Bottom Line Bloggers
Follow Bottom Line through your favorite RSS reader.
May 10, 2013, 3:20 pm
Frustrated borrowers with private student loans have often said they feel trapped in their debt, struggling with high monthly payments and few options to ease the burden. Their concerns received backing from a report released on Wednesday by a federal consumer-protection agency.
The report, issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, calls for more flexible repayment options and a refinancing market for private student loans.
In the report, the agency analyzes the more than 28,000 comments it received about the difficulties faced by many borrowers with private student loans. The rising amount of student debt can have a “domino effect” on society because high monthly loan payments can deplete a borrower’s savings, making him or her less likely to buy a home or make other financial decisions that could help fuel the economy, the report says.
The report suggests a number…
May 6, 2013, 2:42 pm
The Johns Hopkins University announced on Saturday the details of a $4.5-billion fund-raising campaign—the largest the university has ever pursued and one of the largest currently under way.
The university’s “Rising to the Challenge” campaign seeks to create hundreds of endowed professorships, raise undergraduate financial aid, and strengthen research support, among other goals.
The campaign will serve as a way “to foster our capacity for collaboration, to invest in faculty in unprecedented ways, and to ease the financial burden of a Johns Hopkins education so that the most talented students can study here, regardless of means,” said the university’s president, Ronald J. Daniels, in a written statement.
Fritz W. Schroeder, the university’s vice president for development and alumni relations, said the campaign would focus on the “people” of Johns Hopkins—the students and…
April 29, 2013, 2:27 pm
Nearly two months after across-the-board cuts in federal spending took effect, university researchers are beginning to feel the squeeze in their budgets. But researchers at Harvard University can breathe a little easier, as an alumnus on Monday announced a $50-million donation to the university that will support basic biomedical research and student entrepreneurship.
The gift comes from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, headed by the businessman Len Blavatnik, and will support grants across the university, through the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator.
Despite its large endowment and donor base, Harvard has also felt the economic pressures of the federal budget cuts, known as the sequester. Just last week, Harvard Medical School announced its primate-research center will be largely shut down by 2015 for financial reasons.
Support from Mr. Blavatnik’s new fund will help speed up …
April 19, 2013, 2:43 pm
After President Obama announced the release of his administration’s “College Scorecard,” in February, higher-education experts and administrators gave the tool mixed reviews, saying that some of the terms and data could be confusing for students, and that it did not provide enough options for comparisons between institutions.
Those sentiments prompted some colleges to create their own versions of the scorecard. One of those comes from the College of Saint Mary, in Omaha.
The college’s scorecard, which went live at the end of March, expands on data provided in the federal scorecard, in order to give students a more comprehensive picture of the costs and outcomes associated with attendance.
The college’s scorecard elaborates on such data as graduation rates, the average cost of attendance, and student-loan default rates. On the federal scorecard, graduation rates take into account…
April 12, 2013, 3:36 pm
Washington — With interest rates on federal student loans set to double this summer, student-advocacy groups have intensified their calls for Congress to find a way to avoid the increase, and lawmakers are scrambling to pass legislation that would overhaul the student-loan system.
President Obama’s loan-reform proposal, which he released on Wednesday as part of his budget for the 2014 fiscal year, suggests switching to a market-based rate, in which interest rates would be set annually and fixed for the duration of each loan.
But some experts say that the options being laid out, including the president’s proposal, will provide only short-term relief for borrowers, and that allowing the rates to double may be a better option in the long run.
Unless Congress acts before July 1, the rates on subsidized Stafford loans will double, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Lawmakers were…
March 21, 2013, 12:30 pm
Congress completed work on a stopgap spending bill on Thursday that includes provisions to restore military Tuition Assistance Programs but also limit spending on political-science research.
The Senate approved two amendments on Wednesday to the bill, known as a continuing resolution, which will finance government operations through the end of the 2013 fiscal year, on September 30. The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday, and the House of Representatives followed suit on Thursday, to avoid the government shutdown that would result if a spending bill were not passed by March 27, when the current continuing resolution expires. The bill now moves to the White House for President Obama’s expected signature.
One amendment—sponsored by Sen. James Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, and Sen. Kay Hagan, Democrat of North Carolina—would restore Tuition Assistance Programs that several…
March 12, 2013, 1:35 pm
The Air Force and the Coast Guard have become the latest branches of the United States military to suspend their Tuition Assistance Programs, following significant, across-the-board cuts in defense spending that took effect this month in a process known as sequestration.
New enrollments in the Air Force’s Tuition Assistance Program were suspended as of 5 p.m. on Monday, officials announced on Tuesday morning. Although the Coast Guard has yet to publicly announce its program’s suspension, news of the decision to do so circulated internally over the weekend, according to a report posted on Military.com on Monday.
Last week the Marine Corps and the Army both announced they would discontinue their programs, which provide active-duty service members with up to $4,500 a year to participate in high-school completion courses and certificate programs, or to work toward a college degree.
March 8, 2013, 3:22 pm
The Army announced on Friday that it had suspended new requests in its Tuition Assistance Program, joining the Marine Corps in halting the program due to significant cuts in federal spending that took effect last week.
The Marine Corps, which made its announcement on March 2, and the Army said they would not accept new enrollments in their Tuition Assistance Programs, which provide financial support for active-duty troops who are attending high-school-completion courses and certificate programs or working toward college degrees. Under the programs, participants can receive up to $4,500 per fiscal year.
The two other main arms of the U.S. military—the Air Force and the Navy—have not yet announced whether they will follow suit in their Tuition Assistance Programs.
February 25, 2013, 5:52 pm
Lower-rated nonprofit colleges and universities that do not respond proactively to the challenges outlined in Standard & Poor’s 2013 outlook report run the risk of developing weaker credits, according to the report from the credit-rating agency.
The report predicts an “increasingly volatile” view of the nonprofit higher-education sector, meaning there may be an increased number of positive and negative rating changes during the year. The report also predicts that higher-rated universities—those with a higher demand among students, a greater diversity of revenue sources, and a strong history of fund raising—will maintain or improve their creditworthiness.
It’s the lower-rated institutions, public and private, that face greater risks, if they do not develop strategies to respond to challenges listed in the report, including: