The Education Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday released their standardized "shopping sheet," a financial aid award letter they'd like all colleges to adopt. While standardizing award letters remains controversial with many colleges, 10 college presidents and state system heads have already agreed to use the department's model, which includes the cost of attendance (broken down into tuition and fees, housing and meals, books and supplies, transportation and other costs); state, federal and institutional grants and scholarships; the net price after scholarships; and loan options. It also includes the college's six-year graduation rate and default, and the average monthly payment for a typical student who takes out loans.
In a conference call with reporters Monday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he believes peer pressure -- and pressure from students and their parents -- will cause other institutions to follow suit. "There's tremendous interest in this," Duncan said. "We'll move this as far as we can on a voluntary basis, but we're not anticipating a huge amount of resistance."
The University of Louisville law school planned to offer $550,000 in aid to the students enrolling in the fall, but ended up offering $1.3 million -- creating a $2.4 million deficit over the next three years since the aid packages were for a full law school education, The Courier-Journalreported. The university will fulfill the aid promises, and will cut aid next year if money cannot be raised for the pledges made to new students. The law school's admissions director resigned on Monday.
The U.S. Education Department today proposed new rules governing federal student loans, which would, among other things, ease the process by which disabled borrowers could have their loans discharged, establish a new income-contingent repayment plan for direct student loans, and expand the government's income-based repayment program. The changes regarding borrowers with disabilities were prompted by concerns (many contained in a 2011 series by ProPublica) that they were being required to jump through far too many hoops to have their loans forgiven. The rules emerged from a round of negotiations that the agency held last winter, and public comments on the proposed changes are due by Aug. 16.
Students are shouldering an increased share of their own college tuition payments (with their parents picking up less of the tab), and more families are considering price when deciding where to send their children to college, according to an annual study by the lender Sallie Mae to be released today. The study, "How America Pays for College," found that the proportion of families that said they had stopped considering certain colleges had risen to 70 percent, up from 56 just three years ago. And the proportion of college expenses that students themselves paid for rose to 30 percent, the highest level in four years, with the proportion covered by parents' out-of-pocket expenditures falling to 28 percent, down by 9 points from a high two years ago.
The Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics released preliminary data Thursday about types of degrees offered and conferred, tuition and fees rates, and enrollment head counts. Provisional data will be released in about three months, and final data will be available in 2012-13.
Between 2009-10 and 2011-12, the average tuition and fees at four-year public colleges, after adjusting for inflation, increased more for in-state students -- 9 percent, to about $7,200 -- than for out-of-state students -- 5.6 percent, to about $16,500. Nonprofit institutions reported a 4.3 percent increase in tuition and fees, to about $23,300, and for-profit institutions reported no increase from the 2009-10 inflation-adjusted figure of about $15,200.
Of the 7,398 Title IV institutions in the United States in 2011-12, 41.3 percent, or 3,053, were classified as four-year institutions. About 31.5 percent, or 2,332, were two-year institutions, and 27.2 percent, or 2,013 were less-than-two-year institutions. About 27.6 percent, or 2,039, of all the institutions were public. About 25.5 percent, or 1,890, were nonprofit, and the largest proportion -- 46.9 percent, or 3,469 -- were for-profit institutions.
For 2010-11, institutions reported an unduplicated headcount enrollment of about 29.5 million students, comprising about 25.6 million undergraduates and about 3.9 million graduate students. About 12.6 million students were male, and 16.9 million were female.
For the same year, institutions reported conferring about 3.6 million degrees. Four-year institutions handed out about 2.9 million of them and two-year institutions awarded about 650,000. Of these, 942,336 were associate degrees. The most popular type of degree was a bachelor’s degree -- 1,715,913. A total of 730,635 master’s degrees were awarded, and 163,765 of all types of doctoral degrees were handed out.
For many years, critics have derided "legislative scholarships" in Illinois that allow legislators to give scholarships to public universities to students in their districts, with very few limitations. On Wednesday, Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, signed legislation to kill off the program, The Chicago Tribune reported. Several Tribune investigations focused on the fairness of the program. In 2009, the newspaper found that in the five prior years, lawmakers gave at least 140 scholarships to relatives of campaign donors.