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    "The Department of Education (ED) on Tuesday dropped Globe University and Minnesota School of Business (MSB) – two for-profit colleges under the same ownership – from participating in federal student aid programs"
    5 months ago by @prophe
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    177 Private Colleges Fail Education Dept.'s Financial-Responsibility Test "According to a Chronicle analysis of data released on Tuesday, 177 private colleges that grant degrees failed a U.S. Education Department test for financial responsibility in the 2014-15 academic year. That's 18 more than the previous year," according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. "Of the institutions that failed, 112 are nonprofit, and the remaining 65 are for-profit. In the previous year, 93 of the 159 failing institutions were nonprofit. The department considers an institution’s debt and assets, among other factors, in giving it a score ranging from -1 to 3. Scores lower than 1.5 are considered failing. The department’s methodology in devising the scores has drawn sharp criticism in the past from some higher-education groups. The latest scores cover the institutions for fiscal years ending between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015. Several of the colleges have closed since the 2014-15 academic year. Some, like Dowling College, in Oakdale, N.Y., previously failed the financial-responsibility test, while others, like Saint Joseph’s College, in Rensselaer, Ind., passed it." NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented. Publication Date: 3/10/2017
    5 months ago by @prophe
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    Dive Brief: Career training programs will have until July 1 to appeal the U.S. Department of Education for reconsideration of compliance under current gainful employment and revenue reporting guidance enacted by the Obama administration, a signal that the Trump administration is holding to promises of massive deregulation in the federal education agency. The extended review period will allow schools the chance to prove they were unfairly assessed in previous years, under rules requiring that graduates' loan payments do not exceed 20% of their discretionary income or 8% of total earnings, metrics that many for-profit college advocates say was an unfair rule designed to disrupt for-profit impact in higher education. For-profit leaders applauded the extension, but opponents say the delays will allow more students to potentially be defrauded by predatory recruitment schemes and false information about postgraduate outcomes. Dive Insight: The extended review of the gainful employment policies will have impact throughout the higher education sector, as community colleges and schools which disproportionately serve poorer students will now have time to provide more context about graduation rates and employment outcomes which previously may not have been possible due to time constraints. Additionally, the extension signals the first sign of regulatory repeals for higher education, one of the only signature details of President Trump's higher education platform during the campaign season, and a recurring theme shared by Congressional higher education leaders. For most institutions, this is a positive sign towards reducing costs and manpower committed to compliance efforts, but for smaller institutions with missions to serve underrepresented populations, it may be a lifeline.
    5 months ago by @prophe
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    The U.S. Department of Education this week released the annual update of its financial responsibility test scores for private colleges, which is based on data from 2014-15. The 187 institutions that have a failing score -- most of which are small and either private nonprofit or for-profit -- will lose access to federal financial aid without a provisional certification from the department. The department may also require colleges with low or failing scores to take out a letter of credit or be subject to a sanction called heightened cash monitoring. The test was designed to keep tabs on the fiscal stability of colleges, with an eye toward preventing financial aid from going to institutions that may shut down abruptly. For example, Dowling College, which shut down last year, has a failing score on the new list. However, many private college officials have for years criticized the department's methodology for the test. They say the scoring system fails to use generally accepted accounting practices, is backward looking and does not capture the complexity of a college budget. For example, a decline in a college endowment's investment value is counted as an operating loss. The department's Office of Inspector General recently agreed with some of that criticism, noting in an audit released last week that the test's methodology should be improved.
    5 months ago by @prophe
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    According to a Chronicle analysis of data released on Tuesday, 177 private colleges that grant degrees failed a U.S. Education Department test for financial responsibility in the 2014-15 academic year. That’s 18 more than the previous year. Of the institutions that failed, 112 are nonprofit, and the remaining 65 are for-profit. In the previous year, 93 of the 159 failing institutions were nonprofit. The department considers an institution’s debt and assets, among other factors, in giving it a score ranging from -1 to 3. Scores lower than 1.5 are considered failing. The department’s methodology in devising the scores has drawn sharp criticism in the past from some higher-education groups. The latest scores cover the institutions for fiscal years ending between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015. Several of the colleges have closed since the 2014-15 academic year. Some, like Dowling College, in Oakdale, N.Y., previously failed the financial-responsibility test, while others, like Saint Joseph’s College, in Rensselaer, Ind., passed it.
    5 months ago by @prophe
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    The Trump administration has taken its first shot at rules designed to protect students from expensive, low-quality colleges and career training programs. Less than a month after Betsy DeVos was sworn in as its top official, the U.S. Department of Education announced Monday evening that it would delay until July 1 an effort to crack down on career training programs that load students up with unpayable debt. The biggest winners: the more than 800 higher educational programs that claim to lead to “gainful employment” but flunked the department’s January excessive debt test—mostly for-profit art and cosmetology schools. These programs can now continue to recruit applicants (at least until July 1) without having to warn them about alumni’s oppressively high debt loads. The schools can also take this extra time to seek data showing that their graduates’ student loan bills are actually below the official “excessive debt” cutoff. That means bills must be no more than 12% of the average student’s gross earnings, as reported to the Social Security Administration, and no more than 30% of their discretionary income. That means, for example, that students considering entering, say, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s two-year Associate’s program in graphic design won’t necessarily be warned that the typical graduate of the program has taken on about $40,000 in debt, but finds a job paying only about $22,000 a year. The monthly financial reality for such graduates is grim. Their before-tax monthly salary works out to about $1,900. The monthly payments on a standard 10-year student loan repayment plan top $400 – or more than 20% of their gross earnings. The department said it would use the extra time to “further review the [Gainful Employment] regulations and their implementation.” The action puts the brakes on one of many last-minute moves by the Obama administration. In January, the Department of Education issued an analysis of the earnings and student debt levels of more than 8,600 higher education programs that offer pr
    5 months ago by @prophe
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    The Trump administration just handed an olive branch to the battered industry. he Trump administration appears poised to undo one of its predecessor’s most ambitious attempts to rein in for-profit college rapacity. The Department of Education is delaying the so-called “gainful employment” rule, in place since 2015, the Wall Street Journal’s Josh Mitchell reports. Under the Obama-era rule, the Department of Education would shut off the financial-aid spigot for higher education institutions if their typical graduate reported spending more than 30 percent of after-tax cash or 12 percent of total income on student loan payments. In other words, if a college saddles too many of its students with debt and shabby job prospects — if graduating classes debt-to-income ratios don’t look good for a few consecutive years — it will be barred from receiving Stafford loans, Pell grants, and other forms of taxpayer funding for higher education. The more than 800 schools that the Department of Education threatened in January with sanctions under the rule—98 percent of which are for-profit institutions like Full Sail University and University of Phoenix — will now have until July 1st to hire independent auditors to investigate whether the government’s damning data on their students career outcomes is wrong or flawed. Since most for-profit colleges derive most of their revenue from students’ federal financial aid packages, thousands of the schools may have eventually had to close their doors without reconsideration by the Department. The extended timeline to appeal, and the department’s promise to review the rule, could be a lifeline for an industry that was facing an unprecedented crackdown via states attorneys general lawsuits and federal enforcement actions. But, as Pacific Standard reported in 2015, this wouldn’t be the first time the industry has bounced back from a regulatory beating. For-profit college parent companies stocks have surged since Donald Trump’s election in November. Now, shareholder faith looks like it could g
    5 months ago by @prophe
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    Senate Democrats want Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to explain why she’s delaying the implementation of an Obama-era rule aimed at ensuring career-training programs, specifically those at for-profit colleges, actually prepare students for good-paying jobs. In a letter to DeVos this week, Sens. Dick Durbin (Ill.), Patty Murray (Wash.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) called the department’s gainful employment rule a critical protection for both students and taxpayers. On Jan. 9, the department released final debt-to-earning rates for career training programs required by the rule finalized under Obama in October 2014. Under the rule, the estimated annual loan payment of a typical graduate would have to be at or below 20 percent of his or her discretionary income or 8 percent of his or her total earnings to be considered a program that leads to gainful employment. Programs that exceed these levels would be at risk of losing their ability to participate in taxpayer-funded federal student aid programs. Late last week the department gave schools more time to appeal their ratings, which are generated using earnings data from the Social Security Administration and debt information from the department’s records and the school. Final appeals, originally due March 10, are now due July 1. But Democrats argue the rule was generous to begin with, giving schools three opportunities to appeal their rates. “According to a Department spokesperson, the delay was also due to ‘a question about whether schools can provide data to a third party,’” the senators wrote. “It is unclear how this question could not have been solved through follow-up guidance rather than a delay.” DeVos is also giving Gainful Employment Programs until July 1 to switch to a new format in meeting the requirement to disclose information about their programs, including graduation rates, tuition and fee amounts, typical student debt upon graduation and what a graduate is likely to earn. The senators asked DeVos how long
    5 months ago by @prophe
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    Students who were scammed by a for-profit college back in the '80s could get their money back under the Trump administration. The Wilfred American Education Corp. used to run beauty and secretarial schools that primarily attracted low-income students, usually women. In 1988, Wilfred had 58 schools and more than 11,000 students, making it one of the largest for-profit college chains in the country. Many of those students used federal loans to pay for their education. But in 1991, Wilfred was found guilty of fraud in two different federal court cases. By law, the Department of Education should have canceled the student loans after the school was shut down. That didn't happen. Seven former Wilfred students sued President Obama's Education Department, demanding their student debt be canceled and the loan payments they made over the years be reimbursed. They were among 60,000 people who took out government-backed loans to go to Wilfred. That lawsuit was originally dismissed on a technicality. The decision was overturned when a judge said the Education Department was required to tell students if they're eligible to cancel a loan. Now, four people familiar with the case told Bloomberg the federal government is considering a deal. It would allow students to petition to cancel their debt and get refunds on past payments. The outlet notes a lawyer for the students said in a March 9 filing that they "have made substantial progress toward a final settlement," but no official agreement has been submitted to the court yet.
    5 months ago by @prophe
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    It might just be career government lawyers doing their jobs, and doing them well, until the Trump Administration can catch up and work its malevolence, but in court papers filed today, the Trump Justice Department defended the Obama Administration’s gainful employment rule, a measure aimed at curbing predatory abuses by for-profit colleges. The rule penalizes expensive career college programs that, year after year, leave graduates with debts that, based on their earnings, they cannot afford to repay. “The public interest is served by allowing the Department to go forward with implementing the GE regulations,” Justice Department lawyers wrote on behalf of their client, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who is being sued by an association of cosmetology schools. The association’s somewhat risque argument is that many hairdressers and other beauty professionals do not report all their tip income to the IRS, and thus their graduates actually are doing better than the gainful employment calculations give them credit for. Revised under pressure from industry lobbyists, the Obama Administration’s rule is not very strong, but it does endanger some of the worst-of-the-worst college programs. The operators of those programs, who have been raking in billions in taxpayer money, want to make sure they can still act with impunity, even though their abuses have ruined the lives of countless veterans, single moms, and other students. There are good cosmetology schools, as well as other types of career schools. The gainful employment rule aims to channel resources and students to those quality, affordable schools, and away from the kind of for-profit colleges that law enforcement agencies are investigating or prosecuting for fraud. But given: that Donald Trump was previously the proprietor of his own predatory for-profit real estate “university”; that Trump crony Newt Gingrich and congressional Republicans have aggressively advocated for the for-profit college industry; that DeVos has been invested in for-profit education
    5 months ago by @prophe
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    A new report from the American Enterprise Institute argues that state and local funding of public colleges stacks the deck against for-profit institutions under the gainful-employment rule, an Obama administration regulation that measures the ability of graduates of vocational programs to repay their student loans. The rule covers nondegree programs at nonprofit colleges -- mostly community colleges -- and all for-profit programs. Roughly three-quarters of for-profit programs pass the rule, the report said, compared to a relatively small number of nonprofits that are covered under gainful employment. Direct public funding drives much of that disparity, according to the report's authors. "Higher tuition at for-profits means students take on more debt, while public institutions have the luxury of charging lower tuition due to their direct appropriations," the report said. "Therefore, even if a for-profit institution and a public institution have similar overall expenditures (costs) and graduate earnings (returns on investment), the for-profit institution will be more likely to fail the gainful-employment rule, since more of its costs are reflected in student debt." Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration have said they will seek to roll back gainful employment and other Obama-era regulations aimed at for-profits. But such nixing of the rules likely will take time. And this week the U.S. Education Department defended gainful employment in federal court.
    5 months ago by @prophe
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    "For-profit colleges have faced federal and state investigations in recent years for their aggressive recruiting tactics –– accusations that come as no surprise to author Tressie McMillan Cottom," NPR reports. "Cottom worked as an enrollment officer at two different for-profit colleges, but quit because she felt uncomfortable selling students an education they couldn't afford. Her new book, Lower Ed, argues that for-profit colleges exploit racial, gender and economic inequality. Cottom tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that for-profit institutions tend to focus their recruiting on students who qualify for the maximum amount of student aid. 'That happens to be the poorest among us,' she says. 'And because of how our society is set up, the poorest among us tend to be women and people of color.' Though for-profit colleges hold out the promise of a better future, Cottom notes that the credentials they offer tend to be 30 to 40 percent more expensive than the same credentials from a nonprofit public institution. What's more, she says, students at for-profit institutions often drop out before completing their degree, which means many students are left mired in debt and with credits that are not easily transferable. 'The system that we've come to rely on to increase access to higher education to the most vulnerable among us really only compounds their poverty and their risk factors,' Cottom says. 'That's the exact opposite of what higher education is supposed to do.'" NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.
    5 months ago by @prophe
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    For-profit college investors bid up stock prices in anticipation of a lenient Trump administration. Were they wrong? For-profit colleges were supposed to thrive under a Trump administration staffed by officials known to be friendly to the industry. President Donald Trump and Republican allies in Congress had made broad promises either to revisit or to repeal federal rules governing the schools. That gave hope to for-profit colleges and their investors, driving up their stock prices. Meanwhile, consumer protection advocates worried about a resurgent for-profit college sector unburdened by Obama-era rules. A legal filing from last week suggests perhaps those assumptions were premature. In late March, the Trump administration offered a forceful defense of the so-called gainful employment rule, the 2015 regulation that threatens to shut off the spigot of normally free-flowing federal funds that sustain career programs if the typical graduate's annual loan payments exceed 20 percent of her discretionary income or 8 percent of total earnings. It also called on suspect career programs to warn prospective students if they risked running afoul of the guidelines. Colleges mostly opposed the rule. “The regulations are intended to protect students and taxpayers by providing warnings about programs with relatively high loan debt compared to the earnings their students could hope to achieve after graduating from those programs,” Justice Department attorneys wrote in their brief on behalf of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Students benefit from the warnings, Trump administration lawyers wrote, “because it could prevent them from taking on debt that they will not be able to repay, and they could more reasonably evaluate whether they would prefer to enroll in programs that have been more successful in enabling their students to find employment that would allow them to repay their loans.” Taxpayers would benefit, too, they wrote, because of the likely corresponding fall in defaults on federal student loans. “The public intere
    5 months ago by @prophe
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    It may be too late for shuttered Corinthian Colleges, ITT Technical Institute or even Trump University, but Wall Street is betting the potential rollback of Obama-era initiatives to hold for-profit colleges accountable may lead to a resurgence of the beleaguered industry. Rebounding from what some analysts saw as an existential threat during the Obama administration, for-profit college stocks are up sharply since Donald Trump's November election amid renewed investor optimism — and growing concern from education watchdogs. "The perception of investors has been that the prior administration was really out to get the sector," said Trace Urdan, a research analyst at Credit Suisse. "Trump helps make these companies more investable because there is less concern that the government is trying to drive them out of business." Less than 100 days into Trump's presidency, the Department of Education under Secretary Betsy DeVos has delayed implementation of gainful employment rules, withdrawn key federal student loan servicing reforms, and signaled a less onerous regulatory environment for the essentially taxpayer-financed career education sector. While good news for investors, the policy shift may mean "buyer beware" for students such as Gilbert Caro, of Chicago, who amassed nearly $100,000 in debt while working toward a master's in business administration at DeVry University, only to end up working as a prison guard near Joliet. Caro is among the tens of thousands of for-profit college graduates alleging they were misled and seeking relief from their federal student loans. "The initial signs are troubling," said Pauline Abernathy, executive vice president of the Institute for College Access and Success, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization focused on alleviating student debt. The for-profit college industry, which saw enrollment peak during the depths of the Great Recession, became the focus of an Obama administration crackdown in 2011, taking on everything from inflated job placement claims to predatory fin
    5 months ago by @prophe
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    Student debt is a personal challenge for more than 44 million Americans, but a lucrative business opportunity to the firms that manage the more than $1 trillion now outstanding. With a delinquency rate currently exceeding 11 percent, some see student loans as a major risk to the U.S. economy, one rivaling the mortgage loan market that crashed in 2007. There has also been widespread concern about the effects of college debt on the lives of individual students “what authorities describe as systematic mistreatment of borrowers.” Because these loans are guaranteed or are made directly by the federal government, the U.S. Department of Education is responsible for managing this complex system and balancing the competing interests of the various stakeholders. Last week, Education Secretary Elizabeth DeVos took action to reverse the course she inherited from the prior administration. In 2015, President Obama announced his Student Aid Bill of Rights, which aimed both to create a more efficient loan management system and to “reduce student loan defaults and encourage borrower success.” In recognizing the needs of borrowers, it sought to more fairly balance the interests of individual borrowers with those of the federal government and those doing business managing the debt under government contract. Two policy directives from the Obama administration’s Department of Education, which Bloomberg News described as directing the Federal Student Aid office to “do more to help borrowers manage, or even discharge, their debt,” were cancelled. The Obama administration sought to balance the interests of those taking out student loans and the business interests of the private firms contracted to service and collect these debts. Ideally, by taking borrowers’ interests into account, the amount of unpaid debt would be decreased, as would the cost to the federal government, and the harmful effect of predatory practices could be lessened. In her memo to the FSA, Secretary DeVos showed that efficient repayment was the singular goal of her
    5 months ago by @prophe
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