Category Archives: Financial Aid

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Western Governors U. Might Have to Repay $700 Million in Student Aid

After an audit of Western Governors University, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General has concluded the university was ineligible to award financial aid to its students and should return more than $700 million to the government.

For more, see this Chronicle article.

As part of its decision, the office is recommending that the Department of Education require the nonprofit university to return $712,670,616 in federal Title IV financial-aid funds distributed to Western Gove…

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Bipartisan Senators Resist DeVos’s Switch on Loan Servicing

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. Senate introduced legislation on Monday that would cancel the Department of Education’s process to choose a contractor to service the billions of dollars in student loans that it issues.

The legislation, the Student Loan Servicer Performance Accountability Act, is sponsored by Sen. Roy D. Blunt, Republican of Missouri; Sen. Elizabeth A. Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts; Sen. James P. Lankford, Republican of Oklahoma; and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat …

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Maryland Limits Scholarship Displacement by Public Colleges

A new Maryland law limits the ways that public colleges can decrease financial aid, a practice referred to as scholarship displacement, The Baltimore Sun reports.

The law, which took effect on July 1, places limits on when a college can reduce its own financial aid. Institutions can do so when a student’s aid exceeds the cost of college if colleges get permission from a scholarship provider.

A student who gets a private scholarship after receiving financial aid from a college must report the sch…

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What Trump’s Proposed 2018 Budget Would Mean for Higher Ed

Updated (5/23/2017, 2:19 p.m.) with details on the budget proposals for scientific and medical research.

The Trump administration on Tuesday released its budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year. All told, the budget would cut federal education programs by more than $10 billion. The Department of Education’s total operating budget would be slashed by $9 billion, and spending on secondary-education programs would be redirected to school-choice initiatives — the chief policy goal of Betsy DeVo…

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Attempt to Get Trump’s Tax Returns May Have Alerted IRS to Data Tool’s Vulnerability

Do the security concerns that caused the Internal Revenue Service to shut down an online tool that’s key to applying for student aid stem from a private investigator’s attempt to use the tool to get President Trump’s tax records?

That question is raised in an article by the newsmagazine Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, which reports that it has obtained court records that identify a Louisiana-based private investigator who is accused of using the data-retrieval tool for that purpose in Septe…

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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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Trump’s Budget Could Eliminate Public-Service Loan Forgiveness. Here’s What to Know.

Budget documents obtained by The Washington Post paint a bleak picture for many federal education programs: The newspaper reported on Wednesday that President Trump’s administration plans to cut them by a total of $10.6 billion. The proposed education budget would cut spending on programs in secondary education in order to funnel some of that money into school-choice programs, which have long been a major focus for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

In terms of money for higher education, the prop…

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Federal Watchdog Is Investigating Possible Bias in Student-Loan Servicing

A federal watchdog is investigating whether student-loan-servicing companies discriminate against borrowers with past-due debt based on their race, sex, or gender, The Washington Post reports.

Patrice A. Ficklin, director of the office of fair lending at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told reporters on Friday that the agency had identified student-loan servicing as an area at risk of credit discrimination, according to the Post. “We’re looking at disparities in outcomes … and we…

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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…