studentaid

Obama administration will draft new rules on student debt relief, with focus on college accountability

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Obama administration plans to clarify when defrauded student loan borrowers can have their loans forgiven -- and give the Education Department new tools to go after colleges.

Under close U.S. scrutiny, Corinthian apparently mishandled federal funds, Justice Department says

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While under the watchful gaze of the Education Department, Corinthian Colleges apparently mishandled federal funds this year, the Justice Department says in a recent filing.

Author and former college president offers advice to parents on the first year of college

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How should parents prepare children for college? In a new book, a former college president takes a look at programs and resources at five different institutions to find out what students need and what parents should do during the first year of college.

Presidential candidates spar with Clinton over college debt plan

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Republicans and Bernie Sanders responded to Hillary Clinton's college debt plan, and their campaigns turned to Twitter to tussle in the 140-character format.

Lawrence Lessig's Presidential Bid

Lawrence Lessig is a law professor at Harvard University, a prominent advocate for open-access technology and government reform, and director of the university's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. He's also considering an unusual campaign for the U.S. presidency.

"I will run to be a referendum president if two conditions are met: if we hit our fund-raising target by Labor Day and the leading candidates in the Democratic primary fail to make citizen equality the first priority of their administration," Lessig said on his exploratory committee website. "The key challenge now is making the fund-raising goal. That’s up to you and people like you. If we can raise $1 million for this campaign by Labor Day, then I will run with every ounce of my being."

His candidacy would be of the single-issue variety, and how. Lessig said he would represent a single referendum in his run: to reform the political process. As a candidate and president, he said he would push the U.S. Congress to reduce the influence of money in politics, to eliminate gerrymandering and to prevent roadblocks for people to vote. After that legislation is passed, Lessig said he would resign as president.

"The best presidents are collaborators. They work with Congress as partners over long periods of time. I don’t want to collaborate with these people, and I don’t want to be their partners. I want to force them to act on this issue and then get the hell out of the White House," he said. "This reform needs someone willing to burn as well as build bridges, if need be. I’m running to be that SOB."

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Officials at 11 partnering universities share strategies for helping students graduate

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As one student success program at the University of Texas at Austin thrives, officials at partner institutions in the University Innovation Alliance examine what might work best on their own campuses.

Democrats Urge Inquiry Into Education Dept. Loan Servicer Review

Three Senate Democrats on Wednesday called for an independent investigation into the U.S. Department of Education’s review of its loan servicing contractors that largely cleared the companies of allegations they overcharged military service members.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Senator Patty Murray of Washington and Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut asked the department’s inspector general to investigate the “adequacy and accuracy of the review process.”

“Unfortunately, the review the department conducted has left us with more questions than answers,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter. “A detailed staff analysis of the [department’s] reviews and the descriptions of their findings raises doubts regarding whether [department] officials adequately reported the results of these reviews to the public.”

The Education Department’s review of the loan servicers began after the Department of Justice accused Navient, formerly known as Sallie Mae, of overcharging members of the military by not capping their interest rate at 6 percent, as is required under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Navient and Sallie Mae paid $97 million to settle the allegations, though they did not admit any wrongdoing.

Education Department officials reviewed some 900 military members' loan files and concluded that service members were overcharged by loan servicers in fewer than 1 percent of those cases.

On Wednesday, Warren’s office also released a report describing flaws in the Education Department’s approach to the review and the calculation of its results.

“We share the commitment of the Senators to our service members, and we welcome any review of our results,” Education Department Press Secretary Dorie Nolt said in an email. “We will review this report and will continue to examine our processes to ensure that our service members receive every benefit they are due.”

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Labor Group Slams GOP Over Ties to For-Profit Colleges

In advance of the first Republican presidential debate this week, the American Federation of Teachers is trying to call attention to candidates’ ties to the for-profit education industry.

A website registered to the labor union says that “Republicans have embraced for-profits while tearing down public institutions to benefit their blue-chip friends.”

It outlines various connections between some of the GOP presidential hopefuls and for-profit colleges, taking aim at the support that former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida and Governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin have provided to for-profit colleges.

Some of the connections were less direct. The site, for instance, calls Ted Cruz "a Republican for profit," citing his decision to launch his campaign at Liberty University, "which embraces the for-profit model." Liberty University is a nonprofit Christian college with one the country's largest online programs.

AFT has endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for president. Her financial disclosure last week revealed that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was paid at least $16.5 million by the for-profit college chain Laureate Education for serving as honorary chancellor. 

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White House Summit on Short-Term Training Programs

The White House is hosting a meeting today on the growing boot camp and coding academy space, which offers short-term training programs to students. Other alternative providers, such as online course platforms, also are on the agenda, said several invitees.

The meeting is expected to include a discussion of how these entities might partner with traditional colleges. The U.S. Department of Education is considering an experimental sites project to allow federal aid to flow to a limited group of boot camps and MOOC providers that partner with accredited colleges. The experiment would also include a new quality control process, perhaps managed by an existing or new accreditor.

Pairings between colleges and boot camps have already begun. For example, Galvanize, a technology-focused academy with six campuses, announced a partnership with the University of New Haven last October to offer an accredited master's degree in big data.

Coding academies and boot camps will graduate an estimated 16,000 students this year.

Student advocacy groups protest ITT Tech as shareholders hold annual meeting

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Student advocates use the backdrop of ITT Tech's annual shareholders meeting to protest for-profit colleges' approach to loan debt.

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