White House Doesn’t Know How Much Expanding Loan Program Will Cost

Chronicle of Higher Education - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:45

But an official said making five million more borrowers eligible for income-based repayment would be "money well spent."

Categories: Higher Education News

Supporting the Economy by Helping Student Loan Borrowers Manage Debt

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Tue, 2014-06-10 11:00

Cross-posted from the Department of the Treasury ‘Treasury Notes’ blog.

In today’s global economy, a higher education is one of the most important investments students can make in their own futures.  But for too many lower and middle-income families​, this essential rung on the ladder to opportunity is slipping out of reach as tuition continues to rise, and more students than ever are relying on loans to pay for college.

As the President takes further steps today to make a college education more affordable, there are now more tools available to help students and families manage their debt.

The Obama Administration is working to make college more accessible and affordable.  As part of these efforts, the Treasury Department and the Department of Education teamed up with Intuit Inc. during the 2014 tax season to launch a pilot program to raise awareness about income-driven repayment plans with millions of tax filers. The pilot resulted in nearly 100,000 clicks by individuals taking action to visit the Department of Education’s Repayment Estimator website and evaluate their repayment options.

Users of Intuit’s TurboTax service were able to determine their eligibility for lower student loan payments based on their income by connecting to the Repayment Estimator. Income-driven repayment plans allow borrowers to fully repay their student debt on a sliding scale that adjusts monthly payments based on factors like changing income and growing families. These tools are helping lower and middle-income families pay their debts and avoid default.

The partnership helped spread the word about tools available to borrowers. Intuit’s research suggests that many of its TurboTax online customers have student loans and many may not be aware of Department of Education’s loan repayment options. Building on this collaboration, today the White House announced an expanded partnership with Intuit and a new partnership with H&R Block to reach even more individuals who could benefit from income-driven repayment options, both during tax season, and beyond.

President Obama has said, “Higher education can’t be a luxury — it is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.” As part of our mission of promoting economic growth and job opportunities, the Treasury Department will continue to explore ways to help student borrowers responsibly manage their debt.

In addition to the Repayment Estimator, the Department of Education offers federal student loan borrowers several repayment options and loan counseling tools to help students and families make informed decisions on financing a college education.

Melissa Koide is the deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Consumer Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.


Categories: Higher Education News

College Leaders Sign On to Support Common Core Educational Standards

Chronicle of Higher Education - Tue, 2014-06-10 10:01

The new lobbying coalition is a project of the Collaborative for Student Success, which is supported the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Categories: Higher Education News

President Obama on Student Loan Debt: “No Hardworking Young Person Should Be Priced Out of a Higher Education”

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Tue, 2014-06-10 08:42

Cross-posted from the White House blog.

President Barack Obama signs a Presidential Memorandum on reducing the burden of student loan debt, in the East Room of the White House, June 9, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

More students than ever before are relying on student loans to pay for their college education. 71 percent of students earning a bachelor’s degree graduate with debt, averaging $29,400. While most students are able to repay their loans, many feel burdened by debt, especially as they seek to start a family, buy a home, launch a business, or save for retirement.

That’s why, as part of his year of action to expand opportunity for all Americans, President Obama is taking steps to make student loan debt more affordable and manageable to repay.

On Monday afternoon, the President signed a memorandum directing the Secretary of Education to propose regulations that would allow nearly 5 million federal direct student loan borrowers the opportunity to cap their student loan payments at 10 percent of their income. The memorandum also outlines new executive actions to support federal student loan borrowers, especially vulnerable borrowers who may be at greater risk of defaulting on their loans.

But in his remarks at the signing, the President made clear that Congress needs to take action as well, saying that today’s executive action will “make progress, but not enough.” He brought up the bill written by Sen. Elizabeth Warren that would allow students to refinance their student loans at today’s lower interest rates, noting that “it pays for itself by closing loopholes that allow some millionaires to pay a lower tax rate than middle-class families.”

The President then detoured briefly from his prepared remarks, explaining why it’s a “no-brainer” for Congress to pass the bill:

You would think that if somebody like me has done really well in part because the country has invested in them, that they wouldn’t mind at least paying the same rate as a teacher or a nurse.  There’s not a good economic argument for it, that they should pay a lower rate.  It’s just clout, that’s all.  So it’s bad enough that that’s already happening.  It would be scandalous if we allowed those kinds of tax loopholes for the very, very fortunate to survive while students are having trouble just getting started in their lives.

So you’ve got a pretty straightforward bill here.  And this week, Congress will vote on that bill.  And I want Americans to pay attention to see where their lawmakers’ priorities lie here:  lower tax bills for millionaires, or lower student loan bills for the middle class.

“This week, [Congress has] a chance to help millions of young people,” President Obama said. “I hope they do. … And in the meantime, I’m going to take these actions today on behalf of all these young people here, and every striving young American who shares my belief that this is a place where you can still make it if you try.”

Read the President’s full remarks from Monday’s signing, and learn more about how the President is working to make college more affordable.

And in case you missed it, the President will take to Tumblr this afternoon to answer your questions about education, college affordability, and reducing student loan debt. Tune in today at 4:00 p.m. ET.

David Hudson is associate director of content for the Office of Digital Strategy at the White House.
Categories: Higher Education News

College Headhunters, Accustomed to Secrecy, Find Themselves Under Scrutiny

Chronicle of Higher Education - Tue, 2014-06-10 03:00

A consultant’s resignation at Florida State University shows how the search process can become politicized on a campus.

Categories: Higher Education News

‘I Was an Athlete Masquerading as a Student’

Chronicle of Higher Education - Tue, 2014-06-10 02:59

Ed O’Bannon was mostly unruffled on the stand as a trial of his case against the NCAA began. Here are several takeaways from Monday’s courtroom developments.

Categories: Higher Education News

Obama Chides Opponents of Bill to Help Student-Loan Borrowers

Chronicle of Higher Education - Tue, 2014-06-10 02:56

Passing the Democrats’ plan to let more borrowers refinance at lower rates should be a "no brainer," he said.

Categories: Higher Education News

Changes Seek to Make College Crime Data Easier to Use

Chronicle of Higher Education - Tue, 2014-06-10 02:56

The federal government is reformatting the campus-security statistics it collects, to make the information more accessible to families, students, and researchers.

Categories: Higher Education News

Obama's Loan-Debt Relief Might Not Reach the Neediest Borrowers

Chronicle of Higher Education - Tue, 2014-06-10 02:55

Making five million more student-loan borrowers eligible for the program doesn't necessarily mean they’ll sign up, if history is any guide.

Categories: Higher Education News

From Twitter to Tumblr: On Student Loans, Obama Seeks an Audience

Chronicle of Higher Education - Tue, 2014-06-10 02:55

When the president wants to send a message to America’s 20-somethings, he often speaks through their preferred channel—online media.

Categories: Higher Education News

Secretary Duncan and Attorney General Holder Announce New Efforts to Address the Needs of Confined Youth

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Mon, 2014-06-09 12:52

Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder meet with the members of the Federal Reentry Council in Washington, D.C. to discuss efforts to improve education and employment outcomes among persons reentering communities following incarceration. (Photo credit: Department of Justice)

This past March, staff from our respective Departments met at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights to hear from a group of seven formerly incarcerated youth. This amazing group – most of them now over the age of 18 – shared their experiences with the juvenile justice system.

No two stories were the same. Some youth shared that they received no educational services at all, not even books to read, during their time in the facility. While several youth had been identified for disabilities before they were incarcerated, many did not receive services aligned with their individualized education programs. Among the students who did receive instruction, the courses available did not provide credits toward a high school diploma.

We are grateful to these youth for their resilience, leadership, and bravery as they speak out about their experiences. It is time that we match our gratitude with a new commitment to reform, to ensure that every child placed in a facility has access to high-quality education services and the supports they need to successfully reenter their schools and communities.

Today, leaders from 22 agencies joined us for a Federal Interagency Reentry Council meeting to discuss actions to reduce reentry barriers to employment, health, housing, and education for individuals who are transitioning from incarceration to community.  The meeting comes on the heels of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force Report, submitted to President Obama last week, which recommends new action to address the persistent opportunity gaps faced by too many youth, particularly boys and young men of color, and ensure that all young people who are willing to do the hard work to get ahead can reach their full potential, including new efforts to enforce the rights of incarcerated youth to a quality education.

In keeping with that recommendation, we announced to our federal partners that we sent a letter to each state school superintendent, and each state attorney general. The letter highlights the importance of supporting youth in facilities, describes how federal dollars can fund improved services, and signals our coming work to clarify the components of high-quality correctional education services.

This step continues recent work by federal agencies to support incarcerated youth in juvenile justice facilities. We’ve funded model demonstration projects for students with disabilities returning from juvenile facilities and commissioned a report from the National Academy of Sciences to better understand the developmental needs of incarcerated youth.  Moving forward, our departments will invest in a joint initiative to design an evidence-based education model for returning youth and to support demonstration projects in selected jurisdictions.

Our work builds upon the recent groundswell of state and local efforts, as well as private initiatives and investments in research, dedicated to strengthening services for incarcerated youth.  Last year, we were amazed by the efforts at Maya Angelou Academy at New Beginnings Youth Development Center to provide all youth with access to English, Math, Social Studies, and Science classes aligned with the standards of the District of Columbia’s Public Schools. During our visit to the facility, students were reading Night, by Elie Wiesel.

Maya Angelou Academy has set the bar higher for our youth in juvenile justice, and others are doing the same.

States such as Oregon, Indiana, and Pennsylvania are increasing access to technology as one strategy for connecting youth in juvenile facilities with academic content comparable to their peers in traditional schools.

Thanks to the Council of State Governments Justice Center, we now have consensus among researchers, practitioners, and advocates – from the fields of education, health, juvenile justice, and law enforcement – regarding the necessary steps to keep youth in school, prevent their entry into the justice system, and ensure that youth in facilities get the supports and services they need.

Plenty of work remains. Too many places still exist where youth in facilities do not have access to quality education services, or worse, receive no services at all. We know that there is often confusion among education and justice officials about who is responsible for students’ education once they are placed in a juvenile detention setting.  But we are heartened by the work of the Council of State Governments, the National Academy of Sciences, and others – an effort that represents growing national agreement that we have a collective responsibility to support, nurture, and prepare juvenile justice-involved youth.

That’s why we spoke up in a recent federal lawsuit in support of incarcerated youth with disabilities who alleged that they were placed in solitary confinement for 22 hours or more per day, discriminated against on the basis of their disability, and denied their right to a free and appropriate public education.

As noted in the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force report – when young people come into contact with the juvenile or criminal justice systems, these interactions should not put them off track for life. The President has set a goal that, by 2020, our nation will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world and that all Americans complete at least one year or more of college or career training. We must ensure that our youth in correctional facilities can play their part in achieving that vision.

Arne Duncan is U.S. Secretary of Education and Eric Holder is U.S. Attorney General.

Categories: Higher Education News

Partnering to Prepare High School Students for College and Careers

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Mon, 2014-06-09 09:26

Cross-posted from the Department of Labor’s (Work in Progress) blog.

Making sure our high school students are college and career-ready is major focus of President Obama’s jobs-driven training agenda, and is also central his goal for the United States to lead the world in college completion by 2020.

That’s why, as we prepare for the upcoming school year, the departments of Education, Health and Human Services and Labor are working together to help local school systems around the country makes use of federal resources to help ensure our young people are the best-prepared workers in the world.

Secretary Tom Perez visits the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy in Chicago, a school that aims to prepare students for college and the world of work.
(Photo credit: Department of Labor)

School counselors on are the front lines of preparing our students for college and careers. However, the number of counselors in schools today is not keeping up with the growing student population, which may mean not every student is getting the attention they need to get started on the right career path.

This is where federal job training services can help. By leveraging the resources available from the nearly 2,500 American Job Centers around the country, schools can ensure their students are getting the most up-to-date information about the job market and what education and training is necessary to land their dream job.

American Job Centers can supplement the great work of school counselors by providing career development services and local labor market information; offering career counseling, resume and interview help; sharing information about Registered Apprenticeships and high school alternative programs like Job Corps and YouthBuild; and helping connect students to summer and year-around employment opportunities.

Some states have already begun to integrate these services: for example, in Nebraska, state education and labor officials helped establish the Nebraska Career Education program, which provides career exploration resources for educators, students, job seekers and employers.

Or take Minneapolis Promise, a local initiative that uses private funding to locate College and Career Centers inside all seven Minneapolis public high schools and eight specialty high schools. The centers offer students with career and college planning resources, trained career counselors to guide students and an online career planning tool to help each ninth-grader develop a personalized “My Life Plan.”

Connecting workforce services to education makes common sense. These connections – which already help job seekers and employers to connect with one another – will help students better understand the skills they need to succeed in today’s job market, while they are in a position to make those decisions at an earlier age.

My federal colleagues and I have sent a jointly signed letter to education, workforce development, social services and private-sector leaders around the country asking them to join us in our commitment to help high schools take advantage of the resources available through their local American Job Centers.

Working together at the federal, state and local level, we can prepare our students for future jobs and secure the United States’ place in the global economy for decades to come.

Portia Wu is the assistant secretary of labor for employment and training. Explore job training and career resources at www.dol.gov/FindYourPath, and join the conversation on Twitter using #FindYourPath.

Categories: Higher Education News

i3 Arts-Integration Project Delivers Content in Special Education Classrooms

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Mon, 2014-06-09 07:26

Cross-posted from the OII blog.

For teachers in New York City’s District 75, which serves more than 20,000 special needs students across the city, an innovative arts-integration approach to instruction is improving students’ social-emotional and communications skills and helping students and teachers to achieve both individual and classroom goals.

Supported by a $4.6 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from OII in 2010, the Everyday Arts for Special Education (EASE) project is also being adapted by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), where special education leaders are using the project’s arts-integration techniques to help achieve a system-wide goal of reducing the number of self-contained classrooms and schools. The Urban Arts Partnership, which manages the EASE grant for District 75, began leading professional development sessions for LAUSD teachers two years ago, and this year is working with 45 teachers in L.A. and nearly 350 in New York City.

The EASE arts-integration approach is “simple yet elegant,” according to Kathy London, the arts instructional specialist for District 75. “These are things anybody can learn,” she told Education Week recently. The arts, rather than being just an add-on to existing lessons, become an organizing framework for lessons. The arts are “a vehicle for delivering content,” noted London.

Participating teachers in grades K-5 have two dozen arts activities that are adapted to fit with content in other curriculum areas. Most District 75 students have behavioral goals — following directions, exercising self-control, and communicating with other students, for example — and EASE is proving very effective in achieving those outcomes. In the 2012-13 school year, for example, more than 75 percent of participating students made progress in each of five of the social-emotional goal areas.

EASE evaluation researchers at Teachers College, Columbia University are analyzing substantial amounts of both quantitative and qualitative data gathered during the past four years, and plan to issue two impact studies, one based on the state’s alternative assessment for students with disabilities, when the project concludes in 2015.

To read the Education Week article, Arts Program Shows Promise in Special Ed. Classes, click here.

Categories: Higher Education News

How Did We Get Here? A Primer on the Ed O’Bannon Case

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-06-09 02:56

The long-awaited Ed O’Bannon trial is scheduled to begin Monday in federal court in California. Here are some of the key questions in the case.

Categories: Higher Education News

As Congress Bickers, Obama Takes Executive Action on Student Loans

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-06-09 02:56

The president is expanding eligibility for a plan that caps loan payments at 10 percent of income. The move could help an additional five million borrowers.

Categories: Higher Education News

In a California Courtroom, Amateurism Goes on Trial

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-06-09 02:56

The plaintiffs are challenging the NCAA's claim that athletes are students first.

Categories: Higher Education News

Are There Really Too Many Administrators? Maybe Not, Study Suggests

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-06-08 22:33

A survey at a Texas flagship found that employees classified as "other professional" were more engaged in research, teaching, or public service than is widely assumed.

Categories: Higher Education News

Amnesty Program Opens Job Market, 2 Years at a Time

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-06-08 22:01

For college graduates who were brought to the United States illegally as children, the federal program provides a chance to put their education to work.

Categories: Higher Education News

Fear of Stigma Lingers About Use of Family-Friendly Policies

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-06-08 22:01

Some female professors say being a mother can still hobble a career.


Categories: Higher Education News
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