Single Loan Servicer

The U.S. Department of Education will award one contract to Navient, GreatNet, or the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency to service student loans and to build a platform to do so, James Manning, the acting under secretary of education, told reporters on Friday. The move is part of the next phase of the department’s revamping of how it chooses an outside company to service the billions of dollars in federal student loans it issues.

In April, Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, with…

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DeVos Withdraws Obama-Era Memos Focused on Improving Loan Servicing

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday withdrew three memos, issued during President Barack Obama’s administration, that had been focused on streamlining the student-loan-servicing industry and improving customer service for borrowers.

Ms. DeVos described the move in a letter to James W. Runcie, chief operating officer of the Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid.

The three memos, issued by John B. King Jr., a former secretary of education, and Ted Mitchell, a former under sec…

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Breach of Financial-Aid Tool May Have Compromised Data on 100,000 Taxpayers

Nearly 100,000 taxpayers may have had their personal information compromised by a security breach of an Internal Revenue Service tool that makes it easier to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the Fafsa, according to the IRS commissioner, John Koskinen, who testified on Thursday before the Senate Finance Committee.

The tool, which mysteriously and abruptly went offline in March, is scheduled to be available again in October, officials have said. Mr. Koskinen testified that 3…

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Nearly 1 Million Community-College Students Lack Access to Federal Student Loans

Nine percent of community-college students, or nearly one million people, attend institutions that don’t participate in the federal student-loan program, according to a study released on Wednesday by the Institute for College Access and Success.

According to the group’s latest report, some community colleges say they opt out of federal student loans to keep students from borrowing too much money. As a result, the report says, students feel pushed to take out more-expensive private loans or to re…

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Report Ties State Aid to Improved Graduation Rates

Report: “Examining the Role of the State: Need-Based Grants and Their Effect on Student Persistence and Degree Completion”

Author: Ray Franke, an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Massachusetts at Boston

Summary: Although other researchers have looked at how students benefit educationally from federal or institutional aid based on need, few researchers have specifically examined how need-based state aid helps its recipients’ prospects for college completion.

Mr. Franke…

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Better Data Are Key to Improved Performance by Students and Colleges

As college costs and student-debt levels continue to rise, the public and policy makers are increasingly demanding evidence of a return on their investment. Yet, says a new report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, consumers lack critical information that would help them answer the trillion-dollar question “Is college worth it?”

The problem, according to the report’s author, Jennifer Engle, is not that the data to answer that question don’t exist, but that they’re not widely available or …

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One Reason Low-Income Students’ Graduation Rate Lags: Where They Enroll

Report: “The Pell Partnership: Ensuring a Shared Responsibility for Low-Income Student Success”

Organization: The Education Trust

Summary: The Education Trust gathered graduation rates for both Pell Grant recipients and nonrecipients of the need-based grants at 1,149 public and private nonprofit four-year colleges. It then analyzed the graduation gap between the two groups in a number of different ways.

Key Findings:

  • There’s a big difference between the overall graduation gap and the average in…