Unpredictable Interest Rates Make Federal Grants Even More Important

According to Congressional Budget Office estimates for the 2015-16 school year, the average undergraduate borrower will pay 5.72 percent to borrow from the federal government; for graduate borrowers the rate is forecasted at 7.27 percent, and for Parent Plus loans, 8.27 percent. All rates are higher than what students paid to take out loans this year.

What may be even more troubling than the rising interest rates is that the CBO has projected that the federal government will generate $127 billion in profits from loan payments over the next decade.

Gainful Rule Is Exactly What Students of Color Need

Originally posted on The Equity Line 

Enough with the argument that the proposed gainful employment regulation is a disservice to black, brown, and low-income students. What the National Black Chamber of Commerce has billed as unfairly targeting students of color is, in reality, an opportunity to better the institutions that serve them. The regulation would finally develop minimum standards for cost and quality for thousands of career education programs, many of which leave students hugely underprepared for work and in a deep hole of debt that is almost impossible to climb out of.

A majority of career education programs at for-profit colleges — 72 percent — produce graduates earning less on average than high school dropouts.

#AccessMeans Opportunity for All Students

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A national social media campaign is showing that, while sometimes tagged as lazy, this generation of millennials — especially those of color — are breaking down barriers and dispelling myths that have plagued their communities for years. In the past decade, the percentage of black students going to college has gone up 63 percent; for Latinos, it’s up 38 percent. (And did you hear about Kwasi Enin, the first-generation American who got into all eight Ivys this year?)

Some of these students are involved in the #AccessMeans campaign, launched by I AM NOT A LOAN, which seeks to better understand what access to higher education means to students across the country. In the last few weeks, as students got acceptance letters and emails, they’ve shown that, for them, #AccessMeans new opportunities.

Senators Introduce Bill to Protect Pell Grants


35 years ago the maximum Pell Grant paid for 77 percent of the cost of tuition at an in-state, four-year college, today, that same Pell Grant pays for less than one-third of a student’s education. Furthermore, students who want to attend school year round to finish their degree in less time are not allowed to receive year-round Pell funding.  

With nearly nine million American students depending on Pell Grants to attend and complete college, this program must remain a priority in Washington.   

Luckily, there is some good news.

New Bill in Florida Will Make College More Affordable for Undocumented Students


The Florida House recently passed a bill that would offer in-state tuition rates to undocumented students in the state.

Sign the petition urging the Florida Senate to pass HB 851.

Google Hangout With CFPB hosted by Higher Education Advocates Provides Tips on Managing Student Debt

On Tuesday, Young Invincibles and hosted a Google Hangout on the “Top 5 Tips for Tackling Your Student Debt.” Rohit Chopra, of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, offered some of his best tips for managing student loan debt. In case you missed the great conversation, here’s a brief recap of some of the advice offered:

An Accounting Trick That Hurts Students

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Some members of Congress are trying to change the rules on how the federal government budgets for student loans. They call the new system “Fair Value Accounting” (FVA). Sounds reasonable, right?

Not so fast. 

Colleges Get Helping Hand in Obama’s Budget

We’re not naïve. We’re not optimistic that the Obama higher education budget proposal will be adopted by this Congress. But the initiatives included are important, because (a) some of them may be adopted, and (b) they offer a marker of future administration positions that may be more favorably received at a later date.

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Department of Education’s rule needs to do more to protect students from predatory career programs

The U.S. Department of Education released its proposed regulation last week to take federal aid dollars away from predatory career education programs (like this one) that leave students with tons of debt and a worthless degree (or no degree). Many of the programs that will be impacted by this rule are housed at for-profit companies.

In 2010-11, for-profit colleges collected $32 billion from the federal government, and on average, 70 percent of their revenue comes from federal student aid sources. Too many students go to schools like these in hopes of getting the training needed for their dream jobs, but instead leave, feeling cheated and used for their financial aid dollars. We’ve stressed before the importance of a strong rule to protect students. But while still helpful, the proposal falls short of what students really need, and it doesn’t ensure taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted on these dangerous programs.   

Pay it Forward Misses the Mark! Delayed College Tuition Payments are Merely Repackaged Student Debt


In the last 70 years, annual tuition and fee growth at four-year, public colleges has exceeded the rise of inflation. One of the primary reasons for rapid increases in college tuition is the decline in state funding for higher education. This trend of state disinvestment needs to be reversed, and it could be if the federal government, states, and institutions work together to share responsibility for college affordability.

Although some states have been taking a different approach. Legislation has popped up in a number states (Michigan, among the latest) that entices students with a sales pitch: zero down on college tuition now and pay it back later. What they leave out is that students may end up paying more back later. Even then, the main problem with these so-called “Pay it Forward” (PIF) proposals are that they don’t address what students really need, which is for the cost of college to be affordable from the outset.