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June 16, 2013, 4:52 pm
Washington — The United Negro College Fund has a new message for potential donors: Think of students as investments.
That’s the focus of the UNCF’s latest advertising campaign, which was unveiled on Friday at the U.S. Department of Education’s headquarters here and will soon roll out nationwide, as the group tries to tailor its classic brand to attract younger, wealthier donors at a time of lagging college-attainment numbers for minority students.
The UNCF, one of the 150 largest philanthropies in the country, now has slightly longer take on its well-known slogan, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” The updated version: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.”
The new campaign’s message is straightforward. Public-service announcements unveiled on Friday feature stories of real students who speak about their college aspirations….
June 3, 2013, 4:59 am
Iowa state legislators have passed a bill that would prohibit the state’s three public universities from using resident tuition for student financial aid. Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, is expected to sign the measure into law.
The statewide Board of Regents voted last summer to begin phasing out a set-aside program that used tuition revenue to support need-based financial aid. Under the bill, the universities overseen by the regents—Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa—would use money from their general funds instead to pay for the aid.
While the universities would still be allowed to use nonresident tuition for financial aid, the bill would be a “credit negative,” according to a report from Moody’s Investors Service, the credit-rating agency.
The bill also includes a 2.6-percent increase in state appropriations to help…
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 29, 2013, 4:55 am
As universities raise alarms about the potentially devastating effects of more than $1-billion in looming cuts in federal research spending, a leading credit-rating agency issued a report on Thursday that seemed to say: “Calm down. This will sting for just a moment.”
The vast majority of American universities and nonprofit organizations will “face only minimal effects” from the budget cuts in the 2013 fiscal year, according to the report by Moody’s Investors Service. Just 1 percent of institutions—”primarily stand-alone research institutes”—are at risk of losing more than 3 percent of revenue during the first year of the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration.
Moody’s issued a grim report in January on the general outlook for higher education, but Thursday’s report—part of a series about the effect of sequestration—was optimistic, if measured.
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 26, 2013, 9:53 pm
One of the frustrating things about sequestration—the automatic, across-the-board federal spending cuts set to go into effect on March 1— is that no one knows for certain what’s going to happen. Not the lawmakers who have yet to hammer out a compromise to avert the cuts. Not the millions of Americans who will be affected to some degree or other. And not the journalists who have been attempting to explain and project sequestration’s possible effects.
Here on Bottom Line, we’ll be providing regular round-ups of outside reporting on the effects of sequestration as they concern higher education. While we’re linking to articles on possible effects at present, if the midnight-Thursday deadline passes with no solution, as many observers now believe will happen, Bottom Line will continue to link to other coverage of the actual effects as they become evident.
February 14, 2013, 12:02 am
On the same day that President Obama released his College Scorecard to help students and their families compare institutions, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities unveiled a data-packed scorecard of its own to show how favorably public higher education stacks up against its private nonprofit and for-profit counterparts.
The 12-page report compares the average list prices of public universities ($8,655), for-profit institutions ($15,172), and private universities ($29,056), and describes what public-university leaders are doing to control costs at a time of declining government support and rising tuition.
The report also compares the average debt of students who borrowed money to attend public universities ($22,000) and private, four-year institutions ($28,100), and touts the economic advantages of a college diploma.
The most startling assertion of the chart- and…
January 22, 2013, 7:06 pm
With rising student-debt burdens and bleaker job prospects making headlines in recent years, young people are thinking twice about how to pay for a college education or launch their dream career. Enter Pave, an online platform that allows students and young professionals to market themselves to potential investors in hopes of gaining financial support, networking opportunities, and mentorship.
People who turn to the start-up company for money to go to college or start a career project—”prospects,” as Pave refers to them—create a profile on its Web site to pitch their stories to potential backers. In turn, prospects pledge to share a percentage of their income over a fixed amount of time.
Unlike other crowdfunding sites, Pave is not limited to a specific project, and unlike loan services, prospects have no obligation to repay the specific amount of money given to them.