Category Archives: Student Debt

What students owe and why it matters.


Despite Criticism, Education Dept. Extends Loan Contract With Navient

The U.S. Education Department has extended its contract with Navient, a student-loan servicer and collection agency that was formerly a division of Sallie Mae, despite allegations it has overcharged borrowers, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Navient’s work for the federal government was worth $106-million last year, and its contract would have expired this month. Sallie Mae, which in April was divided into two companies, Navient and Sallie Mae Bank, agreed last month to pay $97-million to settl…


Interest Rates on New Federal Student Loans Will Rise for 2014-15

Interest rates on new federal student loans will rise for the 2014-15 academic year, with the rate on undergraduate Stafford loans increasing to 4.66 percent, Bloomberg reported.

Congress voted last year to tie interest rates to the high yield on the 10-year Treasury note. This year’s auction took place on Wednesday, with the yield on the note set at 2.61 percent.

The interest rate on Stafford loans for undergraduates will rise to 4.66 percent, up from 3.86 percent. For graduate students, the ra…


U. of Baltimore Offers a Free Semester to Students Who Can Finish in 4 Years

The University of Baltimore announced on Tuesday that new freshmen entering this fall will be offered free tuition in their final semester if they can finish their degrees in four years, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The university’s president, Robert L. Bogomolny, said the break was not a direct response to the university’s low four-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time freshmen, which now stands at 8 percent, second-lowest in the University System of Maryland. But he said he hoped the d…


Study Examines Characteristics of Student-Loan Borrowers Who Default

A study released on Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research examines the loan-repayment and default outcomes, 10 years after graduation, of students who earned baccalaureate degrees in 1993.

The study looks at differences across individual and family-background characteristics, as well as by factors such as college major, type of institution, debt levels, and post-graduation earnings.

“Among the individual and family-background characteristics, only race is consistently important for …


N.Y. Governor’s Watchdog Investigates 13 Student-Debt-Relief Companies

A new watchdog group that was established by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York has subpoenaed 13 student-debt-relief companies as part of an investigation into what his office said were “potentially misleading advertising, improper fees, and other consumer-protection problems in that industry.”

Mr. Cuomo created the watchdog group, which is known as the Student Protection Unit, in his 2014-15 budget proposal. It will operate as part of the state’s Department of Financial Services.

In a news relea…


Tracking the White House Summit on College Access

Today the White House is convening dozens of higher-education leaders to discuss expanding college access for needy students. The participants were asked to make one new commitment in keeping with that goal, and this morning White House officials released an exhaustive list of those pledges.

The commitments describe colleges’ efforts in several areas. They include expanding college advising, improving remedial education, increasing the pool of low-income applicants, and matching more needy stude…


How Colleges’ Policies Affect the Enrollment of Low-Income Students

The average price low-income students pay after receiving financial aid has a statistically significant influence on their representation at a college, according to a new working paper. But it is hardly the only factor affecting their enrollment.

A college’s cost of attendance, expenditures per student, selectivity, and financial-aid policies also make a difference, according to the paper’s analysis of four-year public and private nonprofit colleges.

The results “suggest that the model of high p…


Senate Democrats Call for Investigation of Student-Debt-Relief Companies

A group of 23 Senate Democrats on Thursday called on federal officials to investigate private “debt relief” companies, after a recent study found that some of those groups charged student-loan borrowers fees for free federal services.

Sen. Barbara Boxer of California and Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa led their colleagues in writing a letter to the heads of the U.S. Department of Education, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission. The letter states that the senators w…


Wilson College Details Unusual Loan-Buyback Program

Wilson College has released details of an unusual debt-buyback offer that is one of the keys to a plan its trustees adopted in January in an effort to attract more students and keep the tiny Pennsylvania liberal-arts institution in business. Under the offer, the college will pay back up to $10,000 of a student’s federal Stafford student-loan indebtedness if the student earns a degree at Wilson within four years, participates in new financial-literacy programs the college will offer, and takes pa…


Veterans Affairs Dept. Needs to Improve Management of GI Benefits, Report Says

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should do more to improve the management of its Post-9/11 GI Bill Program, which provides benefits to veterans who pursue a higher education, by cutting down on payment delays, working with colleges to give veterans more information about their financial-aid options, and taking advantage of outcomes data.

Those conclusions are among the recommendations in a report released on Wednesday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which in 2011 also issued…