Higher Education News
The author of a widely publicized study fields questions on whether a rape-prevention program puts too much of the onus on women.
The concept seemed implausible just months ago, but it has obvious political appeal — and it appears to be picking up steam.
The last time Secretary Duncan visited New Dorp High School on Staten Island, NY, the school was in crisis mode. It was December 2012, and the East Coast was still recovering from the powerful Hurricane Sandy. During his initial tour, Duncan met with students and teachers whose lives had been turned upside down by the devastating storm.
While many schools in the area shuttered their doors, principal Deidre D’Angelis kept New Dorp running, both as a school and as a center for the community. The school was the only functioning facility in a part of the city that bore the brunt of the storm – thousands of homes were destroyed and the area was without power for weeks. During Duncan’s first visit, he was blown away by the stories of survival and resiliency – many of the students and staff he met saw their homes wash away – and he vowed to come back to visit during happier times.
Duncan’s visit last week was certainly more celebratory. He sat in on a concert performed by students with disabilities, and watched seniors play basketball during a physical education class. And just like before, he was incredibly moved by what he had witnessed.
“This is just an amazing, amazing school here. Not every kid is lucky enough to go to a school with this much heart and as much sense of community and family and the kind of high expectations,” he said. “To see just the pain and the fear that the kids and staff were dealing with, the amount of support they were giving to each other, it’s extraordinary.”
Duncan also used the opportunity to congratulate the school and its staff for the academic turnaround it has experienced under the leadership of principal D’Angelis. He highlighted their success as an example of the amazing results that can occur when a community comes together under extreme circumstances, works hard and does the right thing every day.
“From horrible tragedy, great things can happen. You are doing great things here; what you’ve done is amazing,” he said.
Patrick Kerr is a member of the Communications Development division in the Office of Communications and Outreach
From 2000 to 2012, U.S. government spending increased by 32 percent, while state spending fell by 37 percent.
A new app lets students create a video record of mutual consent. When the app even triggers such a conversation, its creator says, “that’s a success.”
Students and faculty members say the system needs someone very much like Thomas W. Ross, who's being forced out as president.
The president of Becker College discusses how the Massachusetts institution is prepared "to thrive in volatile times."
A bitter dispute over tuition reached a breaking point as the president and five trustees walked away from the troubled institution.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education announced a new debt relief process for Corinthian Colleges’ students, and new steps to protect students and taxpayers from abusive career colleges.
Corinthian Colleges, Inc.—which operated schools under the names Everest, Heald, and Wyotech—has been the target of consumer and taxpayer protection enforcement efforts by the federal government and other authorities. The Department of Education investigated and found that between 2010 and 2014, Heald College misrepresented the job placement rates of many of its programs. Investigations by other entities are ongoing. Over the past year, Corinthian sold off many of its schools, and the remaining campuses closed shortly before Corinthian went bankrupt.
Here are a few resources from the announcement:
- Fact Sheet: Protecting Students from Abusive Career Colleges
- Blog Post: For Corinthian Colleges Students: What You Need to Know about Debt Relief
- Blog Post: Debt Relief for Corinthian Colleges Students
- Studentaid.gov Information for Corinthian Colleges Students
There is a lot of information in the links above, and we’re working to address additional questions through student outreach, social media and our website.
One question that we continue to see on social media and through comments on our blog is how can we prevent taxpayers from footing the bill, and ensure that colleges that are bad actors have some “skin in the game.”
The law makes clear that students who have been hurt by illegal acts by schools are entitled to debt relief, and we’re working to make sure that students who were defrauded do not suffer more than they already have. The Obama Administration is committed to making schools accountable through aggressive enforcement of the laws and regulations.
We've led the charge on low-performing for-profits & will cont to crack down on colleges that leave students w/huge debt & worthless degrees
— Arne Duncan (@arneduncan) June 10, 2015
Over the last six years, the Obama Administration has taken unprecedented steps to hold career colleges accountable. We’ve cracked down on bad actors with enforcement and through investigations. We issued “gainful employment” regulations to help ensure that students at career colleges don’t end up with debt they can’t repay with a degree they can’t use. And we’ll continue to hold institutions accountable in order to protect students and taxpayers.
Earlier this week during a call to reporters, Secretary Arne Duncan said that “we are determined to protect students who have been victims of these unethical companies, by ensuring they get every penny of the debt relief they are entitled to, through a streamlined and straightforward process. We’re going to make that as simple as we legally can, while also safeguarding the interests of taxpayers.”
But the Department of Education can’t fully address this issue on its own. As part of this week’s announcement, Secretary Duncan called on Congress to do its part by strengthening consumer protections for students and accountability for colleges. During his press call, Duncan explained that we all have a role to play:
“We can no longer tolerate a situation where all the risk in higher education is borne by students and taxpayers, while members of Congress accept money from the industry and block change. We need Congress to stand with us on accountability, and we have to find ways so that states, colleges, investors and the federal government all have incentives to ensure student success. It’s going to take all of us.”
This week’s announcement for Corinthian students isn’t the beginning, or the end. It’s one more action by the Obama Administration to ensure higher education is affordable and that students are prepared for a career and life. Secretary Duncan looks forward to working with Congress to make this happen.
My decision to intern at The Department of Education was an easy one. After declaring a Public Affairs major with an Education Policy minor at The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs, I was confident that ED would be the perfect fit for me. Working on the ground and personally experiencing educational inequities at a school in Orlando, Florida, made seeing the policy at the federal level the next best step toward making a change.
I spent my spring semester working with the incredible press team in the Office of Communications and Outreach. The press team has a hand in nearly everything that goes on at The Department of Education, from pre-kindergarten to higher education. Communication is our primary goal on our team (hence the name), but I think the ‘outreach’ segment of our job is what touched me the most.
Throughout my time with the press team, I managed many day-to-day tasks, from news roundups of the Department’s events, press outreach to gain coverage of our initiatives, or social media analysis of hot button issues in the realm of education policy. Our office was constantly moving, as talks to craft a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act began in Congress. But my work extended far beyond the day-to-day. I had the opportunity to prepare reporter bios and issue summaries for Secretary Arne Duncan’s press calls and join the team in staffing the meetings. I attended the Secretary’s budget hearings and speeches as the Congressional discussions with other interns. As my spring capstone course met one evening, we discussed our workdays while waiting for our professor. I eagerly told my group about the Secretary’s press call I sat in on that morning with student reporters that featured a special guest: President Barack Obama!
Seeing the macro, federal level of education through the press office at ED was the perfect counterpart to my on-the-ground experiences in education. It was truly humbling to see the work of my team, the Secretary, and the Department as a whole come together to engage families and communities with our nation’s work in education. We often saw (and heard of) the disparities in our education system and all the work we have to do—our programs can only do so much for so long. But it was unexplainably encouraging to see all of the work the teachers, parents, and students have done, as they go above and beyond anything the Department has started.
Spending a semester at ED working with dedicated, hardworking individuals to engage the community in educating our nation’s children will remain unmatched alongside the rest of my college experience.
Michelle Fugate is a fourth year student at The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs. She interned at the U.S. Department of Education in Spring 2015.
ED is accepting applications for Fall 2015 internships through July 15, 2015.
If you are interested in interning during the upcoming term, there are three things you must send in order to be considered for an interview:
- A cover letter summarizing why you wish to work at ED and stating your previous experiences in the field of education, if any. Include which particular offices interest you. (But, keep in mind that – due to the volume of applications we receive – if we accept you as an intern we may not be able to place you in your first-choice office.)
- An updated resumé.
- A completed copy of the Intern Application.
Prospective interns should send these three documents in one email to: StudentInterns@ed.gov with the subject line formatted as follows: Last Name, First Name: Summer Intern Application.
(Note: For candidates also interested in applying specifically to the Office of General Counsel, please see application requirements here.)
An internship at ED is one of the best ways students can learn about education policy and working in the civil service. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to develop crucial workplace skills that will help you in whatever career path you choose. In addition to our office of communications and outreach, interns can explore fields like education policy, education law, business and finance, research and analysis, intergovernmental relations and public affairs, all while learning about the role federal government plays in education. An internship with ED also provides students with an opportunity to meet fellow students who share your passion for education, learning, and engagement.
Nine teams of high school culinary students from across the country are headed to Washington, D.C., to compete in the Cooking up Change National Finals on Monday, June 8, at the U.S. Department of Education. Cooking up Change is a dynamic culinary competition that challenges student chefs to create healthy school meals that their peers enjoy and that meet the national nutrition standards for school food. Each team qualified for the national finals by winning a local Cooking up Change competition in their hometown. After preparing and presenting their meals to a panel of esteemed judges—including national policymakers, nutrition experts and celebrity chefs—a national champion will be crowned.
Created in 2007 by Healthy Schools Campaign, Cooking up Change presents the future of school food with healthy, fun, locally inspired meals that appeal to kids. By complying with school nutrition standards and using only commonly available school food service ingredients and equipment, students create recipes that include no more than six steps so that their meals can be easily replicated on a large scale and in real school kitchens. Students have limited time to develop their recipes, test their creations and refine their ideas based on peer feedback and professional nutritional analysis.
Through creativity and hard work, Cooking up Change participants create healthy school meals that their peers love, and that can serve as a model for the future of school food.
“We’re incredibly impressed by and proud of the Cooking up Change National Finals qualifiers” said Healthy Schools Campaign President and CEO Rochelle Davis. “These students are doing much more than taking part in a cooking competition; they’re showing us the way toward solving the political debate over school food. While working within the constraints of the national nutrition standards, they’ve created healthy school meals that their peers love. By taking a page out of their cookbook, we can make healthy and delicious school meals a reality for all students.”
Each Cooking up Change student-designed meal complies with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) school nutrition standards for calories, fat and sodium content, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, including side dishes, which meet USDA Smart Snacks in Schools standards.
Through Cooking up Change, students not only learn about healthy cooking and the complexity of the National School Lunch Program, it’s also an opportunity to urge their national leaders to support student health and learning by maintaining a high bar for school food. It’s a message that’s particularly important this year as Congress moves to reauthorize the school nutrition standards that were recently adopted to address the nation’s childhood obesity crisis.
For more information about the Cooking up Change National Finals and to meet the teams and learn about their award-winning menus, go to cookingupchange.org.
Law schools nationwide are facing hard times. At Charleston School of Law, the problems are magnified by a bitter feud over whether a sale is the only way to save the school.
Cheating allegations involving former Texas athletes raise questions about the Longhorns’ enforcement of academic-misconduct policy.
As public colleges in several states face budget cuts, students are voicing opposition. Their activism can be effective, but getting peers involved isn’t easy.
What could the rest of higher education do with a gift as large as the one pledged last week to Harvard?
Ohio and Texas are calling for incident reports to be subject to open-records laws. But it's unlikely that private institutions will see huge changes on the ground.
Many details of the plan, however, are still unknown, including how many Corinthian students would qualify and what the implications are for others.
Building campuses in authoritarian countries and other international efforts can threaten academic freedom, according to a panel of experts at a meeting in London.
Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Education announced new steps to protect students from abusive for-profit colleges, as well as a new debt relief process for students at Corinthian Colleges – which operated schools under the names Everest, Heald, and Wyotech.
Information for borrowers is available at the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website, at our new toll-free number for Corinthian students at (855) 279-6207, and from your loan servicer.
Background on what happened at Corinthian
Corinthian Colleges, Inc. has been the target of consumer and taxpayer protection enforcement efforts by the federal government and other authorities. The Department of Education investigated and found that between 2010 and 2014, Heald College misrepresented the job placement rates of many of its programs. Investigations by other entities are ongoing. Over the past year, Corinthian sold off many of its schools, and the remaining campuses closed shortly before Corinthian went bankrupt.
We’re committed to making the debt relief process as simple, streamlined, and fair as possible. That’s why we’re taking several steps to help borrowers, including appointing a “special master” to help us create a straightforward process for debt relief and implement steps to reduce the burden on borrowers.
Options for Debt Relief
Our Department is committed to helping students affected by the closure of these schools, or who believe they were victims of fraud by their school. Today, we announced next steps to support students who attended Corinthian schools. Here are answers to some common questions about debt relief, depending on your situation.
I attended a Corinthian school that closed
On April 27, Corinthian College closed its 30 remaining locations (see the list of those closed schools). Students who attended any of these closed schools any time after June 20, 2014 have two options:
- Apply for a closed school loan discharge
- Transfer earned credit to another institution to continue his or her education in a comparable program. (Students who select this option may still qualify for defense to repayment of previous loans – more information can be found below.)
A closed school discharge means that 100 percent of the federal student loans you took out to attend the school that closed may be forgiven, including a reimbursement of amounts you already paid back. You can find instructions and a form for seeking closed school debt relief here, or by contacting your loan servicer.
A closed school loan discharge may be an option for you if:
- You did not finish your program at a Corinthian school
- You did not already transfer your Corinthian credits to another school in a similar program (for instance, if you were taking a criminal justice program and you transferred to another criminal justice program, that would be similar)
- You were attending the school when it closed, or withdrew no later than June 20, 2014. A closed school discharge normally only applies to students who withdrew (without completing their program) within 120 days of the school’s closing date, or were attending when the school closed. But for Corinthian students, the Secretary of Education has extended the timeframe to include any Corinthian student who withdrew from one of its closed schools on or after June 20, 2014
Please note that if you choose closed-school debt relief, you can’t transfer your credits to a comparable program at another institution.
Visit studentaid.gov for more information on closed-school loan discharge.
What if I want to transfer my credits?
If you transfer your credits to a similar program at another institution, you cannot request closed-school debt relief. However, if you believe you have a claim against your school under state law, such as fraud, you may still pursue debt relief based on borrower defense to repayment, as described below – even if you transfer your credits to another school
What if I need help?
Visit the contact us page on the FSA website, or use any of the options listed above. Or, for further help, the Department is working with an independent group of organizations and institutions that are setting up a volunteer advising corps to help Corinthian students navigate the different options. Contact them to talk to a volunteer counselor. (Note that as the Department is not managing this initiative, it cannot endorse any advice that a student may receive.)
I believe I was a victim of fraud or another violation of state law at a Corinthian school (whether that school closed or not)
If you were a student at a Corinthian School—Everest, Heald, or Wyotech—and you believe you were a victim of fraud or other violations of state law by the school, you can make a claim for debt relief under a legal rule called “borrower defense to repayment.” This rule applies to all public, private and for-profit schools across the country, and requires students to show that they have a legal claim against their college.
If you were a student at a Corinthian school and you apply, or intend to apply, for borrower defense, you have the option to place your federal loans into forbearance (a special permission to stop payments) while your claim is being resolved, to ensure you do not fall behind on your loan. For students in default, you may request a stop to collection activity. However, interest will continue to accrue during the forbearance or stopped collections period. You may also decide to opt out of forbearance or stopped collections.
Visit studentaid.gov/Corinthian for more information on filing a borrower defense claim and on putting your loans into forbearance
For Certain Heald College Students
The Department has carried out an investigation and determined that Corinthian misrepresented job placement rates for a majority of programs at its Heald College campuses between 2010 and 2014. In an effort to simplify and speed up the process of applying for loan forgiveness, the Department has established that if you relied on those incorrect placement rates, you may be entitled to a discharge of their Federal Direct Student loans you took out to attend those programs through a streamlined process. That process can be done by filling out a straightforward attestation form. In addition, you may request to have your federal loans placed into forbearance or, for defaulted loans, to have collections stopped while your claim is reviewed.
Visit studentaid.gov/Corinthian for more information about how the Heald College findings may affect you.
If you are a Corinthian student seeking debt relief of any type and didn’t get your question answered, please visit the FSA website or call our toll-free number, (855) 279-6207, and a staff member will provide the information you need.
Too many of America’s large “career colleges” are failing to live up to the name. Rather than providing students with the opportunity for a solid education that leads to a good job, some of these institutions — often run by for-profit companies — have left students with lots of debt and few job prospects, putting both students and taxpayers at risk. This Administration is committed to changing that, through action to hold institutions accountable and to ensure Americans are protected from unscrupulous colleges that deny students meaningful educational opportunities and leave taxpayers holding the bag.
Over the past six years, the Department of Education has taken unprecedented actions to establish tougher regulations to prevent misleading claims by career colleges. The Department also issued “gainful employment” regulations, which will help ensure that students at career colleges don’t end up with debt they cannot repay. This Department has also cracked down on bad actors through investigations and enforcement to hold colleges accountable in order to improving the value of their programs, protect students from abusive colleges, and safeguard the interests of taxpayers.
College remains the best investment students can make in their future – and students deserve a fair and honest deal. And some for-profit career colleges play a critical role in helping students succeed in their educational and training pursuits. However, when unscrupulous companies take advantage of students, federal and state agencies must step in, and Congress must support those efforts.
Secretary Duncan has directed our team to ensure that students who have been defrauded by their college, or because their school closed down, receive every penny of the debt relief they are entitled to, as efficiently and easily as possible. That need has grown pressing in recent months because of the wind down and ultimate collapse of Corinthian Colleges Inc. (known under the brand names Heald, WyoTech and Everest), following enforcement actions by this Administration and scrutiny by other enforcement entities. Today, our Department is announcing next steps to support students who attended Corinthian schools. We are also committed to ensuring accountability and to continue working aggressively toward reforms that ensure that schools are held responsible for their actions.
How debt relief will work for Corinthian students
Our team has been at work to develop a streamlined process for getting debt relief to Corinthian students. Our aim is to make the process of forgiving loans fair, clear and efficient.
Some Corinthian schools closed down, while others were sold but remain open. We are establishing plans to ensure debt relief for:
- Students whose schools have closed down
- Students who believe they were victims of fraud, whether their school closed or not
These processes are described in our fact sheet and are summarized here.
Information for students
If you are a Corinthian student seeking debt relief of either type, please visit the FSA website or call toll-free at (855) 279-6207 and a staff member will provide the information you need.
For Corinthian students whose schools closed
Students who were enrolled at Corinthian schools that closed can now choose between discharging their student loans (called a “closed school discharge”) and transferring their credits to another school. We are reaching out to the affected students and providing clear information and loan discharge applications on the FSA website.
Normally, only students who withdrew (without completing their programs) within 120 days of a school’s closing, or who were attending the school when it closed, may receive a closed school discharge. Today, we are announcing that the Secretary is exercising his discretionary authority to extend that time frame to include students who withdrew from one of the closed schools on or after June 20, 2014. That is the date when Corinthian signed an agreement with the Department to close or sell all its schools.
If they believe they were defrauded, students whose schools closed may opt for debt relief under borrower defense, as described below, rather than closed-school loan discharge.
For those who need help with closed-school debt relief, the Department is working with an independent group of organizations and institutions, including the California State University System, the California Community College System, Beyond 12, and financial aid counselors, who have teamed up to create a volunteer advisor corps to help Corinthian students navigate their options. Contact them at NextStepsEDU.org to talk to a volunteer advisor. The Department did not create this corps and there may be other organizations that are available to help students. We encourage all students to investigate the best available avenues for assistance.
For former Corinthian students who would like to seek debt relief because of fraud, including Heald College students
Borrowers can make a claim for debt relief because of fraud under a legal rule called “borrower defense to repayment.” This rule requires students to show that they were defrauded by their college under a state’s laws, and we are committed to working with students to make that the simplest, fastest process possible.
In order to ensure that students do not fall behind on payments or default on their loans before claims can be resolved, we will offer all applicants for debt relief the option to go into loan forbearance (a special permission to stop payments), and for students in default, to halt collection activity.
In order to promote efficiency in the resolution of claims and to minimize the burden on students, wherever possible, we will work to use legal findings applicable to groups of students (for example, an entire academic program at a specific campus) to resolve students’ claims. As a first step, in this particular case, the Department has already established that Corinthian misrepresented job placement rates for a majority of programs at its Heald College campuses between 2010 and 2014. Today, we are announcing that these serious findings entitle the defrauded students enrolled in these programs to a discharge of their Federal Direct Student loans, based on a simple attestation that they relied on those fraudulent rates. And we are providing a simple form that will allow students to quickly give us the information we need to give them debt relief.
Going forward, the Department will appoint a special master to oversee borrower defense issues and charge that person with ensuring our process is clear and fair, including a simple, streamlined application for debt relief.
Holding Institutions Accountable
America’s students deserve protection against unscrupulous companies that leave students deep in debt, and with few prospects for employment. Our Administration has taken and will continue to take aggressive steps to protect students and to hold schools accountable, including:
- Establishing new student aid rules to protect students and taxpayers, to ensure students receive an education that leads to good job prospects.
- Strengthening oversight and compliance through inter-agency and Department teams focused on monitoring for-profit institutions.
- Creating options that make student debt more manageable for borrowers, through flexible repayment options such as the Pay As You Earn plan, which caps student loan payments at 10 percent of a borrower’s discretionary income
- Protecting military service members, veterans and their families from predatory actions by for-profit colleges
- Providing families with clear information to make a smart college choice, by providing a wealth of consumer tools designed to help students and families decide which college is right for them
It is impossible not to be moved by the stories of students whose futures were damaged by the institutions they once believed were setting them on a path to a better life. These processes will offer them real and badly needed help. Loan forgiveness can’t give students back the time they invested at Corinthian. But it will help them make a fresh start.
Ted Mitchell is U.S. Under Secretary of Education.