All Articles Tagged "department of education"
Hoping to alleviate some of the confusion that comes with financial aid letters, the Obama Administration has introduced the “Shopping Sheet.”
“The Shopping Sheet will standardize award letters, making it easier to comparison shop and provide students with key information…,” reads the U.S. Department of Education blog. The info on the Sheet will include the cost of one year of school and the financial aid options available. We’ve got a sample section of the Shopping Sheet above.
Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, announced the Shopping Sheet today on Twitter, saying that it “helps unravel the mystery of college costs so students can make informed decisions.” He’s also published an open letter to college and university presidents asking them to use the Shopping Sheet, starting with the 2013 school year. Use of the sheet is voluntary.
The introduction comes amid increases in college tuition (“…the average cost of public education rose 15 percent between 2008 and 2010, with two thirds of students owing more than $26,000 in loans upon graduation,” reports ABC News). And Americans are saving less and less for education because of the recession. USA Today says, “48 percent of families with college-bound children are saving for their education, down from 56 percent in 1997.”
A college budget breakdown is a must-have for most everyone enrolling these days, so it will be interesting to see how many schools adopt the Sheet. For tips on how to pay for college, check this out.
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George W. Bush’s controversial No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is most notorious for creating a system in which education and success is defined by how well school districts score on a series of high-stakes tests. Learning was secondary.
President Obama had called NCLB a good step towards education reform but recognized that it was ultimately flawed. But now, President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are offering waivers for states to enact their own plans around higher achievement, which among other things, would exclude them from having to abide by the impossible 2014 deadline for 100 percent proficiency in math and language arts.
On the surface, the new waiver appears to be the perfect compromise for education advocates, who felt the provisions in NCLB were too harsh, and those on the political right, who feel that education should be a matter of state rights. However, states who opted for the waiver, would be required to adopt state-developed standards in English language arts and mathematics, which would be in line with the provisions of Duncan’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, a blueprint for education reform which President Obama had unsuccessfully tried to pass through Congress.
And while a casual observer of the education debate might conclude that the waiver has essentially ended No Child Left Behind, many of NCLB’s fundamental features would remain in effect through the Obama and Duncan plan.
Just like NCLB, the Obama/Duncan plan still seeks to measure educators’ effectiveness based on students’ test scores. Those who “fail” under this new system, could still seem themselves fired and replaced. Likewise, states that seek relief from NCLB’s provisions will still face increasingly harsh sanctions against schools deemed as “failing” including provisions that require “challenged” schools to either be closed or turned into charter schools.
In essence, we are replacing one stringent and ineffective set of standards with the same stringent and ineffective set of standards – but with a cooler name. By remaining wedded to test-based accountability, the corruption surrounding test scores will persist among educators, who would be inclined to fudge numbers in order to save their jobs, and, more importantly, the ineffective way in which we measure student learning will continue to go uncontested. Likewise, this “reform” offers nothing in the way of changing the educational system, which values ‘teaching to the test’ over creating a new generation of critical thinkers.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
Good news has emerged in the saga of Morris Brown College: The U.S. Department of Education has an agreement pending with the school to settle nearly $10 million in debt for pennies on the dollar. According to the Associated Press, the Education Department said that it will forgive more than $9.4 million in debt if Morris Brown can manage to pay the remaining $500,000. If the deal is approved, it would be a
major colossal victory for the financially embattled institution, giving the administration a chance at a fresh start.
According to the AP, Morris Brown College President Stanley Pritchett said, “This is a game-changer for the college. There are other financial challenges, but this will help to open the door…to resolving our other issues.”
Issues indeed abound at the university, from struggles to keep accreditation to a revolving door of presidents. But none have been as crucial and high-profile as the school’s finances. It is hard to forget about the city threatening to shut off their water and the former president’s crucifixion in the media. The Atlanta Post spoke with former (and infamous) Morris Brown President Dolores Cross, who’s efforts to improve the school’s finances eventually led her to a state issued house arrest ankle bracelet.
This is great news, however, for the historically black institution to finally have a chance at a clean slate. Finally.
(New York Times) — The aggressive $4 billion program begun by the Obama administration in 2009 to radically transform the country’s worst schools included, as its centerpiece, a plan to install new principals to overhaul most of the failing schools. That policy decision, though, ran into a difficult reality: there simply were not enough qualified principals-in-waiting to take over. Many school superintendents also complained that replacing principals could throw their schools into even more turmoil, hindering nascent turnaround efforts. As a result, the Department of Education softened the hit-the-road plans for principals of underperforming schoolslaid out in the program rules. It issued guidelines allowing principals hired as part of local improvement efforts within the last two years to stay on, then interpreted that grandfather clause to mean three years. Although the program created an expectation that most schools would get new leadership, new data from eight large states show that many principals’ offices in failing schools still bear the same nameplates. About 44 percent of schools receiving federal turnaround money in these states still have the same principals who were leading them last year.
by Candi Sparks
On June 15, the Department of Education responded to complaints from consumer advocacy groups by proposing regulations which would force for-profit schools (like DeVry) to change their policies, or lose student funding. The regulations are aimed at getting for-profit schools to accurately report two statistics to student candidates, namely, the school’s graduation rates and post graduation job placement rates, before accepting a student‘s enrollment. In addition, a school could lose student funding if more than 45% of graduating students fail to pay off the principal on their federal school loans.
A group of more than 1,400 (or 95%) of for-profit schools known as the Career College Association, challenged the government’s position. Jonathan Guryan, an economist at Northwestern University said on behalf of the Association that the regulation would have unintended consequences that disproportionately affect poor, black and Hispanic students, who attend for-profits at higher rates. Schools may be tempted to turn away students with high debt, he said. “I’m concerned it would create an incentive for schools to discriminate.”
The for-profit schools rely on higher tuition to cover operating costs and turn a profit. Accordingly, students of for-profit schools typically incur higher student debt. Their students receive about 24 percent of Stafford federal loans to attend for-profit schools.
Defaults on federal student loans put taxpayers on the hook for 97 to 100 percent of the losses, depending on whether the default is on a direct or guaranteed loan. Hypothetically if a student defaulted on a $30,000 loan without making a single payment, taxpayers would be responsible for $29,100 to all of it. Although statistics show that many borrowers pay down a portion of their loan before defaulting, the government collects the remainder.
According to the Department of Education, these regulations have been put into place to protect the low-income and minority students who are often targeted by for-profit schools and either drop out, default on loans and/or cannot find jobs in their area of study at the for-profit school. Defaulting on a loan would harm a student’s ability to find housing, employment and gain further access to credit. Many students turn to 2-year programs at community college to avoid the high cost of the for-profit school while continuing their education. The cost of a for-proft may not ultimately be worth the price of admission.
The final rules will be published by November 1, 2010 before they take effect next July.
Candi Sparks is the author of the “Can I Have Some Money?” books series.
(CNBC.com) – With unemployment rates lingering around 10 percent, many are thinking about going back to school. Whether you’re a first-time student or simply looking to further your education, you may need a student loan to fund your studies. Universities are increasing their tuition and fees and show no sign of slowing. Now that the Department of Education has bought Stafford, Parent PLUS and Grad PLUS loans, you might be pondering the differences and benefits of federal and private loans.