March 10, 2014 by Latasha Myers
President Obama released his proposed $3.9 trillion budget for fiscal year 2015 on Tuesday. Although the budget plan serves chiefly to highlight the president’s priorities, the attention his plan gives to measures that will help improve college affordability should not be overlooked.
For starters, the maximum Pell Grant would increase by $100, allowing students who demonstrate financial need to obtain up to $5,830. Additionally, the Washington Post reports:
“Obama is seeking $7 billion over 10 years to reward colleges that enroll Pell Grant recipients and help them graduate on time. And the president wants $4 billion over 10 years for a fund to encourage states to fund colleges and universities based on outcomes such as on-time graduation rates.”
March 06, 2014 by Clarise McCants
(Former ITT Tech Student. I AM NOT A LOAN)
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is suing one of the biggest for-profit college companies in the industry, ITT Educational Services, Inc. You’ve probably seen their TV commercials that air during shows like Law & Order-SVU, promising a rewarding career to reel students in. Like many for-profit colleges (though not all are bad), ITT has been exploiting students and pushing them into taking out huge loans, knowing they would probably end up in default. At a time when 48 percent of all student loan defaults can be attributed to for-profit colleges, the CFPB’s lawsuit is a big deal.
February 25, 2014 by Clarise McCants
Since we launched the #AccessMeans campaign last month, we've received dozens of photo submissions, hundreds of comments, and a host of tweets all telling us what #AccessMeans in education today. We're inspired and amazed by the conversation you all have started and wanted to share some of these insightful reminders of what real #AccessMeans, should be, and hopefully will be.
February 24, 2014 by Web Team
Cha-ching! According to a new study, higher education endowment investment returns averaged an 11.7 percent gain in fiscal year 2013 compared with a decrease of 0.3 percent the previous year. There are now some 82 colleges and universities with endowments in excess of $1 billion each.
The wealthiest institutions of higher education — the 82 with over $1 billion in endowment assets each — spent out an average of only 4.8 percent of their endowments last year. That’s low given that all other foundations are required to spend out 5 percent as a condition of retaining tax-exempt status and many spend far more. Higher ed gets an exception. A difference of 0.2 percent may not sound like much, but if just the richest 82 institutions of higher education spent out 5 percent of their endowments last year, some $600 million more in student financial aid could have been made available — without costing taxpayers a penny. Think about how many lives could be changed.
February 19, 2014 by Latasha Myers
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report revealing that the federal government stands to make $66 billion in profits from student loans that originated between 2007 and 2012.
Soon following, a group of nine Senators strongly responded to the report, advocating for policies that address student loan debt, loan refinancing, and lower interest rates. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), states, "This is obscene. The government should not be making $66 billion in profits off the backs of our students. The report issued today reinforces what we already knew - instead of investing in our children and their futures, the government is squeezing profits out of our young people and adding to the mountain of debt they will spend their lives struggling to repay."
February 19, 2014 by Latasha Myers
Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation that would induce public universities around the country to give veterans in-state tuition rates. With an astounding 390 House members on both sides of the aisle voting in favor of the bill (if only all agreements in Congress were that easy), the GI Tuition Fairness Act (H.R. 357) will help to ensure that our service members are able to pursue a fairly priced college education when they return home.
February 10, 2014 by Clarise McCants
Originally posted on The Equity Line
Every year, 65,000 undocumented students who have lived in the United States for at least five years graduate from high school. Only 5-10 percent of them, though, go on to college; the majority of these students either give up on their dreams or put them on hold because they are denied the opportunities for an affordable higher education.
This week, a bipartisan organization launched TheDream.US, a $25 billion scholarship fund that will provide full tuition for 1,000 undocumented students nationwide. Currently, because of their status, they are ineligible for federal financial aid (meaning no Pell Grants or low-interest loans), so this will help draw the bridge to college for many.
February 10, 2014 by Latasha Myers
Do you have a mortgage or car loan and wish to refinance to a lower interest rate? Congratulations, you have that consumer protection. But do you know who doesn’t? Student loan borrowers. Luckily, new legislation soon to be introduced in the U.S. Senate may change this.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently announced her plans to introduce a bill that will allow students to refinance their federal student loans to the lower interest rates under the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013. A measure that has the potential to save student loan borrowers thousands of dollars over the course of a loan’s life.
February 07, 2014 by Mary Nguyen Barry
Your voice was heard. We won. Needy students won. In the words of Elle Woods, “We did it!!”
The University of Virginia (U.Va.) is infusing $8 million into financial aid to benefit incoming students with “exceptional promise and significant financial need.” Some $2 million will go to a scholarship program for incoming undergraduates with “exceptional promise and significant financial need,” and $6 million will go toward an endowment for the university’s financial aid program, AccessUVa.
February 06, 2014 by Web Team
Press release from the student led campaign that protested against the cuts to the University of Virginia's financial aid program. Originally posted on RestoreAccessUVa.com.
CHARLOTTESVILLE (February 6, 2014) — On behalf of the Restore AccessUVA Campaign, we would like to express our immense gratitude to the University of Virginia (U.Va.) board member and alumnus John Griffin for his generous $4 million dollar challenge donation toward AccessUVa. The donation kicks off an $8 million challenge grant effort to benefit incoming undergraduate students who show “exceptional promise and significant financial need.” We would also like to commend and thank President Sullivan and other U.Va. administrators for renewing the University’s commitment to making need-based financial aid for low-income students a top institutional priority.