Category Archives: Government

Politics and policy in higher education.


State Student Aid Ticks Up in Latest Survey

Report: “45th Annual Survey Report on State-Sponsored Student Financial Aid”

Organization: National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs

Summary: This survey of aid programs for the 2013-14 academic year found the amount states awarded to students increased by 1.6 percent, adjusted for inflation, to $11.7 billion, compared with $11.2 billion awarded the previous year.

Seventy-five percent of the undergraduate grant aid awarded by states was based fully or partly on need, which wa…


Clinton Rips Free-College Proposals as Benefiting ‘Donald Trump’s Kids’

Speaking at a town-hall event in New Hampshire on Monday, the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she was “not in favor of making college free for Donald Trump’s kids.”

The remarks, which appeared live on NBC’s Today show, served as a rebuke to both Mr. Trump, the billionaire and Republican presidential candidate, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, her chief rival in the early stages of the quest for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.

Mr. Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermo…


Here Are the Best Videos of Arne Duncan Playing Basketball

Arne Duncan, who announced on Friday he was stepping down as education secretary, has been one of the leading voices on higher-education policy for nearly a decade. But much of America most likely knows him not for his views on student-loan servicing but for being the biggest basketball devotee in the U.S. cabinet.

Well, maybe the second-biggest.

Mr. Duncan and President Obama have played pickup basketball together since the 1990s, keeping up the habit throughout Mr. Obama’s presidency. And whil…


Education Secretary Arne Duncan Will Step Down in December

[Last updated (10/2/2015, 2:42 p.m.) with statements about Mr. Duncan's departure.]

Arne Duncan will step down as U.S. secretary of education in December, an Education Department official confirmed on Friday. The news was first reported by the Associated Press.

Mr. Duncan has been a mainstay of President Obama’s cabinet, serving as the White House’s top education official since Mr. Obama took office, in 2009.

In a letter to department staff members, obtained by The Chronicle, Mr. Duncan said he …


Group That Shaped Federal Student-Aid Policy Is Disbanded

Lost in the news of the demise of Perkins Loans on Thursday was another death: that of the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance.

For nearly three decades, the committee had counseled Congress and the Education Department on student-aid issues. It played a major role in shaping federal student-aid policy, issuing reports that led to the creation and simplification of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and the development of two formulas to analyze the financial needs of lo…


Student-Loan Default Rates Drop Again in Latest Data, U.S. Says

The percentage of borrowers who defaulted on their student loans in the past three years has dropped again, from 13.7 percent in last year’s measurement to 11.8 percent this year. According to new data released on Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Education, the default rate for students who began repayment between October 1, 2011, and September 30, 2012, dropped among all sectors of higher education.

Here’s a breakdown, courtesy of the department:

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 9.55.08 AM

This is the second year colleges can face pe…


Borrowers Continue to Face Problems With Loan Servicers, Watchdog Says

Borrowers continue to report widespread problems with student-loan servicing, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The report, which is based on more than 30,000 comments that the federal watchdog received as part of its recent inquiry into the servicing industry, describes a range of practices that the bureau says harm borrowers, including poor customer service, mishandled paperwork, and “surprise fees.”

Tuesday’s report comes just two months …


4 Colleges Are Picked to Host 2016 Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debates

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has announced the sites of the 2016 election’s three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate. The first presidential debate will be held at Wright State University, in Ohio (September 26, 2016), the second at Washington University in St. Louis (October 9), and the third at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (October 19). The vice-presidential debate (October 4) will be held at Longwood University, in Virginia.

Among the chosen c…


UVa Had ‘Basis’ for Sexually Hostile Environment, Education Dept. Finds

[Updated (9/21/2015, 3:10 p.m.) with details from the department's findings.]

After a years-long investigation of sexual assault at the University of Virginia, the U.S. Department of Education announced on Monday that “a basis for a hostile environment” existed at the university “during academic years 2008-2009 through 2011-2012, as well as concerning a report filed by a student in 2013 and a report filed by a student in 2014.”

Among the department’s findings, enumerated in a 26-page letter:

  • Th…

New Missouri Law Bars Scholarships for Undocumented Students

A new state law bars Missouri students who are in the United States illegally from receiving a state scholarship that would shield them from high tuition rates, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Missouri’s General Assembly voted on Wednesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that bars the students from being awarded the A+ Scholarship, which pays for two years of tuition at community colleges. The students, who were typically brought to the United States as children by their parent…