Slightly less than one-quarter of parents and 37 percent of students believe they will qualify for financial aid, according to the results of a survey released this week by Royall & Company, a division of the Education Advisory Board (EAB). The findings, which are based on a survey of 5,133 college-bound high school students and their parents, stand in contrast to federal data showing that 85 percent of all college-going students receive aid in the form of grants or low-interest loans from the federal government.
Among the survey's parent respondents from households with annual incomes of $60,000 or less, 66 percent said they expect to quality for need-based financial aid. But an EAB analysis of federal data found that 84 percent of students in that income bracket receive Pell Grants.
An analysis of key actions 10 institutional accrediting agencies took over five years found a "highly uneven and inconsistent system of sanctions." The report from the Center for American Progress, which has previously chided accreditors for their oversight of poor-performing colleges, found that national accreditors are more likely to sanction their member colleges, but that regional agencies keep institutions on sanction for longer periods of time. The group recommended "clearer, common rules of the road about sanction terminology, definitions and use."
The full Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved legislation that would reinstate year-round Pell Grants for low-income students and provide a $2 billion boost for the National Institutes of Health. The 2017 appropriations bill for the Departments of Education, Labor and Health and Human Services would increase the maximum Pell Grant to $5,935 and once again allow students to receive the grants in the summer, a benefit that was eliminated in 2011 amid a spike in the program's costs.
Despite the increases, advocates for students criticized the Senate measure for using $1.2 billion in surplus Pell Grant funds for other programs. They started a petition asking Congress to stop the "raid" on Pell funding.
The Louisiana Legislature has placed an item on the fall election ballots that will allow voters to shift control over public university tuition rates from the Legislature to university governing boards, The Times-Picayune reported. If the measure passes, many expect tuition rates to rise more than they would under legislative control.
The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools today will announce a temporary halt in accepting new applications for colleges seeking to become accredited, as well as several other changes, including requirements seeking to ensure more accuracy in self-reported data from member colleges.
The council is a national accrediting agency that oversees many for-profit institutions. It's been under fire lately, due in part for accrediting Corinthian Colleges until the large chain collapsed amid a spate of lawsuits and regulatory challenges. A group of state attorneys general have called on the federal government to drop its recognition of ACICS, as have a coalition of consumer, higher education and labor organizations. The U.S. Department of Education is slated to consider the accreditor's recognition later this month.
ACICS appears to be taking the threat seriously. Albert Gray, the council's president and CEO, stepped down in April. And the accreditor shortly thereafter tightened the screws on ITT Technical Institutes.
“The ACICS Board of Directors is determined to restore trust and confidence in the accreditation process, strengthen ACICS’ oversight of member institutions and ensure that students are receiving a quality education that will put them on [a] path to employment,” Anthony Bieda, the council's executive in charge, said in a written statement. “As we assess the content, structure and effectiveness of all policies and resources, no stone will be left unturned. Every aspect of the agency must be re-evaluated, fortified and enhanced.”
The freeze on new member applications is effective immediately, Bieda said, and will be in place until the accreditor "is satisfied that its program of assessment and review protects student interests, enforces high standards of quality and contributes to the public good."
Other announced changes include:
Creation of an ethics board to act directly on potential conflicts of interest, including with ACICS board members;
A new data integrity standard that gives ACICS greater explicit authority to sanction programs and institutions that misrepresent their performance through student retention, placement and licensure data;
A review of institutions’ written plans for recruiting and admitting students;
Greater public disclosure and enforcement of probation standards; and
An increase in the frequency and intensity of interim on-site evaluations.
A spokeswoman for Northeastern said via email: "Inspired by a well-intentioned donor, the university launched a one-time text message campaign to a limited group of alumni. It was a one-day effort and has now concluded."