Category Archives: Government

Politics and policy in higher education.


Community College Settles Claims It Discriminated Against Military Veteran

Pima Community College has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over claims that it refused to promote an employee because of his military service.

According to a news release from the department, the college has agreed to promote Timothy Stoner to the position of police corporal and provide him back pay amounting to what he would have earned if he had been promoted when he first applied. As part of the settlement, the college denies any wrongdoing.

The department accused the…


For-Profit Group Will Appeal Decision Upholding Gainful-Employment Rule

The main trade association of for-profit colleges will appeal a ruling that upholds the U.S. Education Department’s gainful-employment rule, the group announced in a news release on Thursday. Steve Gunderson, president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, said in the release that the rule is “arbitrary and capricious and in violation of federal law.”

Judge John D. Bates, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, rejected that rationale last month, when h…


Here Are the Colleges Where Tuition Has Risen the Fastest

The U.S. Department of Education is out with its annual list of colleges whose tuition and net price have risen the fastest in recent years.

Here are the four-year public colleges where tuition rose the most, as a percentage, from 2011-12 to 2013-14:

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And the four-year public colleges where net price rose the most, as a percentage, from 2010-11 to 2012-13:

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And the four-year private colleges where tuition rose the most, as a percentage, from 2011-12 to 2013-14:

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And the four-year private college…


Student-Debt-Relief Firm Will Shut Its Doors After New York Investigation

[Updated (7/1/2015, 9:09 p.m.) with news of a lawsuit against another company supposedly helping borrowers with debts.]

A business offering student-loan “debt relief” will close its doors as part of an agreement with New York’s governor, Andrew M. Cuomo. The Times Union, a newspaper in Albany, reports that an investigation by Mr. Cuomo’s office found that Interactiv Education LLC advertised it could lower student-loan payments when, in fact, it just filled out a loan-consolidation form that is a…


Supreme Court to Consider Case That Could Upend Unions at Public Colleges

[Updated (6/30/2015, 4:43 p.m.) with more context.]

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to take a case that could upend how unions are financed at public colleges. The New York Times reports that the court will hear arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which was brought by public-school teachers in California who argue that being forced to pay union fees violates their First Amendment rights.

Public employees in states without right-to-work laws can be required to pa…


Education Dept. Names ‘Special Master’ to Oversee Corinthian Loan Discharge

[Updated (6/25/2015, 4:18 p.m.) with further details from the department's conference call with reporters on Thursday.]

The U.S. Department of Education has appointed a “special master” charged with overseeing the discharge of student-loan debt racked up on campuses of the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges Inc. The official, Joseph A. Smith, has overseen several large financial settlements the federal government has had a hand in, including the National Mortgage Settlement, which was undertaken as…


Reactions to the Education Dept.’s Retreat on College Ratings

People who watch higher education professionally (or, perhaps more disturbingly, for fun) were not exactly surprised to learn on Thursday morning that the Obama administration had stripped the ratings component out of its college-ratings plan. But the definitive end to what was once a pronounced platform point in President Obama’s higher-education agenda was not going to go unremarked upon.


For-Profit Educator Will Pay the U.S. $13 Million to Settle Fraud Claims

The for-profit higher-education company Education Affiliates will pay the federal government $13 million to settle allegations that it submitted false claims for federal student aid for students in its programs, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday.

The company operates 50 campuses in the United States under various trade names, the department said, including All-State Career, Fortis Institute, Fortis College, and others. The settlement resolves five lawsuits filed under the fed…


Gainful-Employment Rule Survives For-Profit Group’s Court Challenge

[Last updated at 8 p.m., 6/23/2015, with additional comments about the proposed rule and its effect.]

The U.S. Education Department’s gainful-employment rule is one step closer to taking effect.

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a serious legal challenge, brought by the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, to the controversial rule. The lobbying group’s lawsuit was the highest hurdle remaining for the proposed rule, which will judge career-oriented programs on their graduat…


Federal Government’s Student-Loan Watchdog Will Step Down

Rohit Chopra, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s first student-loan ombudsman, will step down next week, he wrote in a letter on Wednesday.

“I am proud of the progress that we have made together to assist borrowers, promote transparency, and hold accountable those who break the law,” Mr. Chopra wrote to Jacob J. Lew, the U.S. treasury secretary. “While more work is needed to correct the serious deficiencies in the student-loan market, I have great confidence in the bureau’s ability to co…