A Degree With Zero Student Debt. Does It Work?

Justin Napier is exactly the kind of community college graduate Tennessee was hoping for.

In high school, Napier didn’t have his eye on college. In fact, he had a job lined up working on race cars after graduation. But in the spring of 2014, a year before Napier graduated, Gov. Bill Haslam announced a plan to make community college free for graduating high school seniors, part of a broader plan to dramatically increase the number of adults in Tennessee with college credentials. It was called, grandly, the Tennessee Promise.

“We are committed to making a clear statement to families that education beyond high school is a priority,” Haslam said in his State of the State address that year.

Full story at npr.org

3.9 Million Students Dropped Out of College With Debt in 2015 and 2016

The saddest stories among those who owe some of the $1.3 trillion in student loan debt are those of college dropouts. They took out loans to go to school, hoping for a better life. But without college degrees, many don’t find good jobs to help pay back these loans. It not only ruins their lives, it’s terrible for the nation’s budget. The loans are financed by the federal government, ultimately leaving taxpayers on the hook.

Which schools are leaving taxpayers and students in the lurch most often? I ran some calculations, using the latest data, released in September.

The U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard tracks the number of students who dropped out with debt for each college and university in the nation. My figures show a total of 3.9 million undergraduates with federal student loan debt dropped out during fiscal years 2015 and 2016 (from mid-2014 through mid-2016). I found that more than 900,000 of these students dropped out of for-profit universities. That’s 23 percent of all the indebted dropouts, even though only 10 percent of all undergraduate students attend for-profit schools. Many more indebted dropouts, almost 2.5 million of them, had attended public institutions, such as two-year community colleges and four-year state schools. But the public sector’s share of dropouts exactly matches its share of the student population: 64 percent. As a whole, private nonprofit colleges seem to be doing a better job, accounting for 13 percent of the dropouts while educating a quarter of all U.S. undergraduates. However, the size of the debts of dropouts is the largest at private nonprofit colleges, with each person owing almost $10,000 on average.

Full story at US News

Education Department to Implement Improved Customer Service and Enhanced Protections for Student Loan Borrowers

As part of a continued effort to implement a new vision for student loan servicing that ensures the more than 40 million Americans with student loan debt get high-quality customer service and fair treatment as they repay their loans, the U.S. Department of Education today outlined a series of enhanced protections and customer service standards that will guide the future of federal student loan servicing practices. The policies were outlined in a memorandum from U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell to Federal Student Aid (FSA), which will implement the policy directives to strengthen student loan servicing during the ongoing procurement process. These policies were developed in consultation with the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

“Today’s policy directive is a big win for tens of millions of borrowers,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “It will help ensure that student loan borrowers get the service they deserve.” While the majority of federal student loan borrowers continue to successfully repay their student loans, there are still too many borrowers who are struggling, or who may be at risk of defaulting on their loans. Since taking office, President Obama and his Administration have worked hard to keep college affordable and help student loan borrowers manage their debt. In March 2015, as part of that effort, the President unveiled a Student Aid Bill of Rightsdirecting federal agencies to work together on a series of actions to help borrowers manage their student debt.

Full story of ED improving customer service for student loan borrows at ed.gov

Education Department’s Special Master Delivers Fourth Report on Debt Relief Process for Student Borrowers

As part of the Obama Administration’s continued commitment to ensure that defrauded students have a path to debt relief with minimal burden, Special Master Joseph A. Smith has delivered his fourth and final borrower defense progress report to the U.S. Department of Education.

“Joe has shown tremendous leadership, thoughtfulness and insight during his tenure as Special Master,” Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell said. “All of us at the Department are grateful for his diligence in support of our efforts to provide debt forgiveness to students who have been mistreated and defrauded by predatory institutions.”

The report details the numbers and status of borrower defense claims and the Department’s continued efforts to reach former Corinthian College students who may be eligible for relief based on Department findings of school misconduct. Additionally, the report describes the creation of a new application form to facilitate borrower defense discharge claims. The Department’s Student Aid Enforcement Unit, located within Federal Student Aid (FSA), will oversee the borrower defense program, and will continue to provide periodic progress reports. The Enforcement Unit was established in February to respond more quickly and efficiently to allegations of illegal actions by postsecondary institutions. All reports will be made public.

Full story of the fourth report on debt relief for students at ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education Announces Path for Debt Relief for Students at 91 Additional Corinthian Campuses

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that students who were defrauded at 91 former Corinthian Colleges Inc. (Corinthian) campuses nationwide have a clear path to loan forgiveness under evidence uncovered by the Department while working with multiple state attorneys general.

These campuses represent the largest group of borrowers eligible for loan relief so far from the ongoing investigation into Corinthian. In total, the Department has made findings of fraud against more than 100 of Corinthian’s former campuses.

Students who attended Corinthian schools operated under its Everest and WyoTech brands in more than 20 states – Massachusetts, California, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida, Washington, Virginia, Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oregon, New York, Utah, Maryland, New Jersey, and Wyoming. The Department is reaching out to those students through postal mail, email, partner organizations and other means.

Full story of debt relief for Corinthian campus students at ed.gov

Fact Sheet: Helping More Americans Complete College: New Proposals For Success

At a time when the economy is changing faster than ever before, real opportunity requires that every American get the postsecondary education and training they need to find a good-paying job. President Obama believes that we must help many more Americans graduate from college. Still, far too many students never complete their degree — only 60 percent of those enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program complete their education. Even for those who do complete, at least a third take longer than expected to graduate, forcing them to carry additional costs and leave school with higher debt burdens. The consequences of not completing college are especially severe for students who leave school with debt; borrowers who drop out of college face a three times greater risk of defaulting on their student loans compared with those who graduate.

Since 2009, the Obama Administration has made historic investments in student financial aid that have helped ensure college stays within the reach of American families. It has increased the maximum Pell Grant by more than $1,000, and created the American Opportunity Tax Credit, worth $10,000 over four years of college. It has cut student loan interest rates, saving students up to $1,000 this year, and allowed more borrowers to cap their loan payments at 10 percent of their income through the President’s Pay As You Earn and related income-driven repayment plans. In total, the Obama Administration has increased total aid available to students by over $50 billion from 2008 to 2016, and selected tax benefits by over $12 billion, which has helped our Nation ensure more students are graduating college than ever before. At the same time, the Administration has sought to drive innovations that increase college completion, value and affordability by investing $135 million over the past two years under the First in the World program to scale evidenced-based practices to improve student outcomes and bring down college costs.

Full story of helping American’s complete college at ed.gov