Category Archives: Government

Politics and policy in higher education.


Like Numbers? Read the Education Dept.’s Mammoth Report on Education in 2015

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics on Wednesday released its annual report on the condition of American education. Included in the many-paged report are facts and figures encompassing higher, secondary, and elementary education. Among other things, the report notes that total enrollment in postsecondary education declined from 2012-13 to 2013-14, the number of master’s degrees awarded dropped from 2011-12 to 2012-13, and the average net price at four-year…


Judge Throws Out a For-Profit Group’s Challenge to the Gainful-Employment Rule

A judge has thrown out a group of for-profit colleges’ challenge to the U.S. Department of Education’s gainful-employment rule, Reuters reports. The lawsuit was one of two filed last year in response to the department’s final rule, which seeks to judge career-oriented programs on their graduates’ ability to repay their student loans.

The lawsuit was brought by the Association of Proprietary Colleges, which represents 20 institutions in New York. In a written statement, the group’s executive dire…


As Degrees Are Cut, Critics Continue to Decry Dismantling of U. of North Carolina

The University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors last week voted to cut dozens of degree programs, The News & Observer reports. The board has voted to eliminate programs across the 16-campus system every other year for the past two decades, but this time around critics of the Republican-appointed board decried the vote as representative of its members’ quest to strip the vaunted system bare.

One board member’s remarks to The Daily Tar Heel, the system flagship’s campus newspaper, did…


For-Profit College Settles Complaint Over Claims About Credits and Degrees

Ashworth College, a for-profit institution in Georgia, has agreed to a settle a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission that it misrepresented how well its degrees would prepare students to earn licenses in specific vocations, and the ease with which students could transfer Ashworth credits to other institutions.

“When schools promise students they can transfer course credits or get a better job after completing their programs, they’d better be able to back up those claims,” said Jessica Rich,…


Wis. Lawmakers Reject Governor’s Plan to Scrap For-Profit Oversight Agency

State legislators in Wisconsin have voted down a controversial proposal by Gov. Scott Walker to eliminate an agency that oversees for-profit colleges, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

The proposal to eliminate the state’s Educational Approval Board was part of Mr. Walker’s budget, which also drew controversy for proposing steep cuts in the University of Wisconsin system in exchange for giving the system more independence.

The Wisconsin Legislature rejected the governor’s autonomy proposal t…


U.S. Senator’s Bill Would Make Public 4-Year Colleges Free for All

Bernard Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont and long-shot candidate for the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, introduced a bill on Tuesday that would make attending all four-year public colleges free. The College for All Act, the cost of which would be split between the federal government and the states, has virtually no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Congress.

The bill proposes a tax on transactions in the financial sector to offset its estimated $470-billi…


U.S. Delays Requirement on Tuition Breaks for Veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced last week that it was pushing back the deadline for states to comply with a law that requires public colleges to charge veterans lower in-state tuition rates, regardless of their state of residency.

President Obama signed the legislation, known as the Veterans’ Access to Care Through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014, into law last summer. The measure was set to take effect on July 1, but the department said in a news release t…


Education Dept. Proposes Reining In Deals Between Colleges and Banks

The U.S. Education Department on Friday proposed new regulations aimed at reining in agreements between colleges and banks that want to market their products to students. The proposed rules, scheduled for publication in Monday’s Federal Register, represent the Obama administration’s latest effort to curb those agreements, which can leave students on the hook for fees they may have incurred unintentionally.

Colleges and banks have reached hundreds of deals that, for example, allow students’ finan…


State Residents at U. of California Will See Tuition Frozen for 2 Years

In-state undergraduates at the University of California won’t face tuition increases for the next two years, according to the terms of a deal struck between Gov. Jerry Brown and the system’s president, Janet Napolitano, reports the Los Angeles Times.

In November system regents approved a tuition plan — over the governor’s objections — that could have raised tuition by as much as 5 percent in each of the next five years. That measure was one component of long-running negotiations that seemed to…


Interest Rates on New Federal Student Loans Will Drop for 2015-16

Interest rates on new federal student loans will drop for the 2015-16 academic year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The rate on undergraduate Stafford loans will drop to 4.29 percent, down from 4.66 percent this year. Graduate Stafford loans’ interest rate will be 5.84 percent, down from 6.21 percent. The rate on PLUS loans for parents and graduate students will be 6.84 percent, down from 7.21 percent.

Interest rates on student loans are tied to the high yield of the 10-year Treasury note. Th…