Friday, August 28, 2015

Student loan debt: America's next big crisis - Mitchell D. Weiss, Detroit Free Press

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released its latest Report on Household Debt and Credit Developments, and the news isn't good for student-borrowers. As of the second calendar quarter ending June 30, seriously delinquent student loans (which the FRBNY describes as those whose payments are 90 or more days past due), increased to 11.5% of the $1.19 trillion dollars' worth of education loans, versus 11.1% in the first quarter. Before you dismiss four-tenths of one percent as decimal dust, consider this: Although student loans make up only 10% of all consumer debt, the amount of seriously past due student loan payments total nearly one-third of all seriously past-due debt payments. What's more, of the total $1.19 trillion in outstanding education-related loans, only about half that amount is actually in repayment at this time (the balance is deferred because the borrowers are still in school). So instead of 11.5% being seriously delinquent, it's actually twice that amount: 23%.

Does a tax credit make a difference for Maine, debt-laden college grads? - Christopher Burns, BDN

Nearly a decade ago, state lawmakers tried to entice new graduates of Maine colleges to stay and work in Maine by helping to reduce their student debt burden through the tax code. Today, nearly 4,000 graduates who live and work in Maine have signed up for the Opportunity Maine tax credit. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, graduates from Maine universities on average shoulder about $30,000 in student debt, the seventh highest amount in the nation. The graduates who qualify for Opportunity Maine receive a tax credit to offset their monthly student loan payments. Employers who pay their employees’ student loan bills also are eligible. A bachelor’s degree holder can claim up to $363 per month and up to $4,356 per year, while an associate’s degree holder can claim reimbursement for up to $66 per month and up to $792 per year, according to Maine Revenue Services.

How Austerity Is Making It Harder And Harder To Get Educated In Puerto Rico - ALICE OLLSTEIN, Think Progress

The U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico is currently facing a $72 billion debt crisis fueled by Wall Street vulture funds, corruption, and wasteful spending. Now, the austerity the government has imposed to deal with the crisis has hit students especially hard. Deep, repeated cuts to public education have come at a time when the island already spends less per student than most states, and more than 45 percent of the population live in poverty. The island’s hedge fund creditors are demanding further austerity, including firing more teachers, closing schools, and further cutting the budget of the University of Puerto Rico. “Every year, a degree is a less accessible, especially for working-class families,” León said.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Budget gridlock will delay Richland's Student Success Center - VALERIE WELLS, Herald & Review

The lack of a state budget isn't hitting Richland Community College's budget as hard as it has hit public schools, but it's frustrating just the same. The construction of the Student Success Center will likely come to a halt soon, said Greg Florian, vice president of finance, because without the state money, contractors will be forced to pull their crews out for other jobs. “If we have to shut down through the winter, we'll lose a significant slice of time,” Florian said. “We were hoping for a spring (2016) opening and that's probably not going to happen.”

EIU Releases Layoff Information - Greg Sapp, the Xradio

Eastern Illinois University Tuesday announced that 67 employees will be laid off to accommodate current enrollment and available funding. In addition to the 67 layoffs, Eastern officials say more than 50 other positions already vacant will remain unfilled. The jobs involved are described as civil service and administrative and professional positions. Efforts to personally notify employees being affected began on Monday and will continue through Wednesday. In a statement, EIU President David Glassman said, "These are excellent, high performing employees who are working in positions we felt we could no longer support financially."

Lake Land College budget nearly balanced - ROB STROUD, JG-TC

The Lake Land College Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved a deficit budget for fiscal year 2016 that the college will balance by drawing from its savings. College President Josh Bullock said the budget is projected to have $38.1 million in revenues and $38.3 million in expenditures, resulting in a $277,353 deficit. He said the deficit will shrink if the upcoming reduction in state funding for community colleges turns out to be less than Lake Land officials anticipated. At the July 13 board meeting, Bullock reported that Lake Land has a reserve fund available to help balance the new budget because the college has been cutting costs in anticipation of the state funding reductions.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Would Your State Qualify For Clinton's $175B Public College Grant? - Brian Patrick Byrne , Vocativ

If Clinton's proposal were introduced today, 13 states wouldn't qualify for the debt-relief plan. Hillary Clinton is proposing to fix America’s $1.2 trillion student loan debt problem by promising $175 billion in grants for states which stop pulling funds from public universities. Clinton’s proposal says that states that guarantee students would not have to take out loans to cover tuition at four-year public schools would qualify for the grant money. In return, states would have to end budget cuts on education, increase spending and curb the rise in tuition. If Clinton’s proposal were introduced today, 13 states wouldn’t qualify for the debt-relief plan because they continue to cut higher education funding for their own students, which results in higher tuition fees to cover the shortfall.

Ransdell: WKU at Three Crossroads that Impact Budget - LISA AUTRY (KPR)

WKU President Gary Ransdell says the university is at a crossroads in three areas: enrollment, state funding, and employee compensation. While noting many of the university’s achievements, Ransdell also outlined the school’s challenges to faculty and staff in his opening convocation Friday morning. Faced with an enrollment decline in the last couple of years, WKU is focusing more on recruitment and retention.

WIU: Members of university professionals union weigh in on budget layout - Lainie Steelman, McDonough Voice

Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas and the university's budget director, Matt Bierman spoke about the FY16 budget during the Faculty Assembly on Thursday. Following the assembly, several members of the university's largest union, the WIU chapter of University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100, shared their thoughts on Thomas' address and the university's cloudy financial future amid a state budget impasse. "The state's not going to do us any favors and come in and give us any more money, so any future money is going to have to be enrollment growth," Thompson said. "That said, it seems to be puzzle that a lot of Illinois institutions are not able to solve. Part of it's just driven by demographics. There's been a lot of out migration from Illinois (due to the weak economy)."

UNC System Braces For State Budget Cuts - KERI BROWN, WFDD

Higher education institutions in the UNC system are waiting for the final version of this year’s state budget. And they’re already bracing for possible cuts. North Carolina A&T State University Chancellor Harold Martin says state budget cuts are a major concern for schools in the UNC System. North Carolina A&T State University Chancellor Harold Martin says state budget cuts are a major concern for schools in the UNC System. The proposed budget calls for increasing the starting pay for some state employees, including teachers, corrections officers and state troopers. But it appears there may not be funding support for faculty and staff pay raises in the UNC System. That is causing major concerns for schools like North Carolina A&T State University. Chancellor Harold Martin Sr. says he’s worried about the long-term impact.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Budget uncertainty brings change to SIU Carbondale campus - Holden Kurwicki, WPSD

Students are arriving to Southern Illinois University and finding the school they will be attending this fall is different from the one they visited last spring. At $22,000 a year, SIU is still a relative bargain for schools in Illinois. However, it is still more expensive than South East Missouri State University, Murray State University, and the University of Tennessee at Martin. Despite state cuts and raising tuition, university leaders are confident they can still offer students a top-notch education.

Mohave Community College is preparing for potential budget cuts - ZACHARY MATSON, Havasu NEWS-HERALD

The president of Mohave Community College last week warned the school’s governing board to prepare for cuts that could wipe out the college’s entire annual state funding. Last Friday, President Michael Kearns told the MCC Governing Board that community college presidents “are not optimistic about the upcoming budget cycle based on anecdotal reports that all (colleges) could have zero funding next year,” according to meeting minutes.

Can E-Books Lessen the College Textbook Budget Burden? - Brian O'Connell, the Street

It's not enough the price of college is rising by over twice the U.S. annual inflation rate. It's also not enough the actual dollar costs for a four-year degree from a U.S. college, for a freshman enrolling in 2015, is $134,600. For a newborn who will enter college 18 years from now, that figure rises to $323,900. Now, college students will also get socked in the wallet by a big rise in college textbook costs in 2015, with the average cost for a new textbook standing at $79 in 2015, and $59 for a good, used textbook, according to the National Association of College Stores. The NACS also reports college students will spend $313 this fall semester for necessary course materials and another $358 for "non-critical" items like laptops and USB drives.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Should financial aid only go to college students in need? - PBS News Hour

At many colleges and universities, merit-based scholarships are meant to attract the best and the brightest students. But opponents say they can inadvertently end up rewarding the richest applicants. That’s why some schools have started giving out need-based aid only. Hari Sreenivasan explores how Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania made the jump to improve its economic diversity.

Borrowing For College Set To Hit 5-Year Low in Part Because of Declining enrollment - Shahien Nasiripour, Huffington Post

Much of the drop in borrowing is likely due to slightly lower enrollment, and less borrowing by students at for-profit schools. Some 20.3 million students were enrolled at America's colleges and universities last autumn, fewer than in previous years, according to Education Department estimates. In 2010, enrollment stood at more than 21 million students. Borrowing by for-profit students is down from $10.1 billion last year, to $8.6 billion, according to figures through March. State and federal regulators have sued large for-profit college chains in recent years for allegedly misleading students -- one of them, Corinthian Colleges Inc., filed for bankruptcy -- and the Obama administration recently finalized rules that attempt to cut off federal student aid to dodgy career programs.

More Borrowers Enroll in Income-Based Repayment - Inside Higher Ed

The number of federal student loan borrowers enrolling in income-based repayment options grew by more than half over the past year, the Education Department said on Thursday. As of June, nearly 3.9 million federal direct loan borrowers were enrolled in the plans, which the Obama administration has expanded and heavily promoted. That’s a 56 percent jump from last June. Education Secretary Arne Duncan touted the increase as a success on Thursday.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ashland University cutting tenured faculty - Courtney Day, Mansfield News Journal

About 20 Ashland University faculty members, including several with tenure, were notified last week that their jobs will be eliminated. University President Carlos Campo said the exact number of positions to be eliminated in a $3 million restructuring of academic programs has not been finalized. “It could be as few as 15, or it could be 25 when all is said and done,” Campo said. That range includes tenured, tenure-track and non-tenured faculty members in all four of the university’s colleges being non-renewed.In accordance with a faculty agreement, tenured faculty whose positions are eliminated will be able to stay on for three semesters and non-renewed tenure-track faculty can continue at the university for two semesters.

Students react to UA budget cuts as classes begin - Scott Taylor, WOIO

Students will return to a very different campus at the University of Akron on Aug. 31 after cuts made by President Scott Scarborough, who is starting a three-year plan to shave $40 million off the budget. The university sites its annual debt payment of $38 million, as just one of many reasons to cut costs. More than 200 employees are gone, along with the baseball team. Now the university is closing its Quaker Square General Store.

See list of programs facing elimination, cuts at Loyola as school seeks to save millions - JEFF ADELSON, New Orleans Advocate

Loyola University, which went through rounds of buyouts last year to deal with falling enrollment and budget issues, is contemplating eliminating or reducing dozens of programs as part of a restructuring plan aimed at cutting its budget by $10 million over the next five years. The proposal still must be reviewed by the university’s president, the Rev. Kevin Wildes, and approved by administrators and possibly the board of trustees in coming months in a process that gives the affected departments the opportunity to appeal the preliminary decisions.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

University of Wisconsin scrambles to deal with large budget cuts - Karen Herzog, MPR News

Campuses across the University of Wisconsin system are grappling with budget shortfalls after the state's legislature approved $125 million in cuts to system's budget earlier this year. In addition to the financial challenges facing the system — the legislature left tenure protections uncertain for UW system professors, a change that critics warn will make it difficult to attract and retain top talent.

$420M in college aid snagged by budget impasse - Debra Erdley, Trib Live

Nearly $420 million earmarked for state grants to 153,585 Pennsylvania college students is in limbo thanks to the state budget stalemate. The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, or PHEAA — the agency that disburses the grants — notified students and schools of estimated grants this year once its board approved a preliminary budget. That document called for the state to maintain the agency's prior year allocation of $344.8 million. PHEAA would kick in $75 million from its student loan servicing business.