Happy Holidays from TICAS! New Data and New Reports | Other News

TICAS Analysis Finds Financial Aid Award Letters Fall Far Short of Being Clear, Comparable, and Consumer-Friendly
U.S. House Advances Bill that Increases Costs for Students, Guts Accountability for Colleges
New Data on College Affordability, Diversity, and Student Success
New Report: Unequal Debt Burdens Among California State University Graduates
Update on Student Loan Relief for Mistreated Students
Update on Accountability for Career Education Programs
Double the Good You Do for Students and Borrowers

 

TICAS Analysis Finds Financial Aid Award Letters Fall Far Short of Being Clear, Comparable, and Consumer-Friendly

A new TICAS issue brief reveals major shortcomings in the financial aid information that colleges are sending to students and highlights the need to standardize financial aid award letters. Cost in Translation: How Financial Aid Award Letters Fall Short details how the vast majority of the almost 200 aid award letters that TICAS analyzed failed to communicate critical information to prospective college students, and provides examples of the most problematic elements of those letters.

Read the issue brief

U.S. House Advances Bill that Increases Costs for Students, Guts Accountability for Colleges

Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce released and quickly passed out of committee a sprawling legislative proposal that would overhaul the Higher Education Act (HEA) in a way that would make it both harder and costlier for students to earn a high-quality certificate or degree.

Among other things, the bill would eliminate key regulations that protect students and taxpayers from low-quality, deceptive, or abusive colleges; opens the floodgates of federal financial aid to new companies and programs without sufficient oversight; charges all students interest on their federal loans while they are still in school; increases monthly loan payments for borrowers enrolled in income-driven repayment; and eliminates any clear cap on how long a borrower is required to repay. TICAS and our allies will continue to monitor this proposal as it moves to the House floor, and urge the Senate to follow a different path in crafting a bipartisan proposal to reauthorize the HEA in a way that puts students first.

Read our Statement

New Data on College Affordability, Diversity, and Student Success

We’ve updated College InSight, our unique website for higher education research, with data for academic years 2014-15 and 2015-16, including new data from the U.S. Department of Education.

For eight years, College InSight has been an easy-to-use, consumer-friendly resource for anyone interested in analyzing issues related to college affordability, diversity, and student success. Whether a prospective student, an institutional researcher, or a policymaker, this database is a valuable resource to identify and highlight important trends in higher education. College InSight includes rich data from over 12,000 U.S. colleges and universities and nearly 200 variables, and unlike other higher education data tools, College InSight features totals and averages for states, sectors, and other groupings of colleges.

Visit College InSight

New Report: Unequal Debt Burdens Among California State University Graduates

A joint report from TICAS and the Cal State Student Association (CSSA) finds that nearly 8 in ten California State University (CSU) graduates with student debt had family incomes under $55,000, and that students of color were more likely to graduate with debt (76%) than their white peers (47%). Overall, 52% of 2015-16 bachelor’s degree recipients from CSU had incurred student debt.. When Debt Comes Due at CSU: Unequal Debt Burdens Among California State University Graduates looked at student costs and debt among 2015-16 bachelor’s degree graduates across the CSU’s 23 campuses.

Read the report

Update on Student Loan Relief for Mistreated Students

During the week of November 13, 2017 the Department of Education conducted the first of three negotiated rulemaking sessions to rewrite the borrower defense rule. Representatives from the student, veteran and servicemember, legal aid, and consumer constituencies, as well as members of the public, urged the Department to write a strong, fair rule that is first and foremost in the interests of students and borrowers. Negotiations will continue through February 2018.

As a reminder, the 2016 rule, if implemented and enforced, would have helped ensure that students who were mistreated by institutions receive the loan relief they are entitled to under the law. It also would have made it harder for schools that commit widespread misconduct to hide it. However, the Department illegally delayed the rule from going into effect this year. Eighteen states have filed suit over the delay, and over 50 organizations have called for the 2016 rule to be implemented immediately.

Relatedly, this Administration has not approved any borrower defense claims, despite having the authority to do so and being explicitly urged to seek approval to resume granting relief by the Department’s Office of the Inspector General. The backlog of pending claims is over 95,000. 

Update on Accountability for Career Education Programs

During the week of December 4, 2017, the Department of Education conducted the first of three negotiated rulemaking sessions to rewrite the gainful employment rule. Several negotiators and members of the public urged the Department to retain and enforce the current rule and standards. Negotiations will continue through March 2018.

The current gainful employment rule is designed to ensure that career college program graduates leave school with manageable debts. However, the Department is not enforcing the rule, leading 18 states to file suit. 

Double the Good You Do for Students and Borrowers

There are only 11 days left in 2017 to maximize your impact this holiday season! We need your help to keep fighting to reduce the burden of student debt, and we're so grateful for the many donations that we have already received.

Donate early and DOUBLE your impact! Every gift counts and if you contribute now, your gift to TICAS will go further: a dollar-for-dollar matching gift will double the first $1000 we receive.

P.S. Thank you to those who have already given. We are so appreciative of your support, and there are more ways you can help us reach our goal for the year: please forward to a friend or share on Facebook and Twitter.