December 12, 2019
By Scott Olson, NBC News
The University of Phoenix and its parent company have agreed to pay $50 million in cash and cancel $141 million in student debt to settle allegations of deceptive advertisement brought by the Federal Trade Commission.
The deal, announced Tuesday, settles a dispute over an ad campaign the for-profit college launched in 2012 touting partnerships with companies including Microsoft, Twitter and Adobe. It suggested the school worked with those companies to create job opportunities for students, even though there was no such agreement, investigators found.
The Federal Trade Commission said the settlement is the largest the agency has ever obtained against a for-profit college.
“Students making important decisions about their education need the facts, not fantasy job opportunities that do not exist,” said Andrew Smith, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The University of Phoenix said in a statement that much of the dispute focused on a single ad campaign that ran from 2012 to 2014. It said it agreed to the deal “to avoid any further distraction from serving students.”
“The campaign occurred under prior ownership and concluded before the FTC’s inquiry began. We continue to believe the University acted appropriately,” the company said.
Apollo Education Group owns the University of Phoenix. The Arizona-based for-profit college chain has 55 campuses across the nation and teaches thousands of students through its online programs. It’s the nation’s largest recipient of GI Bill tuition benefits for military veterans.
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December 2, 2019
By Aarthi Swaminathan
Student debt isn’t just a student problem. Across the U.S., many parents also struggle with the burden of student loans.
A recent survey by Freedom Debt Relief found that 37% of 1,506 American adults said their children’s college education cost has made them feel financially overwhelmed. And 20% said that the stress has contributed to mental or emotional health issues.
More than 40% said education costs impacted their retirement plan, with 31% indicating that they had “given up retiring when they initially desired.”
Yahoo Finance spoke with one parent in a particularly difficult student loan situation: a 60-year-old factory worker from Scranton, Pa., who had cosigned a loan for his son. (The man, whom we’ll call Frank, asked for anonymity to protect his son.)
‘It’s not nice for a hard-working middle class family’
Frank’s student debt experience began when his son got into a college. As a “middle-class working family” that brings in about $75,000 a year, Frank and his son started borrowing.
The son fell seriously ill after attending the school for one-and-a-half years and dropped out. After his health improved, the son decided to resume his education at a different school. All the while, both father and son continued to borrow.
The expenses began mounting: The family had a refinanced mortgage and credit card debt, as well as home and car insurance to pay. On top of that, they had recurring medical bills. And there was the possibility of more kids going to college.
“[With] some of my bills, I was in no position to barely help myself,” Frank said.
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November 11, 2019
By Stacy Cowley, The New York Times
About 1,500 students who attended two art institutes that were part of the sudden collapse of a career-school chain this year will have their federal loans canceled, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said on Friday.
It was a rare victory for borrowers seeking debt relief from a department that, under Ms. DeVos, has frozen or curtailed relief programs for students who claim that schools defrauded them. Borrowers who attended the two schools, the Art Institute of Colorado and the Illinois Institute of Art, sued the department last month, seeking to have their loans eliminated.
“Students were failed and deserve to be made whole,” Ms. DeVos said. Students who attended the schools from late January 2018 through the end of last year, when they shut down, will have their loans for that period canceled, the department said.
Borrowers will still generally owe on federal loans they took out before Jan. 20, the department said in an email sent to borrowers on Friday. Some people, however, may qualify to have all of their loans eliminated through the department’s closed school discharge program.
The decision was the latest twist in the messy unraveling of the chain, Dream Center Education Holdings, which owned dozens of campuses under the Art Institutes, South University and Argosy University brands.
Dream Center was owned by a Christian nonprofit that acquired the troubled group of for-profit schools in late 2017. It closed some schools within a few months, and the entire chain abruptly shut down barely a year later after millions of dollars in federal financial aid funds that were owed to students went missing. The money has still not been recovered.
The accreditation for the Art Institute’s Colorado and Illinois campuses was removed by the Higher Learning Commission in January 2018, around the time Dream Center took them over. The loss of certification meant that students risked being unable to transfer their credits to other schools or have their credentials recognized by employers.
Officials at the Art Institutes never told students that the campuses had lost their accreditation, according to court filings and the Higher Learning Commission.
By law, the Education Department is not allowed to release federal student loan funds to for-profit schools that are not accredited. But the department sent more than $10 million to the two schools and, according to emails and other records, told Dream Center officials that it was working to allow schools to become retroactively accredited.
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November 5, 2019
By Kelly Burch, Business Insider
During my freshman year of college, there was a five-figure gap between what my financial aid covered and what tuition cost. In hindsight, I should have seen that bill and run to my nearest community college, since the four-year university I was planning to attend was clearly unaffordable.
Instead, I turned to private student loans to cover the cost. As a broke 18-year-old with no official work history, I couldn’t get approved for a private student loan on my own. My parents couldn’t either because of their credit histories. I was panicked, until an aunt offered to cosign an $18,000 loan.
I was incredibly grateful at the time, and still am today. That loan allowed me to get started in a journalism program that kickstarted my career. However, in the 12 years since that loan was dispensed, I’ve learned a lot about cosigning.
I recently refinanced the loan in my own name, and I’ll never ask for a cosigner again. And though I am incredibly grateful for the gift my aunt gave me, I’ll never be a cosigner myself. Here’s why.
Cosigning affects you, even if everything goes well
Many people think a cosigner is merely a backup payee. If the primary borrower doesn’t pay, the lender can go to the cosigner, who is also responsible for the loan. If you think about cosigning this way, there’s little risk, as long as you believe the primary borrower will hold up their end of the deal.
However, that’s not the full picture. When you cosign a loan, it shows up on your credit report. Lenders consider cosigned debt just the same as they would consider debt where you’re the primary borrower. It affects your all-important debt-to-income ratio, which can limit your ability to get additional credit in the future. That means that even if the person you cosigned for is doing everything right, their loan can still change your financial situation.
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September 20, 2019
By Megan Leonhardt, CNBC
It may seem like student loans and millennials are inextricably linked. But a new survey shows that education bills are not the leading source of debt among this generation.
Millennials (defined here as ages 23 to 38) have racked up an average of $27,900 in personal debt, excluding mortgages, according to Northwestern Mutual’s 2019 Planning & Progress Study. The findings are based on a survey conducted by The Harris Poll of over 2,000 U.S. adults.
The biggest source of debt? Credit card bills. And that’s a “troubling” trend, Chantel Bonneau, a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual, tells CNBC Make It.
“One issue that a lot of millennials have is that they have not wanted to sacrifice their lifestyle, even though they have student loans or lower incomes,” Bonneau says. “That has left us in this spot where they’ve accumulated a significant amount of credit card debt.”
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September 16, 2019
By Andrew Kreighbaum, Inside Higher ED
In her first significant act as Education Secretary more than two years ago, Betsy DeVos said she planned to overhaul an Obama administration student loan rule designed to protect borrowers defrauded by their college.
Despite her efforts, the Obama borrower-defense regulations took effect last year. But on Friday DeVos capped off a two-year effort by issuing her own rule, which scales back loan forgiveness opportunities for student borrowers.
The new regulations significantly raise the bar for student borrowers seeking debt forgiveness based on claims they were defrauded by their colleges. They add a new three-year time limit for those borrowers to file claims, and each case will be considered individually, even if there is evidence of widespread misconduct at an institution.
Borrowers will also be asked to demonstrate they suffered financial harm from their college’s misconduct and that the college made deceptive statements with “knowledge of its false, misleading, or deceptive nature.”
The collapse of the Corinthian Colleges chain and subsequent flood of debt-relief claims prompted Education Department officials under the last administration to issue the 2016 borrower-defense rule.
Although the rule was a response to misconduct in the for-profit college sector, it applied to all Title IV institutions. And private nonprofit college groups had expressed concerns that their institutions could be on the hook for student claims even for unintentional mistakes in marketing materials. DeVos had made clear previously that she thought the regulations were too permissive, essentially offering borrowers the chance at “free money.”
“We believe this final rule corrects the wrongs of the 2016 rule through common sense and carefully crafted reforms that hold colleges and universities accountable and treat students and taxpayers fairly,” she said in a statement accompanying the rule.
Education Department officials said the new three-year time limit for claims aligns with record-retention requirements for colleges. They said the process will give institutions the opportunity to respond to claims and students the chance to elaborate on claims based on those responses.
The DeVos regulations will save the federal government about $11 billion over 10 years, the department estimates (the federal government shoulders the cost of loan discharge if it cannot recoup funds from the institutions themselves). Consumer advocates argue those savings are created by rigging the system against borrowers.
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September 4, 2019
By Elissa Nadworny, NPR
You argue in the book that the idea of going to college is pervasive in American life.
It is pervasive. That message is coming at families from every direction: that being a success in America depends upon the ability to get into college, to get an education and to graduate. But that itself depends on the ability to pay, which thrusts us right into the paradox of it all — which is that on the one hand, young adults and the parents who support them have this very clear goal about getting a college education. On the other hand, that is going to cost them dearly.
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August 19, 2019
By Megan Leonhardt, CNBC
When it comes to uncomfortable conversations, Americans would rather talk about pretty much anything else — politics, health issues, religion — than discuss their finances.
Yet the money topic Americans voted as most thorny is one that’s constantly in the news: student loans. Over a third of Americans say they see student loan debt as the biggest financial taboo, according to a Harris Poll of over 1,000 U.S. adults commissioned by TD Ameritrade.
A similar survey conducted by the MIT AgeLab and sponsored by TIAA found that 40% of respondents reported they never talk to their family about their student loans. In fact, over half said their families know “nothing” or “very little” about their debt.
Yet you’re far from unique if you’re swimming in student loan debt. Americans have amassed $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, with one in four Americans carrying a balance. And both the prevalence and the effect of student loans is widely studied: the Fed found that 20% of the homeownership decline among millennials (ages 24 to 32) can be attributed to this debt. Other surveys have found that student loan debt is forcing millennials to put off other major life milestones, such as getting married and starting families.
Democratic 2020 presidential candidates are even making student loan debt solutions a core component of their campaigns — promising everything from better refinancing options to introducing more debt forgiveness programs to wiping it out completely.
So why aren’t people talking about their student loans around the dinner table or with friends over drinks? It’s personal, experts say. “Student loan debt may be pervasive and a constant topic in the media and in the political arena, but it’s still debt,” Erin Lowry, author of Broke Millennial Takes On Investing, tells CNBC Make It. “People are fundamentally uncomfortable talking about debt because it’s easy to assume another person is going to pass judgement on your choices.”
And boy do they.
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August 5, 2019
By Zack Friedman, Forbes
An educator thought she was on track to receive student loan forgiveness.
She made the payments. She thought she did everything right.
Then, she was told years later that she didn’t qualify.
Here’s what you need to know – and how you can avoid her fate.
New Lawsuit: Student Loan Forgiveness
As first reported by NPR, Debbie Baker, a Director Education at a non-profit organization in Tulsa, Oklahoma, expected that her $76,000 of student loan debt would be forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, a federal program through the U.S. Department of Education that forgives federal student loans for individuals who work in public service.
According to Baker, her student loan servicer – the company responsible for collecting and managing her student loan payments – allegedly told her for nine years that she met all the requirements to receive public service loan forgiveness. As such, Baker thought she would have all her federal student loan forgiven after meeting the program’s requirements, which she believed she met. However, after making her usual monthly payments under an income-driven repayment program, the U.S. Department of Education said she did not qualify for student loan forgiveness. You can imagine Baker’s reaction.
Now, Baker is a plaintiff in a new lawsuit filed by the American Federation of Teachers, one of the nation’s largest teacher’s unions, against the U.S. Department of Education, which is led by Secretary Betsy DeVos. The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that:
- the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is “grossly mismanaged” and
- the program, as it’s currently administered, violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
- the U.S. Department of Education is aware that student loan servicers make misrepresentations to borrowers, which results in borrowers getting rejected for student loan forgiveness and suffering financial and other harm.
Was Baker given the wrong information from her student loan servicer? Was it Baker’s responsibility to understand all the requirements of the program? Is the program administered properly? What is the proper role of student loan servicers – advisors or student loan payment collectors? Many of these issues may be addressed as a result of this lawsuit.
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August 1, 2019
By Elissa Nadworny, NPR
Most days, 25-year-old Chavonne can push her student loan debt to the back of her mind.
Between short-term office jobs in the Washington, D.C., area, she drives for Uber. But once in awhile, a debt collector will get hold of her cellphone number — the one she keeps changing to avoid them — and it all comes back fresh. “I’ll be like, ‘Oh no!’ ” she says. “It’s a sad reminder that I owe somebody money!”
In April, she got another reminder when the government seized her tax refund.
All this for a degree she never finished.
Back in high school, she recalls, her teachers and friends pushed her to go to college. And so, without too much thought, Chavonne enrolled at the University of Mississippi and borrowed about $20,000 to pay for it.
Far away from home and in a challenging environment, she struggled — and after three semesters, she’d had enough. Her college days are five years behind her, but the debt she took on is not.
Today, rent, car payments, gas and food are higher up on her list of priorities. And so she’s in default, not paying on her loans.
The one thing that could help Chavonne earn more money, of course, is earning a degree. But because she’s in default, she doesn’t have access to federal student aid that could help her go back and finish. It’s a vicious cycle for Chavonne and millions of other students who leave college with debt and without a degree.
From mid-2014 to mid-2016, 3.9 million undergraduates with federal student loan debt dropped out, according to an analysis of federal data by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news organization.
The default rate among borrowers who didn’t complete their degree is three times as high as the rate for borrowers who did earn a diploma. When these students stop taking classes, they don’t get the wage bump that graduates get that could help them pay back their loans.
The perception is, work hard and pay what you owe, says Tiffany Jones, who leads higher education policy at the Education Trust, “but it’s not manageable even if you’re working.”
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July 26, 2019
By Collin Binkley, ABC News
Tens of thousands of federal student loan borrowers may be getting their monthly payments lowered by lying about their income and family size, yet the U.S. Education Department is doing little to catch them, according to a report released Thursday by a federal watchdog agency.
Among the most extreme cases reported by the Government Accountability Office are two separate borrowers who claimed to have 93 relatives in their households, along with 3,300 cases in which borrowers said they had no income even though federal data suggest they made $100,000 a year or more. All were approved for lower loan payments.
Investigators were reviewing the Education Department’s oversight of its popular income-driven repayment plans, which allow borrowers to pay lower monthly rates based on their incomes and family sizes. After 25 years of payments, all remaining debt is wiped clean.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said her agency will conduct comprehensive review of the repayment plans and will refer cases of fraud to the Justice Department for prosecution. She placed blame on previous administrations, saying the problems are proof that “many of the policy ideas previously pursued were poorly implemented.”
“Misrepresenting income or family size is wrong, and we must have a system in place to ensure that dishonest people do not get away with it,” DeVos said. “We didn’t create that problem, but rest assured we will fix it.”
The federal watchdog agency says it identified 95,100 cases in which borrowers were approved as having no income even though it appears they were earning money. Using wage data from the Department of Health and Human Services, investigators found that borrowers in a third of those cases may actually have been making $45,000 a year or more, including some who topped $100,000.
They concluded that the department “does not have procedures to verify borrower reports of zero income, nor, for the most part, procedures to verify borrower reports of family size.” Borrowers applying for the repayment plans can check a box indicating they have no income, and the department generally takes them at their word with no further documentation needed, the investigation found.
If approved, borrowers with no income typically are not required to make monthly payments.
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July 23, 2019
By Annie Nova
Elisha Bokman has been out of school for eight years. Still, her student loan balance is half a million dollars.
Today, for her doctorate degree in naturopathic medicine and master’s in acupuncture from Bastyr University, she owes $499,322.69.
She and her husband struggled to buy a house because of her debt. Eventually, the financial stress led them to a divorce. “He felt like he couldn’t live his life or do the things he wanted to do,” Bokman, 38, said. She wanted to open her own medical practice, but she said her student debt prevents her from getting a business loan.
“It really effects the remainder of your life,” Bokman said. “There’s no out.”
Around 178,000 graduate students owed more than $100,000 in the 2015-2016 academic year, up from 51,000 in 2003-2004, according to Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of SavingForCollege.com. In the first quarter of 2019, over 6% of all student loan borrowers owed more than $100,000, up from 5.4% in 2017.
Recently, Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have proposed forgiving student debt. Warren’s plan would reduce people’s tabs by up to $50,000, whereas Sanders’ would erase it all.
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July 18, 2019
Paying with paper instead of plastic helped Kristy Epperson eliminate $20,000 in student loan and car loan debt in just one year.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Wright State University in 2017, Epperson owed about $16,000 in student loans from multiple borrowers with interest rates of between 3.6% and 6.8%. She also had roughly $4,000 left on her car loan, at an interest rate of 4.2%.
Even as Epperson began slowly chipping away at that debt, she managed to achieve another financial goal: homeownership. She was able to buy a place in Dayton, Ohio, with only 5% as a down payment. Becoming a homeowner forced her to take a hard look at her expenses and reevaluate her spending habits — which made her more determined to wipe out her student loan and auto debts.
“If something happened, if I lost my job, I’d have no way to pay my bills,” Epperson tells Grow. “I needed a better long-term plan.”
In addition to getting a second job as a substitute teacher, which brought in an extra $100 to $300 a month, Epperson created an expense spreadsheet and began tracking her purchases to help her pay down debt faster. She used her Instagram page, @DebtFreeAtTwentyThree, to share her setbacks, strategies, and accomplishments.
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July 15, 2019
By Andrew Kreighbaum
For Inside Higher Ed
In a bid to boost the number of students receiving financial support for college, Texas will soon become the second state to require high school seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid before graduating.
A handful of states have looked at making FAFSA completion mandatory for graduating high school students. Beginning with the 2020-21 academic year, Texas will provide a serious test case for the policy after big successes in Louisiana, which enacted the requirement last year.
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Completing the form is a leading indicator of college enrollment. And there’s ample evidence that more financial aid is associated with outcomes like college completion. Actually achieving big gains in FAFSA completion, though, requires significant investment and outreach by schools and state officials.
During the past academic year, Louisiana saw FAFSA completions by high school students climb by more than 25 percent. College access groups say high school seniors leave millions of aid dollars on the table each year by not completing the form — often because it’s too difficult or they don’t believe they’ll qualify for aid.
“As the forerunner of this kind of policy, the early successes that Louisiana has seen with mandatory FAFSA has to be encouraging for other states,” said Bill DeBaun, director of data and evaluation at the National College Access Network. “We shouldn’t assume Texas will see the same effects Louisiana did. But given the scale of the state, even a modest effect could make a big splash on the FAFSA completion cycle.”
If Texas has 25 percent of the growth Louisiana saw in FAFSA completions, that would mean an additional 12,700 students submit the application, DeBaun said.
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July 9, 2019
By Brittany De Lea
For Fox News
Exorbitant college Opens a New Window. costs are a significant problem for Americans, but new research shows prospective college students are unaware of how the financial aid Opens a New Window. process works.
A new study from ACT, which surveyed about 1,200 last year, found that many students “lack the most up-to-date … debt-related information” needed to make enrollment and financial aid decisions.
That’s particularly troubling at a time when outstanding student loan debt has surpassed $1.5 trillion, second only to mortgage debt.
Meanwhile, tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 school year averaged $35,830 at four-year private, nonprofit institutions, according to data from The College Board. At public four-year in-state institutions, the average was $10,230 – and $26,290 at public, four-year out-of-state colleges.
The average borrower has nearly $40,000 in student loan debt.
Here’s a look at what most college students surveyed did not know about the financing process.
- An “overwhelming majority” didn’t know that the U.S. government subsidizes a borrower by paying interest on existing loans while the student is still in college.
- A majority of respondents did not know about loan repayment options, which allows students to repay loans based on their earnings after college.
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July 2, 2019
By Christy Bieber
For The Motley Fool
Owing money on student loans can feel like a major financial burden. After all, you have to send money to lenders each month and tons of debt shows up on your credit report.
While you may be tempted to get rid of your student debt ASAP by making extra payments and throwing as much cash at it as you can, this may not actually be the best financial decision. In fact, there are a few key reasons why paying off your student loans early might be a bad idea indeed. Here are four of them.
Image source: Getty Images.
1. Federal student debt comes with borrower protections you can’t get with other debt.
With most types of debt, lenders don’t really care if you’re facing financial hardship — you have to pay back what you owe on schedule. And you can’t just change your payment plan to reduce your payment so it matches your income, nor can you expect to get some of your debt forgiven if you do work that serves the public.
If you have federal student loan debt, on the other hand, there are unmatched borrower protections available to you. Depending on your situation, these borrower protections include:
Eligibility to get loans forgiven if you work in public service and make 120 on-time payments
The option to put loans into forbearance or deferment, and pause payments if you go back to school, are unemployed, serve in the military, join the Peace Corps, or meet other qualifying requirements
The ability to change repayment plans and pick a plan that caps payments at a percentage of income
The government may even subsidize interest on some of your loans during periods when payments are deferred.
Putting extra money toward paying down loans with all these borrower protections rarely makes sense. After all, if you could pay a small percentage of your income for 10 years and get the rest of your loans forgiven because you work for the government or a nonprofit, why pay off your loans early?
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June 28, 2019
By Julia La Roche
For Yahoo Finance
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon says student lending in the U.S. has been “a disgrace” and it’s “hurting America.”
“Is there an issue with student debt? There is, but you’ve got to stop the creation of bad debt,” Dimon told Yahoo Finance’s Andy Serwer in an exclusive interview at the unveiling of JPMorgan’s new flagship bank branch in Midtown Manhattan.
Dimon added that the government has “irresponsibly” lent more than $1 trillion since taking over in 2010.
“And now they want to forgive it,” he said.
Student loan forgiveness has become a focal point of the 2020 election, with Democratic contenders rolling out plans. This week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) unveiled a sweeping cancellation plan that proposed taxing financial transactions.
“I think they should look at all parts of student lending, fix the broken parts, and then forgive those people need forgiveness, and then help people get into school, and then make sure the schools are responsible in getting the kids out,” Dimon said. “And what we’ve done is a disgrace, and it’s hurting America.”
He pointed out that a tax on financial transactions would be paid by investors.
“How they go about taxing, I’ll leave that to the politicians to figure that out,” he said.
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June 26, 2017
By Annie Nova
ABRA BELKE WAS IN LAW SCHOOL when she came across the Givling app, which calls itself “the world’s most incredible trivia game.” It promised winners payments toward their student debt.
“I’m a trivia buff,” Belke, 37, said.
However, she quickly realized it isn’t knowledge on a variety of topics that makes a player competitive on Givling. It’s money.
The app’s most-coveted $50,000 payout is awarded every seven to 10 days to players who reach first place in the game’s queue, which currently has more than 450,000 people, according to the company. To climb in that ranking, players need to accumulate queue points. That can be done by watching ads on the app, buying Givling merchandise or coins and using its paid sponsors, which include Uber Eats and eyewear maker Warby Parker.
Belke did it all. She rose up in the queue and hovered in the top few spots.
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June 20, 2019
By Jillian Berman
For the past few years, the government has been taking pains to collect on Tamara Blanchette’s student loans — garnishing some of the money she receives through her tax refund.
But it’s debt the government shouldn’t be collecting on in the first place, a new lawsuit alleges.
The suit, filed on behalf of Blanchette and similarly situated borrowers, alleges that Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education are collecting on debt that isn’t legally enforceable.
That’s because the Department knows that Blanchette and other students who enrolled in the criminal-justice program at the Minnesota School of Business, a now defunct for-profit college chain, were defrauded by the school when they signed up for the program, according to court documents.
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June 18, 2019
By Victoria Yuen
Center for American Progress
In fall 2017, the U.S. Department of Education released shocking findings about the long-term outcomes of student borrowers of color, particularly those who are black or African American. The data showed that the average black or African American borrower who entered college in the 2003-04 academic year had made no progress paying down their debt by 2015; in fact, they owed more than they originally borrowed. Even worse, nearly half of black or African American student borrowers had defaulted on their loans within the 12-year time period. These findings revealed a repayment crisis for black borrowers and raised serious questions about how the American higher education system serves all communities of color.
But the data have not yet led to any major plans in Congress to improve the outcomes of student borrowers of color. Just last month, for example, front-page headlines trumpeted a wealthy financier’s pledge to pay the student loan debt of an entire graduating class at historically black Morehouse College, demonstrating anew how much student debt is still weighing down African American borrowers—and why these students need systemic solutions.
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June 13, 2019
By: Andrew Kreighbaum
Inside Higher Ed
Senator Elizabeth Warren and other congressional Democrats delivered a warning on Tuesday about the potential dangers of income-share agreements, an alternative form of college financing increasingly popular with some critics of student loans. The lawmakers’ primary target was the Trump administration — which has expressed interest in experimenting with the agreements — but the shot across the bow also aimed at colleges operating their own ISA plans.
Income-share agreements offer students financial support up front and in exchange require them to repay a portion of their income for a set number of years. They first caught on at coding boot camps and similar programs that don’t receive federal student aid. But a handful of four-year colleges have begun offering their own ISA plans and, last month, the Trump administration said it planned to pursue a federal experiment to offer income-share agreements to students.
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June 11, 2019
By Dartunorro Clark
When Michael Sorrell became president of Paul Quinn College 12 years ago, he assessed the dire situation his school was in and made a bold choice: No more football.
“I mean, we’re in Texas. We’re an HBCU in Texas,” Sorrell said. “I got a little flak for that, OK?”
But to him, eliminating the program was the only way the historically black college in Dallas, which was founded in 1872 by a group of preachers from the African Methodist Episcopal Church to educate freed slaves and their children, could get back on track.
Football had cost the school roughly $600,000 to $1 million a year, he said, and scholarships went mainly to the players. Meanwhile, other students struggled, faculty and staff members were leaving, and buildings had fallen into disrepair.
“We were roughly 18 months to 24 months away from closing. We had financial problems. We had academic problems. We had morale problems, and it was the prototypical scenario for an institution that had been struggling for a long time and the end of the road was coming,” he told NBC News in a phone interview.
The challenges Paul Quinn College faced are not unique, experts said, even if its solution was one of a kind.
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June 7, 2019
— CNBC’s Annie Nova contributed to this report.
Chegg has a new plan to help its employees deal with their student loans.
And its CEO wants other companies to follow Chegg’s lead.
The student-connected learning platform announced a new program Thursday that will give its entry- through manager-level workers up to $5,000 a year, if they have been with the company at least two years. Director- or vice president-level employees can get up to $3,000 annually to help pay down their student loan debt.
“We are the beneficiaries of those people who have gotten an education — doesn’t matter if it is four year or two year or even if they completed it,” he added. “If they borrowed money and they are creating value for us, we want to help them.”
Student loan debt has hit record levels, with borrowers owing a total of $1.5 trillion. About 7 in 10 college graduates have education debt.
“We are taking our most vulnerable, least financially stable and we’re creating a burden on them that is unsustainable.”
Many also are unable to find ways to pay their bills. More than 1 million borrowers go into default each year. By 2023, its projected that 40% of borrowers may default on their student loans.
Chegg’s latest benefit is in addition to the $1,000 cash that its employees with student debt already receive each year. To pay for the program, called Equity for Education, Chegg created an equity pool from its existing stock.
“We’ve got a mess and it’s probably the biggest economic crisis facing this country. And we don’t deal enough with it,” Rosensweig said.
The Santa Clara, California-based company certainly isn’t the only business helping workers with some sort of student loan debt assistance.
Last year, Fidelity began to offer companies a way to contribute to their employees’ education debt with its Student Debt Employer Contribution program. It now has more than 65 companies that are offering, or in the process of offering, the benefit.
“A growing number of companies are increasingly aware that helping their employees take on the issue of student debt can help improve their overall financial wellness, which can in turn have a positive impact from a business perspective in a host of ways,” said Asha Srikantiah, head of Fidelity’s Student Debt Employer Contribution.
In fact, Fidelity has already seen an improvement in attracting and keeping top talent since it started offering the program to its own employees in 2016.
“For eligible Fidelity employees from 2016-2018, we’ve seen an approximate 75% reduction in turnover in the first year of program participation,” Srikantiah said. “And, according to a recent internal survey, it’s among the top two reasons people decided to join Fidelity.”
Still, the companies that offer this type of benefit remain the minority. About 4% did so in 2018, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
Chegg’s CEO said his company thought long and hard about how to come up with a program that other companies can copy.
“We wanted to see if we could set an example and create a dialogue,” Rosensweig said.
He’s also hoping the government and colleges take notice of Chegg’s plan and do their part to help with the crisis.
“We are taking our most vulnerable, least financially stable and we’re creating a burden on them that is unsustainable,” Rosensweig said.
June 5, 2019
June 3, 2019
May 30, 2019
By Lara Takenaga Written for the New York Times
Morehouse College’s 2019 graduates don’t have to worry about crushing student debt, since the billionaire investor Robert F. Smith pledged last week to pay it all off. Neither do graduates of colleges in countries that offer affordable tuition and generous stipends.
As young adults wrestle with student debt in the United States, where it has reached $1.5 trillion, many recent graduates in some countries are debt free.
When we asked people around the world what they paid for their higher education and how they financed it, we received nearly 800 responses from more than 40 countries.
Below is a selection of the responses, which show how government policies can shape the personal and professional choices that young adults make as they begin their careers. The responses have been edited and condensed.
Denmark is among the countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that spend the most on postsecondary education, at 1.6 percent of its gross domestic product. (The United States allocates 0.9 percent of its G.D.P.)
I attended the Technical University of Denmark from 2008 to 2013. All university is paid for by taxes. Books are maybe $500 per semester — lower than when I studied in the United States, but still a big expense.
Students who don’t live with their parents get a monthly stipend from the government of about $900 for living costs. Some people get more (if you have a child, for example). If you become pregnant during university, you get a year of parental leave, and you continue receiving the stipend. The stipend goes for up to six years (one year more than a typical bachelor’s and master’s degree). You can work part time up to a certain limit and still keep the stipend, but if you work too much and earn too much money, you have to pay back the stipend.
When we study abroad, we get to bring the tuition with us, and we apply for scholarships to pay other expenses like visas and plane tickets. I studied in Oregon for six months in 2011 and didn’t spend any of my own money.
An increased emphasis on higher education attainment has led to 45 percent of Taiwan’s population aged 15 and older earning a technical college or university degree, a 10 percent increase over the last decade, according to the Taiwanese government.
I graduated from National Taiwan University in 2012 with two majors. My tuition was about $375 per semester. The amount was just a fraction of my parents’ monthly salary, so they helped pay.
Because I didn’t go into debt for college (who should, anyway?), I didn’t feel pressure to get a job immediately or feel the need for a high-paying one. Salary wasn’t my concern; I could do whatever I wanted for my career.
— Hung-Yu Juan. Undergraduate tuition: $3,000. Loans: $0.
Government grants help undergraduate students pay for living costs and education fees in Ireland. Some students have protested the contribution fees of 3,000 euros ($3,360) a year, calling for a publicly funded education system like those elsewhere in Europe.
The government subsidizes undergraduate college education for European Union citizens, so technically my college degree was free. However, you’re required to pay a student contribution to your university, which works out to €3,000 annually, so I paid €12,000 for my degree.
I was extremely fortunate that my parents had put aside college money since I was born, so they covered my tuition, from 2015 to 2019. They also paid for my rent and groceries. I worked throughout my degree to supplement additional costs.
Because the cost of living in Dublin is super high, I was lucky to live in an accommodation that was pretty cheap, albeit gross. Because my parents paid for my degree, its cost did not affect my day-to-day life, but I definitely lived frugally.
— Grace Browne. Undergraduate tuition: €12,000. Loans: $0.
The Labour Party, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, initiated a policy in 2018 that eliminates fees for postsecondary students’ first year. The policy is scheduled to extend to three years by 2024.
I’m in my third year of a six-year undergraduate medical degree at the University of Otago in Dunedin. My first year cost 7,000 New Zealand dollars ($4,600) and subsequent years cost 15,000 N.Z.D. Our government offers loans to all citizens, and residents who have been here more than three years. These loans cover full tuition (and they subsidize the rest of our fees, which, for medicine, are upward of 75,000 N.Z.D. a year). Students are also eligible for an additional loan or an allowance for living costs.
After graduation you pay 12 percent on what you earn above 19,760 N.Z.D. (for me, on a base junior doctor’s salary of 56,000 N.Z.D. a year, I would repay about 4,500 N.Z.D. a year).
As a student doing one of the longest, most expensive degrees and living away from home, my loan will be about 140,000 N.Z.D. when I graduate. However, our government administers our loans, and we don’t get charged interest (unless you leave the country for more than a year), so I have never felt like I’m being crushed by it.
— Hannah Lochore. Undergraduate tuition: 82,000 N.Z.D. Loans: 140,000 N.Z.D.
In Brazil, postsecondary education attainment increased to 17 percent of young adults in 2015 from 10 percent in 2010, according to the O.E.C.D. This is still one of the lowest rates among O.E.C.D. countries. Access to free public universities is extremely competitive, and the demand far exceeds the number of available spots.
I graduated in 2013, and my college education cost about 100,000 Brazilian real ($25,000) for a full-time degree in economics.
I studied at a private college through a scholarship program funded by the federal government called Prouni (basically meaning “university for all” in Portuguese). This program was developed to help students from poor families have access to university; once selected, you have to prove that your family’s income fits the criteria. The students are selected through a national exam that we take after high school.
Even though there was no tuition, I had to move from the countryside to a city and support myself there. I attended a very expensive college, so I also had to deal with social differences because most of the students were from upper-middle-class households.
— Bruno Henrique Ferreira Paulino. Undergraduate tuition: 100,000 Brazilian real. Loans: $0.
In 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, which provides free tuition to state and local universities and colleges, as well as state-run vocational schools.
I studied at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, a top institution in my country. For my first years, 2014 to 2016, the fees were based on my family’s socioeconomic status. The base fees were about $600 per semester. We were middle class and got a discount of 60 percent, so we paid about $240.
After 2017, because my university is a public one, I enjoyed the benefits of tuition exemption.
The costs affected my career a little. My practicum, the last requirement for my degree in nutrition, was the most expensive, about $1,400. My parents had a hard time attaining this. I will take the exam to be a nutritionist and dietitian in August.
— Kiolo L. Belsonda. Undergraduate tuition: $1,440. Loans: $0.
The Student Awards Agency Scotland, a government entity, covers the full fees of eligible Scottish and E.U. nationals who apply; the payments are sent directly to the college or university. To qualify, students must have chosen a course that is funded by the agency and meet certain residency criteria. The Scottish government also sets the tuition rate for these students. For the 2019-20 academic year, tuition is as high as 1,820 British pounds ($2,300), depending on the program.
I’m a European citizen, so my undergraduate tuition at the University of St. Andrews, from 2012 to 2016, was paid by the Scottish government. My parents paid for my accommodation during those years, and I worked part time to fund all other expenses.
Now, my integrated master’s and doctoral degree is funded through the United Kingdom-based Economic and Social Research Council, Scottish Graduate School of Social Science. This covers tuition and a stipend of about £1,200 a month, which I supplement with part-time teaching and research assistant work at the university, as well as a part-time job in a cafe.
Because university was essentially free for me, I had a lot more freedom to pursue my interests, including further education and academic work.
— Olga Loza. Undergraduate tuition: £7,280. Loans: $0.
The share of Turkey’s population aged 25 and older that had earned a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent increased to 14.8 percent in 2016 from 7.3 percent in 2004, according to the Unesco Institute for Statistics. (In the United States, one-third of adults in 2015 had a bachelor’s degree or more education, according to the United States Census Bureau.)
I attended Bilkent University in Ankara from 2006 to 2012 and didn’t pay for my undergraduate legal education. This was possible due to Turkey’s university entrance exam system. By ranking among the top 100 of more than 1.5 million exam takers, I attended a private university for free.
Both state and private institutions are among the best-ranking universities in Turkey. State universities are usually free or have minimal tuition. To compete with state universities, private institutions offer tuition-free quotas.
The government offers stipends to help cover living expenses. Based on the recipient’s income level, these monthly payments are either loans or grants. Exam takers who rank in the top 100 in different score categories receive three times this monthly amount regardless of their income level. This was how I covered my living expenses without burdening my parents.
Going into law without any cost gave me the opportunity to attain higher middle-class income levels despite my parents’ low- to middle-class income level.
— Mustafa Cetin. Undergraduate tuition: 225,000 Turkish lira ($37,000). Loans: $0.
For the 2017-18 academic year, the average cost of undergraduate tuition for Canadian full-time students was about 6,500 Canadian dollars ($4,800), according to Statistics Canada, a government agency. In 2010, the most recent year with available data, half of all students who earned a bachelor’s graduated with debt; the average was 26,300 Canadian dollars. (In 2018, people in the United States with outstanding education debt typically owed between $20,000 and $25,000.)
The cost of my bachelor’s degree from McGill University was about 6,000 Canadian dollars per year for four years, plus books, student fees and living expenses. In total, it was about 50,000 Canadian dollars for all four years.
My parents and I had saved up for the cost of all school expenses. I worked during the summers to be able to pay for living expenses, and my parents helped me where they could so that I could focus on my studies without taking a part-time job during the school year. Because of the reasonable cost of the education, my parents’ forward-thinking approach and my decisions to work during the summer, I did not experience any financial hardships and I graduated without student debt.
Graduating debt free allowed me freedom of opportunity and choice to find my own path and try out different jobs, including working abroad. I was also able to find the right fit and industry, and to walk away from companies and bosses who treat employees unfairly.
— Casey Reynolds. Undergraduate tuition: 24,000 Canadian dollars. Loans: $0.
May 28, 2019
The Growing Trend Of Retiree Student Loan Debt
By Robert Farrington
May 24, 2019
Burger King’s Dystopian Student-Debt Sweepstakes
By Adam Harris
May 20, 2019
Morehouse College grads are surprised by a billionaire’s promise to pay off their student loans
May 15, 2019
The latest victims of the student debt crisis — parents
May 10, 2019
Good news for most student-loan borrowers: Interest rates are going down
By Jillian Berman
Updates on new federal student loan rates to take effect July 1, 2019.
April 30, 2019
Don’t Bail Colleges Out of The Student Loan Mess They’ve Made
By Nathanael Blake
An opinion piece on the student loan crisis and who should be held responsible.
April 23, 2019
Natty Light is donating $10 million to offset ‘crippling’ student-loan debt, and it reveals a dark reality about America
By Kate Taylor Originally Posted-Jan 15, 2019
Yes… You read that right, Anheuser-Busch is jumping into the student loan fight!
April 16, 2019
Here’s What The 2020 Presidential Candidates Say About Your Student Loans
April 11, 2019
The following link is a piece written by Clair Boston for Bloomberg Businessweek, detailing the experience of Amy Wroblewski. Amy is a graduate of Purdue University and currently repaying her student loans using an income sharing agreement, or ISA.
Read more of her story through the link provided.
My initial YouTube video discussion about income sharing agreements.