As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to helping all Americans complete a quality, affordable college education, the U.S. Department of Education today released a report highlighting the efforts of colleges and universities to promote access, opportunity and success among low-income students, and identifying areas of much-needed improvement.
“For students from low- and moderate-income families, a college degree is the surest path to the middle class in our country. I applaud the colleges and universities that have taken measurable steps to open up this pathway and make it a successful one for students from all backgrounds. But we need these types of efforts to become the rule and not the exception,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.
The U.S. Department of Education today released its Quarterly Student Aid Report, a collection of key performance data on the federal student loan portfolio, revealing continued increases in income-driven repayment enrollment with notable decreases in defaults and delinquencies.
Within the report, the Department’s office of Federal Student Aid unveiled new, expanded data on the $357 billion Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program, which typically consists of federal student loans originated by banks.
The quarterly update includes three new reports to shed light on the FFEL portfolio owned by the Department—showing loan status, repayment plan and delinquency level.
“Today’s analysis suggests that the Administration’s efforts to help struggling borrowers are having a positive impact,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “We will continue to make more data available to shed light on student debt in America. As President Obama has said, ‘Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their government is doing.’”
In today’s economy, college completion is an essential part of getting the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in their careers and lives. That is why, since 2009, the Obama Administration has made historic investments in higher education that have helped ensure college stays within the reach of American families, including increasing the maximum Pell Grant award by more than $1,000, creating an American Opportunity Tax Credit of $10,000 over four years of college, keeping federal student loan interest rates low, and allowing borrowers to cap their loan payments at 10 percent of their income through the President’s Pay As You Earn and related repayment plans. These efforts have helped our nation ensure more students are graduating college than ever before.
Despite this progress, to meet the President’s goal of leading the world in college attainment—to move from 5th to 1st among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, we need to do more. Far too many students never complete their degree—with only 60 percent of those enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program completing their education. We need to do more to ensure that students from all backgrounds are entering, effectively navigating, and successfully exiting the postsecondary education system, in order to buck the trend of one in 10 Americans from low-income families completing college by age 25, compared with half of Americans from high-income families.
The U.S. Department of Education released today a proposal that would establish borrower-friendly processes for seeking and obtaining loan relief triggered by unscrupulous conduct by higher education institutions. The Department also provided options to negotiators that would protect students from the use of mandatory arbitration provisions in enrollment agreements.
By updating existing borrower defense regulations with these provisions, the Department will build on the Obama Administration’s efforts to protect students and taxpayers, and ensure transparency and accountability among colleges and universities.
“These actions would establish a simpler, more uniform standard of relief for students, hold schools accountable if they engage in unlawful practices, and put an end to using fine print to trap students into signing away their rights,” said Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.
Acting U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. today called on Congress to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which provides more than $1.1 billion for the nation’s career and technical education programs in grades 7-12 and also in post-secondary institutions.
King also announced the launch of an Education Department-sponsored Career Technical Education (CTE) Makeover Challenge – a competition offering a total of $200,000 divided equally among many as 10 award recipients to transform classrooms or available space in high schools into places where students have access to the tools to design, build and innovate.
“We’ve come a long way from what we used to refer to as vocational education. Today, every job that leads to a secure future requires critical thinking, problem solving and creativity, as well as some postsecondary education or training. The best career and technical education programs help students prepare for this future once they graduate from high school. Career and technical education is not just about preparing some students for successful lives and careers, it’s about giving all students the tools to shape our future,” said King.
The U.S. Department of Education today named committee members who will draft proposed regulations in two areas of Title I, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This is the latest step in the process of implementing ESSA.
“We look forward to working with the committee to promote equity and excellence for all students by providing states and school districts with timely regulations so that they can plan ahead and support students and educators,” said Ann Whalen, senior advisor to the secretary, delegated the duties of the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education.
ESSA replaces the outdated No Child Left Behind law and expands on the work this Administration, states, districts and schools across the country have already started. The new law will help build on key progress that we’ve made in education over recent years—including a record high school graduation rate of 82 percent, significant expansion of high-quality preschool, and a million more African American and Hispanic students enrolled in college than in 2008, when President Obama took office.
The U.S. Department of Education today announced it is more than tripling—from $5.3 million to $17.4 million—the availability of funding for grants to help Native American youth become college- and career-ready.
The extra support is being provided for Native Youth Community Projects (NYCP) as an ongoing step toward implementing President Obama’s commitment to improving the lives of American Indian and Alaskan Native children. The grants will support the President’s Generation Indigenous “Gen I” Initiative to help Native American youth.
In a Federal Register notice, the Department said it expects to make approximately 19 demonstration awards ranging from $500,000 to $1 million to tribal communities before Sept. 30.
“In too many places across Indian Country, Native youth do not receive adequate resources to help prepare them for success in school or after graduation,” said Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “The Native Youth Community Projects are an investment in bringing tribal communities together to change that reality, and dramatically transform the opportunities for Native youth. When tribal communities join together around shared goals for Native youth, we will see locally driven solutions coming from leaders who work most closely with students and are best-positioned to lead change.”
The U.S. Department of Education today announced the launch of 14 statewide #GoOpen initiatives committed to supporting school districts and educators as they transition to the use of high-quality, openly-licensed educational resources in their schools. This inaugural cohort of #GoOpen states joins leaders from an expanding number of #GoOpen districts and innovative platform providers in setting a vision and creating the environment where educators and students can access the tools, content and expertise necessary to thrive in a connected world.
“Openly licensed educational resources can increase equity by providing all students, regardless of zip code, access to high quality learning materials that have the most up-to-date and relevant content,” said Acting U.S. Education Secretary John King. “The leadership, mentorship, and collaboration of these #GoOpen states and districts are critical, not just to grow and sustain this movement, but to transform our schools.”
Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., announced today that longtime educator Ken Wagner – currently the Rhode Island commissioner for elementary and secondary education – has been named to the National Assessment Governing Board.
“Ken is a dedicated, innovative, and forward-thinking leader and educator,” Acting Secretary King said. “We look forward to utilizing his incredible talent and expertise in our work to ensure students are prepared to succeed in college, careers and life.”
Wagner, appointed in the category of “chief state school officer,” will help set policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation’s Report Card. NAEP makes objective information on student performance available to policymakers and the public at the national, state and local levels in nearly a dozen subjects. Since 1969, NAEP has served an important role in evaluating the condition and progress of American education. The 26-member Governing Board – a group of governors, state legislators, local and state school officials, educators and researchers, business representatives and members of the general public – determines subjects and content to be tested, sets the achievement levels for reporting and releases the results to the public.
The U.S. Department of Education took a critical step today toward addressing widespread disparities in the treatment of students of color with disabilities, proposing a new rule to improve equity in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
The nation’s special education law, IDEA, aims to ensure fairness in the identification, placement, and discipline of students with disabilities. Yet disparities persist, and students of color remain more likely to be identified as having a disability and face harsher discipline than their white classmates.
In order to address those inequities, IDEA requires states to identify districts with “significant disproportionality” in special education—that is, when districts identify, place outside the regular classroom, or discipline children from any racial or ethnic group at markedly higher rates than their peers. According to a new analysis by the Department of data states submitted under IDEA, hundreds of districts around the country with large racial and ethnic disparities go unidentified. For example, 876 school districts gave African American students with disabilities short-term, out-of-school suspensions at least twice as often as all other students with disabilities for three years in a row. But, in 2013, states identified fewer than 500 districts in total with “significant disproportionality.”