Student Loans & Aid

‘Gainful employment’ rule drops defaults

Community college leaders like the U.S. Education Department’s final gainful employment rules, which focus on graduates’ debt-to-earnings ratio, but don’t consider default rates. The new regulations “protect students from predatory programs that lead to high levels of indebtedness,” said J. Noah Brown, president of the Association of Community College Trustees in a statement. “The final regulations […]

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‘Ability to benefit’ aid could be restored

High school dropouts with college-ready skills lost access to federal student aid in 2012. Now there’s bipartisan support for restoring “ability to benefit” (ATB) aid for students in “career pathways,” reports Inside Higher Ed. Two years ago, Congress wanted to cut Pell spending and “Democrats wanted to crack down on for-profits,” which enrolled many ATB students. Community colleges, which […]

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Beyond the skills gap

Job training has moved from employers to colleges — especially community colleges — writes New America Foundation’s Mary Alice McCarthy. The “skills gap” is a policy gap, she concludes. The Higher Education Act (HEA) needs to be reframed to “support all forms of postsecondary learning, including students on non-degree paths and those seeking specific skills […]

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What to do about dropouts

Lauren Bizzaro owes $40,000 for three years of college. (Caleb Kenna for The Wall Street Journal) College dropouts are the “untouchables” of higher education, writes Richard Vedder, director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, in Forbes. Looking at those 25 to 34 years of age, the median earnings in 2013 were $27,339, about 10 […]

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Broward limits loans to cut defaults

Broward students attend a debt management workshop. John O’Connor/WLRN “Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” Polonius advised Hamlet. At Florida’s Broward College, financial aid officer Kent Dunston tells would-be borrowers not to borrow more than they need.  The two-hour money-management workshop is required. “You’ll be offered more,” says Dunston. “You don’t need it.” Starting this […]

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California: Student aid lags costs

Grants and scholarships haven’t kept pace with rising living costs  for low-income students at California community colleges and the second-tier California State University system, according to the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). Students who receive grants and scholarships are more likely to complete a degree, the report finds. At the community colleges and CSU […]

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‘Free’ college won’t help low-income students

“Free community college” programs are a hot idea, writes Robert Kelchen, a Seton Hall professor, in Inside Higher Ed. But low-income students, who already are eligible for Pell Grants, will get little or no benefit. Most pay little or no tuition, but struggle to pay for books, commuting, child care and rent. Tennessee is offering […]

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Tennessee: Certificate holders out-earn 4-year grads

Tennessee workers with associate degrees and long- term certificates often start at higher wages than four-year graduates, according to a new College Measures study. It takes five years for graduates with bachelor’s degrees to catch up. “You don’t need to go to a flagship university to get a good job. There are many successful paths […]

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Chicago: Free tuition for college-ready students

College-ready students will get a free ride to the City Colleges of Chicago‘s seven campuses, reports the Chicago Tribune. To qualify for a Chicago Star Scholarship, which covers tuition, books and fees, students must graduate from a public high school with a 3.0 grade-point average or better and be prepared for college-level math and English. […]

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Colleges get break on default penalties

Only 21 colleges with high default rates — 20 for-profits and one public adult education program — are set to lose access to student aid this year. Many more were at risk. At the last minute, the U.S. Department of Education decided to omit some defaulted loans when calculating default rates.  The rate is based […]

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