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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 10, 2013, 3:54 pm
In releasing his administration’s budget for the 2014 fiscal year on Wednesday, President Obama said the proposal would replace “the foolish across-the-board spending cuts that are already hurting our economy,” a reference to the effects of the federal sequester that began last month.
John Nelson, managing director of the health-care and higher-education rating teams at Moody’s Investors Service, the credit-rating agency, observed in a recent interview that few politicians at any level of government favor the way the sequester’s $85-billion in automatic cuts will affect research universities. “I think most elected officials recognize the importance and growing value of research universities to economic development,” he said. “They don’t want to hurt research universities.”
Most of damage, at least in the short term, The Chronicle learned in conversations with deans and vice…
March 7, 2013, 12:01 am
The liberal arts may be facing waning public financial support and increased pressure to show their career benefits to graduates, but the University of Michigan’s graduate program in creative writing just received a hefty vote of confidence. The Associated Press reports that Helen Zell, wife of the billionaire Sam Zell and a Michigan alumna, is making a $50-million gift to the program.
Ms. Zell has donated about $10-million to the university in recent years via the Zell Family Foundation, of which she is executive director. The new gift—the third largest in the institution’s history, according to the AP—will support Michigan’s renowned Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, which will be renamed in her honor. The program’s unusual year of postgraduate support is already known as a “Zellowship.”
Ms. Zell graduated from Michigan in 1964 with a degree in…
March 4, 2013, 3:59 pm
A Wilson College alumna has pledged up to $3.6-million toward a renovation and expansion of the Pennsylvania college’s 1925 library (right), which has been closed for two years because of steam leaks in its heating system. The pledge, from Marguerite Lenfest of the Class of 1955, comes as a significant vote of confidence two months after trustees of the struggling liberal-arts institution approved a controversial package of changes that include admitting men to the traditional undergraduate program. The library project is expected to overhaul the original Collegiate Gothic structure and to replace a 1961 addition. (Chronicle photograph by Lawrence Biemiller)
February 26, 2013, 2:25 pm
A new database assembled by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and the Sustainable Endowments Institute shows that 80 colleges have more than $118-million in revolving-loan money available for small—and sometimes large—projects aimed at improving energy efficiency on their campuses.
“The revolving funds captured in this database provide great examples of a sustainable technique for funding sustainability projects,” said the association’s executive director, Paul Rowland, in a written statement that also calls higher education “a leading sector for energy-efficiency investments.” The statement notes that the number of revolving funds has tripled since 2009.
February 12, 2013, 2:53 pm
A tax on financial transactions, a return to 2000-1 levels of state support, and a reallocation of existing money to offer free tuition were three ideas proposed on Tuesday in a news briefing as ways to finance America’s system of public higher education.
The Campaign for the Future of Higher Education, a two-year-old coalition of faculty groups, organized the briefing to stimulate a national conversation on using public dollars to pay for college and preserve access for the children of middle-class families. During the briefing, three scholars summarized their working papers on financing higher education and answered questions about their proposals.
“The public has demonstrated that they really care about higher education,” said Stanton A. Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, who was among the papers’ authors. “The public has kind of…
February 7, 2013, 2:03 pm
For the first time in years, California’s public colleges have received good news from the state-budget process, with each of the three systems gaining a boost in support, thanks in part to the voter-approved tax measure known as Proposition 30. But some officials at California State University have already begun nervously asking for more money, not least because they—like their counterparts at the University of California and the California Community Colleges—still face billions of dollars in deferred maintenance.
The effects of California’s budget turmoil since the recession have been evident throughout the state’s higher-education system as officials have scrambled to balance their budgets with tuition increases, restricted class offerings, and mandatory furlough days for faculty and staff members. Even with the restored support in Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget, …
January 28, 2013, 3:35 pm
Charitable donations to colleges and universities increased by 5.5 percent in 2012, fund raisers at higher-education institutions reported in a twice-yearly survey that was released on Monday by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, or CASE. The fund raisers predicted additional growth of 5.8 percent in 2013.
“The recession continues to recede,” said John Lippincott, president of CASE, who added that the survey signals a return to levels of giving equal to those of the 2007-8 academic year, when donations reached a record $31.6-billion. Gifts to higher education plunged after the global economic downturn but were back up to $30.3-billion in 2010-11.
“Anecdotally we are hearing from our members and from fund raisers of growing confidence among their donor community,” he said. “The donors themselves are feeling better about their own personal financial circumstances a…
January 15, 2013, 2:13 pm
The State University of New York is, in theory, a system of 64 college and university campuses. But it has often been accused of operating like a big group of warring fiefdoms competing for money and students, with no interest in cooperating with one another.
Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher has been trying to unify the system since she took office, in 2009, with measures that have a lot to do with how the colleges receive and spend their money. She laid out her latest proposals to advance that ideal in her state-of-the-university speech, delivered on Tuesday morning.
Starting in 2014, she said, all of the system’s colleges will use the same data systems in order to better compare their academic outcomes and to award money to campuses that are improving their performance.
All of the colleges will also use new technology to track financial aid and student debt. The program is meant to…