Category Archives: Government

Politics and policy in higher education.


Dept. of Education Failed to Hold Loan-Management Company Accountable, Audit Finds

The Education Department failed to hold Xerox Education Solutions, a company it had contracted to track and service student loans, accountable for fixing persistent problems in its student-debt-management system, the agency’s inspector general said in an audit report released on Thursday.

According to the report, the department failed to ensure that Xerox met milestones for fixing the system and routinely offered extensions when the company missed its deadlines. At the same time, the agency did …


Federal Agency Asks Career Education Corp. About Its Business Practices

The Career Education Corporation, which operates a number of career-oriented schools and colleges, disclosed on Monday that it has received a request for information from the Federal Trade Commission as part of that agency’s broad investigation into potentially unfair advertising, marketing, and other business practices by for-profit colleges. In a corporate filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it intended to cooperate with the FTC.

Other companies that have …


After Backlash, U. of Missouri Reinstates Grad Students’ Insurance Subsidies — for Now

The University of Missouri has reversed course on a decision to strip graduate students’ health-insurance subsidies, at least for now. R. Bowen Loftin, the chancellor, said in a statement on Friday that the college would “defer implementation” of the change after consulting “peer institutions, compliance experts, and internal constituents.”

One week ago, the university suddenly announced it would no longer subsidize graduate students’ health insurance in order to comply with guidance from the In…


Education Dept. Reports Increase in Borrowers Using Income-Based Repayment

There has been a large increase in the number of borrowers enrolling in income-based student-loan repayment plans, according to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday. The spike follows an effort by the Obama administration to better publicize the option.

According to the department, almost four million borrowers had enrolled in income-based repayment as of June 30, a 56-percent increase compared with that time last year. Also, the share of borrowers who are more tha…


Education Dept. Will Clarify Defrauded Borrowers’ Ability to Seek Relief

The U.S. Department of Education is starting a process to clarify how student borrowers who believe colleges have defrauded them can have their loan debts forgiven. The department outlined the forthcoming negotiated rule-making process in a notice, to be published in Thursday’s Federal Register.

Borrowers’ ability to raise a “defense to repayment” — a claim for loan forgiveness — has become more prominent in recent months with the demise of the for-profit Corinthian Colleges. In June, the Obama …


Northeastern U. Will Pay $2.7 Million to Settle Claims It Mishandled Research Funds

Northeastern University has agreed to pay a $2.7-million penalty to resolve allegations by the federal government that it didn’t adequately keep track of research funds from the National Science Foundation.

According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Northeastern improperly accounted for research funds awarded over a 10-year period to a physics professor then employed by the university, with some of the money being used for personal expenses. The department also says Northea…


Education Dept. Releases Draft Guidance on Handling of Students’ Medical Records

The U.S. Department of Education has released draft guidance on the use of students’ medical records in response to a lawsuit. In a blog post published on Tuesday, the department said it was seeking public comment on the new guidance.

The issue drew national attention because of a lawsuit at the University of Oregon. A female student there, who said she had been raped by three basketball players, also claimed that the college had pulled her counseling records to use against her in a lawsuit she …


Consumer Watchdog Scrutinizes Bridgepoint and Ashford U. Over Student Loans

Bridgepoint Education Inc. and its Ashford University are facing demands for information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in an investigation into whether for-profit educators or others are engaging in unlawful activities involving private student loans, the company said on Friday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bridgepoint said it and Ashford expected to provide documents and other information to the federal agency, which last month took action against…


Judge Curtails Popular Work Program for Foreign Students

In a decision that may reduce the appeal of the United States as a destination for international students, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security must curtail a popular program that allows foreign students and graduates to work while in the United States.

The program, known as Optional Practical Training, allows students to work a total of 12 months during and after their studies and is usually highlighted by colleges as part of their work with international …


Fafsa Change Would Prevent Colleges From Seeing Where Else Students Sent Data

The U.S. Education Department has opened the comment period for a draft version of the 2016-17 Free Application for Federal Student Aid. One notable change: Admissions officers will no longer be able to view the list of colleges to which aid applicants send their Fafsas. Some admissions offices use the order in which applicants list colleges as a clue to their college preferences and, possibly, a factor in decisions about admissions and scholarships. The lists of colleges that receive students’ …