Category Archives: Financial Aid

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IRS Tool Used for Student-Aid Forms Will Be Offline Until the Fall

A tool that millions of students have used to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the Fafsa, will be offline until the fall, the Internal Revenue Service and the Education Department’s Federal Student Aid office announced on Thursday.

The IRS and the department announced the outage of the Data Retrieval Tool, a resource that makes it easier to fill out the Fafsa, earlier this month, several days after the tool mysteriously went offline.

“While this tool provides an important c…

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Here’s a Map of ‘Free College’ Programs Nationwide

Lawmakers and public-policy advocates are increasingly looking to raise attainment at public colleges and universities through high-profile “free college” efforts, such as one proposed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, that cover basic costs for students attending state institutions.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate of School of Education has created an interactive map that highlights programs “designed to increase college attainment in particular places.” The researchers called the…

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With IRS Data Tool Down, Lawmakers Ask Education Dept. to Help Students

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate has asked the U.S. Department of Education to help families who may be affected by the outage of a popular online tool that had made it easier to apply for federal student aid.

The Internal Revenue Service and the Education Department announced this month that they had suspended the data-retrieval tool, a device that automatically pulls federal tax information into the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, th…

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Citing Security Fears, IRS Suspends Key Tool in Financial-Aid Process

The U.S. Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday announced that the IRS had suspended the agency’s data-retrieval tool, a key online resource that, among other things, makes it easier for students and families to fill out the financial-aid form known as the Fafsa.

This week, reports circulated online that the data-retrieval tool had suddenly become unavailable, without a public explanation from the Education Department or the IRS. After questions swirled about the to…

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USA Funds Moves to Further Focus on Education Philanthropy and Investing

USA Funds, which has played a growing role in education philanthropy and investing in the last few years, announced on Wednesday that it would shed its loan-guarantee affiliates.

Officials at the $1-billion organization said the move would allow it to further focus on its new mission of ensuring that college leads to meaningful results for students, which it does by making grants and investments in for-profit and nonprofit companies and organizations.

Over the last three years, the nonprofit USA…

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$108 Billion in Student Debt Is Likely to Be Forgiven, Government Says

In a report released on Wednesday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said the federal government would forgive at least $108 billion of student debt in the coming years, an amount higher than expected.

The office also said the Department of Education’s method of forecasting the cost of its income-driven repayment program does not “ensure reliable budget estimates,” because, among other things, it does not factor in inflation.

The report looks at borrowers in such plans, an option created…

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One-Third of Low-Income Student Borrowers Who Rehabbed Loans Could Default Again

[Updated (10/17/2016, 11:45 p.m.) with additional information and editing changes.]

One in three student-loan borrowers with very low incomes who have “cured” a loan in default in the past year are likely to default again, according to a report released on Monday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The federal agency’s student-loan ombudsman’s latest annual report highlights complaints the bureau has received from the “most economically distressed” borrowers about the transition from de…

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Amazon and Wells Fargo End Student-Loan Partnership

Wells Fargo has stopped offering Amazon customers reduced interest rates on private student loans, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

The partnership was discontinued about a month after the companies announced they were working together. Neither company responded to a request for comment, the Post said.

The short-lived program offered Wells Fargo education loans to Amazon Prime Student subscribers with an interest rate discounted by half a percentage point.

Critics said the partnership …

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U.S. Acts Against Wells Fargo Bank for Illegal Student-Loan Practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has found that Wells Fargo Bank illegally increased the costs of and unfairly punished certain student-loan borrowers, the federal agency said in a news release on Monday.

The bureau found Wells Fargo’s student-loan servicing did not include payment information for customers, charged them illegal fees, and did not update inaccurate credit-report information.

As complaints from borrowers of private student loans have risen, the federal government has incre…

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Education Department Picks Nontraditional Partners for Student Aid

The U.S. Department of Education has joined with eight nontraditional training programs to provide more students with federal student aid, says a department news release.

Students enrolled in the eight programs of the Educational Quality Through Innovation Partnerships will now be eligible for financial aid.

The department announced the pilot program in October 2015 to make nontraditional courses and programs more available to low-income students and to develop a way to measure student outcomes…