Archive for the 'Student Loans' Category

“Subprime Opportunity: The Unfulfilled Promise of For-Profit Colleges and Universities”

Posted on Nov. 28th 2010 by Alexis

A new Education Trust report published this past week criticizes for-profit institutions for their low graduation rates, expensive tuition costs, and aggressive recruiting tactics. The authors reveal in the report that students at for-profit schools borrow a large amount of money for their education, yet only a small percentage earn a “marketable degree or credential.”

The most alarming statistic revealed in the report states that a mere 22 percent of students at for-profit schools graduate within six years, compared to 55 percent of students at public institutions, and 65 percent of students at private non-profit institutions.

The high cost of a low education

Tuition at for-profit institutions costs approximately $25,000 a year, but with a 22 percent chance of graduating, the costs can be devastating for students or even graduates.

Only 4 percent of students who earn bachelor’s degrees at for-profit schools graduate debt-free, compared to 38 percent of students at public institutions, and 28 percent of students at private non-profit institutions.

Default rates at for-profit institutions are also twice as high as the default rates at public and private non-profit colleges, with for-profit institutions representing 43 percent of all federal student loan defaults.

“[The] Students’ inability to pay back the debt strongly suggests that the credentials students are earning at these schools, with the intention of preparing themselves for lucrative jobs and careers, may not be worth the cost,” the authors write.

Approximately 10 percent of all students who study at for-profit institutions end up defaulting on their federal student loans within two years, and 19 percent of students default within three years. As a result, many of these students and/or graduates may have their wages “garnished,” their income tax refunds intercepted, or even their Social Security payments withheld.

Are for-profit schools failing low-income and minority students?

For-profit schools failing minority students: Subprime Opportunity reportFor-profit institutions have always stated that their recruitment of low-income and minority students is “heralded as a sign of its commitment to underserved populations.” But the authors of the report state that low-income and minority students, (who are pursuing college degrees in record numbers), are targeted and then “recruited aggressively” by for-profit colleges. (Low-income students represent 50 percent of the student population at for-profit schools, while minority students make up 37 percent).

The authors also explained that low-income and minority students are more likely to take out student loans at for-profit colleges than at any other institution.

“For-profit colleges argue that they are models of access and efficiency in America’s overburdened higher education system,” write the authors. “But instead of providing a solid pathway to the middle class, they are paving a path into the subbasement of the American economy. They enroll students in high-cost degree programs that have little chance of leading to high paying careers, and saddle the most vulnerable students with more debt than they could reasonably manage to pay off, even if they do graduate.”

Click here to read the report:

Subprime Opportunity: The Unfulfilled Promises of For-Profit Colleges and Universities

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Private loans and student death: The Christopher Bryski Student Loan Protection Act

Posted on Sep. 30th 2010 by Alexis

Private loans and student deathDue to the fact that 84 percent of private student loans require a co-signer, most students are left with no other choice than to ask their parents to co-sign their student loans. Unlike federal loans, if a borrower becomes disabled or passes away, private lenders demand that co-signers pay off the student loans in full.

But the House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 5458, also known as The Christopher Bryski Student Loan Protect Act or Christopher’s Law, which will apparently “change the way private student loans are handled.”

The bill was passed by the House on September 29th, 2010, and will soon be voted on in the Senate for action.

The authors of the bill recommend the following amendments to the Truth and Lending Act and Higher Education Opportunity Act:

  • Private education lenders as well as institutions will be required to provide student loan counseling services to students, and discuss the options and benefits of purchasing credit insurance.
  • Private lenders must “clearly and concisely” define the financial responsibilities of the co-signer, specifically what will happen if the student passes away or becomes disabled.
  • Students and co-signers must also be advised about the benefits of creating a Power of Attorney.

Christopher Bryski’s story

In 2001, 23-year-old Christopher Bryski was accepted into Rutgers University, and he asked his father to co-sign his student loans so he could pay for tuition. Christopher borrowed approximately $44,500 in private student loans, and $5,000 in federal loans.

When Christopher was climbing a tree in June, 2004, he lost his footing and fell forty five feet to the ground. He sustained a traumatic brain injury which left him in a vegetative state for over two years, and tragically passed away in July, 2006.

Despite living through a parent’s worst nightmare, there was more heartbreak around the corner for Christopher’s family: The bank informed his father that he was responsible for paying back his son’s loans. He was left with no other option than to come out of retirement just to pay off the debt, and by the time the repayment plan ends, he will have paid up to $85,000 due to interest. 

Although the information regarding repayment responsibility was “buried deep in the fine print of the contract,” Christopher’s father was under the assumption that he would be financially responsible only if Christopher defaulted on his loans.

The Bryski’s story inspired U.S. Representative John Adler to introduce H.R. 5458 to the U.S. House of Representatives on May 28, 2010. The bill was then endorsed by The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), Brian Injury Association of NJ (BIANJ), Rutgers University and the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA).

“The bill is not going to help. It’s too late for us,” says Ryan, Christopher’s brother. “Once Christopher’s Law is passed, if and when it’s passed, it will help families in the future [so] they do not end up in this situation.”

However, it is important to point out that there are some existing private loans which have forgiveness policies in the event of a disablement or death.

Until this bill is passed into a law, experts are advising all students interested in taking out a private student loan to look into grants or “expanded federal options,” and research credit insurance before asking someone to co-sign your loan.

Experts also advise that if you are co-signing your child’s private student loan, it may be a good idea to have a Power of Attorney over your child’s finances. Otherwise you will be unable to access your child’s bank accounts or re-negotiate their loan repayments in the event of death.

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Where to find interest-free student loans

Posted on Sep. 12th 2010 by Alexis

Interest-free student loans

Interest-free student loans may sound like a dream for many students, but they do exist.

Student loans from the federal government’s “unsubsidized” Stafford student loan program could force students to pay up to $10,000 more than they borrowed because of interest rates.  Interest-free loans, on the other hand, are ideal because borrowers are only required to pay back the exact amount that they borrowed.

Here is a list of some of some charities and organizations who are currently offering interest-free loans to students:

  • Abe and Annie Seibel Foundation Almost 800 Texas residents who are enrolled in a full-time program at a college or university in their state can apply for a $4,000 loan from this organization. The student must have someone co-sign their loan, (specifically an adult with good credit), so if the student fails to pay back their loan on time, their co-signer will then take full responsibility for payments. In order to qualify the student should be a high school graduate from a Texas high school. Application deadline: February 28th.
  • Bill Raskob Foundation – This organization is a “small family foundation” and offers student loans worth a minimum of $1,000 per year; however most of the loans average between $3,000 and $6,000 per year. Approximately 60 sophomores, juniors, or seniors are eligible, but they will not accept your application if you are an undergraduate student in your first year of study, or if you are pursuing more than one degree. Application deadline: April 1st.
  • Central Scholarship Bureau of Maryland – Nearly 150 students who are residents within the state of  Maryland can apply for loans worth up to $10,000 per year. Applicants must be a full-time student and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. Also, their family must have an adjusted gross income of less than $90,000, but each applicant will be evaluated individually. In order to obtain the funds, the student must have a co-signer. Application deadline: May 10th.
  • Evalee C. Schwarz Charitable Trust for Education – Students who have grades and scores that are in the top 10 percent of their class can apply for loans worth a minimum of $5,000 or a maximum of $15,000. In order to qualify the applicant must be a graduate, undergraduate or high school senior, and they must be attending a school within their state, however there are some exceptions listed on their website. Application deadline: April 10th.
  • Jewish Free Loan Association – Even though these loans can total up to $3,500, specialized programs may have higher limits. These loans will be given out to about 650 residents in the Los Angeles area regardless of their faith. Their co-signer must be a resident of California, older than 25, and have a “steady source of income” as well as an “established credit record.” Applicants must be a permanent resident of Southern California, however some exceptions do apply. There is no application deadline.
  • Leo S. Rowe Pan American Fund – Citizens of Latin American or Caribbean nations who are interested in studying in the U.S. can apply for this loan, however the applicants must return to their home countries within a year after graduation. The loans can total up to $15,000, and after returning to their home country they must “apply their knowledge and training” to their community, and also “continue to promote cultural exchange and development in the region.” Students studying in any academic field besides English as a Second Language (ESL) can apply for the loan, and they must have a valid visa which allows them to study as a full-time student in the U.S. The co-signer must be a U.S. citizen or be a member of an institution which has been accepted by the committee.  There is no application deadline.
  • Military Officers Association of America Scholarship Fund – Nearly 1,500 students who are children of active or retired military members can receive up to $5,500 from this organization. In order to qualify the applicant must have a grade point average of at least 3.0. These loans are renewable annually for up to five years if the student is enrolled in a full-time undergraduate study. However, the organization reports that “assistance is available” for students who have not yet earned an undergraduate degree. Application deadline: March 1st.

If you do not qualify for any of the above loans, try contacting your school’s financial aid office and/or department chair and ask if they offer interest-free loans at your school.

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Student Loan Changes – Just What Exactly Is Congress Proposing?

Posted on Sep. 30th 2009 by Amelia

The recent enactment of H.R.3221 The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 by Congress has many students wondering what impact the new changes will have on them and their student loans.

According to the Seattle Times, “Congress’ overhaul of the college student-loan system offers welcome relief to students at risk of drowning in debt.”

But, while many are applauding the proposed changes, others are taking a more skeptical view. Today we offer readers a Q & A with Tara Payne of the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation. Ms. Payne currently serves as the Vice President of Corporate Communications for the NHHEAF Network Organizations.

nhhf oneThe New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF) was established in 1962 to guarantee student loans. Since 1965, it has been the designated guarantor for the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) in New Hampshire.

As one major function, NHHEAF is responsible for the initial application, disbursement of funds, default prevention, default collections, and oversight of the federal loan programs. For fiscal year 2008, NHHEAF guaranteed over $213 million in federal loans and the agency continues to rank among guarantors recording the nation’s lowest default rates.

Yet under the proposed legislation, NHHEAF, one of those so-called ‘middlemen’ in the loan process, might no longer exist. Such a scenario led us to the agency to try and gather additional perspective on the legislation.

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to pose a number of very specific questions to a person with more than a decade of experience at the organization. Ms. Payne offers a wealth of perspective having helped construct the organization’s Center for College Planning department. Today, that department reaches almost 30,000 New Hampshire students and parents each year, offering free college planning, financial literacy and financial aid expertise via presentations, materials and websites.

Can you explain in brief terms exactly what Congress is debating and the rationale for the debate? What is meant by the phrase, the new loan process will “cut out the middle man?”

The President’s budget proposal includes the elimination of the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). As a FFELP provider, the NHHEAF Network Organizations (NHHEAF) is involved in funding, originating, disbursing and servicing student loans for New Hampshire students from our New Hampshire office. The Presidents budget eliminates the local role in the student loan process. The government’s language about “middlemen” implies that agencies like ours are a “cog in the wheel”, not a major source of community support for families, schools and citizens of our state.

New Hampshire’s program is managed by a nonprofit FFELP provider. This means that proceeds from the loan program are reinvested in our community. We reinvest into strong financial literacy programs, early college awareness and financial aid preparation for students and their families at K-12 schools.

We employ 200 New Hampshire residents who are truly dedicated to supporting student loan borrowers. Our success is evident in NHHEAF having among the lowest default rates in the nation. When these local services go away, students suffer.

Our focus is on increasing aspirations, providing funding and best-in-class service. No government program can replace this local resource. As a school counselor who utilizes our programs shared recently, “NHHEAF is the best thing to happen to higher education since I started teaching in 1974.”

In what ways would students and parents be positively impacted by this legislation? Are there any potential negatives?

The legislation includes several positive aspects including increased Pell Grant funding for the lowest income students and increased funding and support for community colleges. Supporting New Hampshire’s low income students is essential to our mission. We fully support any effort to provide additional funding to the neediest students.

However, under current legislation, FFELP would be eliminated and yet Pell would still not be an entitlement. “Eliminating subsidies to lenders” is a politically-charged cry for support. The public hears this and reacts with unbridled support … assuming that those subsidies will go into making the program less expensive for them.

As Bill Spiers, the Financial Aid Director of Tallahassee Community College described, “While the media has focused on the profitability in the FFELP program, little has been said about the fact that the federal government must fund Federal Pell Grant Program increases off the backs of student borrowers.

The government borrows money at very low rates, much lower than those available to lenders, yet the government would continue to charge the same interest rates as FFEL lenders. Under the current proposal the “federal government isn’t providing any breaks to the students and is actually making more off the program than lenders ever could”

While most student borrowers pay a fixed 6.8% interest rate on federal student loans and parent borrowers 8.5%, lenders in the FFELP are required to pay back the difference between what borrowers pay and today’s lower market yield to the federal government.

The difference between the cost of funds and the borrower rate of interest is even greater in the Direct Loan program, so much that the proposed record increase in Pell Grants would be largely funded from the interest rate spread the Department of Education will enjoy from student and parent borrowers paying a far higher rate of interest on their federal education loans than the federal government is paying on its borrowing costs. Enacted legislation required that loans made on or after July 1, 2006 carry a higher fixed rate for students and parents that is not market driven. Had interest rates remained variable, Stafford loans today would have been an extremely favorable 1.88% (in school and grace) interest rate (2.48% repayment rate), and PLUS loans would be at 3.28% in the current low interest rate environment.

Will these changes have any impact on the FAFSA application process?

nhhf twoThe CEO of our agency, Mr. Rene Drouin, actually sits on the Federal Advisory Committee for Financial Assistance and has been an advocate for these changes which simplify the financial aid process for students. By reducing the number of questions and simplifying the FAFSA form, families may not be as intimidated. Still, while shortening the form may help for those already committed to going to college, it will not increase college aspirations.

When our staff visits schools in communities like Colebrook and Nashua and Portsmouth and Keene, we offer consistent support which encourages education beyond high school and personalized assistance filing the forms and understanding the award letters for free. Ninety-three percent of New Hampshire high schools invite our full-time college counselors to their schools to educate their students and families throughout the academic year.

Which types of loans will be impacted: Stafford, Plus Loans, Consolidated Loans?

All federal student loans.

How will the legislation impact colleges and universities?

It is important to note that the Direct Loan program has been around since the Clinton administration. To offer some perspective on the use of Direct Loans in New Hampshire, consider that in fiscal year 2008, FFELP loan volume was at $409 million for 89,000 borrowers. Federal Direct Loan volume was only $13 million for fewer than 3,000 borrowers.

Nationally, 70% of post-secondary schools chose to work with FFELP because of the strong technological, programmatic and financial literacy programs it offers. Now, they will have no choice. And, they will have no local support.

Right now, NHHEAF has a full-time staff which provides a hotline, technical support and regular visits to schools for financial literacy activities for their students. NHHEAF also has a strong Compliance Department which ensures that schools have local support for any regulatory or student-eligibility questions that might arise. Both departments also provide in person training and webinars on a range of professional topics.

Supporting the financial aid professionals goes hand-in-hand with supporting the student borrowers on their campuses. Further, the proposal assumes that the government can effectively and efficiently run a program this large. It is estimated that 4,400 schools will be forced to convert from FFELP, their program of choice, to the Direct Loan program on July 1, 2010.

The U.S. Department of Education will be tasked with converting an average of nearly 500 schools a month over the course of a nine month period. Since the Direct Loan program’s inception in 1993, roughly 1,600 schools have been converted over a 16 year timeframe. For schools currently in the FFEL program, this would mean investing staff, time and money to change systems and processes at a time where budgets have been cut to the core. It’s realistic to imagine that those costs may have to be absorbed through increased tuition and student fees.

nhhf three Will anyone theoretically be hurt by these changes? If private banks lose this source of revenue, what negative impact might it have on their role as lending institutions within the community?

Minimally, 40,000 jobs are at stake across the nation. For agencies like ours, student loans are the only source of revenue. It would be devastating. And, the impact on the local economies would be brutal. Consider that in NH alone, NHHEAF spent $6.8 million on local vendors and contributed $5.1 million in charitable spending. Multiply that by all of the agencies like ours across the country and it is severe. And, again, at the end of the day, will most college-bound families experience any significant savings? It is unlikely.

The amount that could be saved by the Federal Government is projected to be in the billions of dollars – based on the current legislation as proposed what is the plan for this money? Will it be used to attack the current federal deficit or will the funds be rolled into further funding support for students?

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) indicates that, under the President’s budget proposals, which include the switch to 100-percent Direct Lending, debt held in the Government’s various Direct Loan accounts is expected to rise from $632 billion in FY 2009 to $1.58 Trillion in FY 2019, an increase of more than $900 billion. Nationalizing the education loan programs will add substantially to the national debt over the next decade and the beneficiaries of student loans will have to pay interest twice: first, the interest they’ll owe on their loan as a student borrower and second on the interest they’ll owe as a taxpayer via the national debt.

Corporations exist to earn and distribute business earnings to shareholders, while nonprofit agencies like NHHEAF exist to provide programs and services that are of public benefit. Often these programs and services are not otherwise provided by local, state, or federal entities. Particularly in a state with low levels of state aid, high public tuition costs and high debt burdens, promotion of college opportunities, financial aid and affordability is even more critical in order to get students to think realistically about higher education.

Can you briefly explain why the legislation is seen so differently by Republicans (opposed to these changes) and Democrats (support for the changes)?

I couldn’t speculate on this except to offer that many legislators want to support the President’s budget proposal for its supposed savings while many others doubt the savings purported will materialize. Originally, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that savings from the President’s proposal would total $94 billion.

In June, the costs savings were estimated at $87 billion. Senator Judd Gregg urged CBO to recalculate its projection to incorporate market risk cost. The CBO then revealed that the proposal to replace new guaranteed loans with direct loans would lead to estimated savings of about $47 billion over the 2010–2019 period. Most recently, the OMB predicted that the savings from the proposed transition to 100-percent Direct Lending will be $41.4 billion over the same time period. And, many legislators question the role of government in taking over a public-private program that has supported students and schools successfully for decades.

Still, it is important to note that some do see that there is a role for nonprofits in the student loan process. In fact, Representative Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) worked tirelessly to ensure that nonprofit student loan servicers would not be shut out of future Government contracts. Note that Under the Sense of Congress from the FY10 Concurrent Budget Resolution, sec. 605, it reads, “any reform of the federal student loan programs to ensure that students have reliable and efficient access to federal loans should include some future role for the currently involved private and non-profit entities, including state non-profits with 100% FFEL lending in the State, and capitalize on the current infrastructure provided by private and non-profit entities, in order both to provide employment to many Americans during this time of economic distress and to maintain valuable services that make post-secondary education more accessible and attainable for many Americans; and therefore, pursuant to any changes to the student loan programs, loan processing, administration, and servicing should continue to be performed, as needed, by for-profit and non-profit entities.”

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Student Loans by the Numbers

Posted on Sep. 24th 2009 by Amelia

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When in Debt, Don’t Compound Your Problems

Posted on Sep. 15th 2009 by Amelia

Three Classic Mistakes to Avoid

Debt is a major issue for literally millions of Americans. However, when you find yourself overextended, the fact that many others are in the same boat offers little in the way of consolation.

As your debt accumulates, there is a strong tendency to make three very common mistakes. While it is easy to understand why people make them, they must be avoided at all costs.

Mistake 1: Making Only the Minimum Payment

This is easily the most common of mistakes but minimum payments are a trap. Because of how cards work, the goal of the credit card company is to enlarge your debt so that interest rates yield more in the profits.

Power Bill Final NoticeMaking only the minimum payments ensures you will be in debt for the longest possible time. Paying the typical minimum level for a $500 debt at current interest rates of 15-20 percent will keep you in debt for more than a decade, even if you never charge another item.

Of course, by paying the minimum amount your are maintaining your credit score. It’s just that your debt will grow instead of decrease.

The folks at Learn Financial Planning recommend that you set your own personal minimum payment level that is at least triple the minimum payment and stick to it.

Mistake 2- Taking a Payday Loan

There is debt that is worse than credit card debt. It is the debt created by payday loans.

A payday loan is short-term loan, generally offered on a two-week basis (from one pay period to the next) and ranging between $100 and $500. The idea of a payday loan is to provide you the cash needed for immediate expenses and is a loan against your next paycheck.

Payday loans feature administration fees, processing fees, broker’s fees and even early repayment fees. Typically, the finance charge per $100 borrowed is $25.

While it is easy to accumulate credit card debt, payday loan debt is considered as much as eight times more punishing. While it easy to think this is a good way to deal with an immediate issue it is one you should never consider.

Mistake 3 – Falling for a Debt Settlement Scam

When your debt reaches the breaking point, debt consolidation and debt settlement can be the right step. The first step to take in such a situation is to admit you have an issue and then contact your creditors to discuss possible mechanisms to work through your issue.

You may be able to make some simple progress with your company, perhaps even negotiate a lower interest rate. Simply stated, credit card companies do not benefit if you default.

iStock_000009469784XSmallHowever, you have probably heard on television or seen online an ad by some third party company that can help you eliminate your debt. While there are legitimate agencies that do provide such services, many other entities are simply hoping to take advantage of your plight. If you are not careful, you may soon find one of these companies is bleeding you worse than your credit card company.

A legitimate debt settlement company will consolidate your loans and negotiate with your creditors on your behalf. The basic structure involves you making one monthly payment based on the total amount owed. As funds are collected, payments are negotiated with each creditor separately, a step that can reduce your debt total by as much as 50%.

There will be a fee associated with the process but legitimate firms will set up a reasonable plan that will help you make modest progress immediately and significant progress long term.

Avoid Compounding Your Mistakes

It is easy to accrue debt in a multitude of formats. If you do not do due diligence, that debt can double or quadruple in the matter of months.

Avoid borrowing and purchasing with plastic. When you do borrow or purchase, pay the amounts off quickly, do not fall into the trap of making only the minimum required payment.

Doing so puts you on a downward spiral into the world of payday loans and debt settlement scammers.

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Student Debt Loads – Is a College Degree Becoming a Negative Investment?

Posted on Sep. 9th 2009 by Amelia

According to Anne Marie Chaker at the Wall Street Journal, “New numbers from the U.S. Education Department show that federal student-loan disbursements—the total amount borrowed by students and received by schools—in the 2008-09 academic year grew about 25% over the previous year, to $75.1 billion.”

The overall news may not be shocking to most people, after all the amount of money students borrow for school has been rising steadily in recent years. But the key number here is the size of the increase.

iStock_000002998021XSmallTo put the 25% increase in perspective, we turn back to the WSJ.

“…last year far surpassed past increases, which ranged from as low as 1.7% in the 1998-99 school year to almost 17% in 1994-95.”

In addition to the increase in borrowed funds, the percentage of students taking out loans to pay for school is also on the increase. Today, nearly 70 percent of college students are borrowing funds to help pay for school. Just 12 years ago, the percentage of borrowers totaled 58%.

To get a sense of this distressing trend and its impact on students, the Journal offers a number of frightening examples. First, they discuss the plight of “Kordi Solo, a senior majoring in journalism at Central Michigan University,” who “expects to owe about $60,000 in student loans by the time she graduates in the spring.” Later they tell the tale of “Zack Leshetz, a 30-year-old lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,” who “has $175,000 in student loans from his seven years in college and law school.”

Even with a law degree, Leshetz lives paycheck to paycheck. And while Leshetz is struggling, Solo might be in an even worse position at one-third the debt level. Given the extent to which the journalism field has been hammered by the recession and an evolving media model, her accumulated debt could well be insurmountable.

Losing Investment?

The impact of this borrowing on students and their future opportunities is significant. Chaker notes:

“The ripple effects for today’s heavily indebted young people are becoming palpable. A growing body of research suggests that tough loan payments are affecting major life decisions by recent graduates, forcing them to put off traditional milestones—from buying a first home to even marriage and having children.”

While most everyone continues to tout the college degree as a must for future job options, Chaker notes that borrowing such sums to obtain that coveted sheepskin put students into a tough spot when they first enter the world of work.

These numbers and the impact on major life decisions have Karl Denninger of Market-Ticker uttering some almost unthinkable words:

“Students are literally coming out of college with more debt than they can ever reasonably hope to amortize over their working lives, making their education a negative net equity position – that is, a guaranteed losing investment.”

In other words, the debt load accrued by the majority of students is so large that even with the greater pay associated with a job based on earning a degree, that pay is not enough to cover both the costs associated with taking care of oneself and the debt payments that must be made.

Borrowing Begets Higher Costs and an Additional Need for Loans

As but another sign the system is not working, it seems that all the borrowing ultimately is triggering an even greater need to pursue loans.

“The rising levels of borrowing,” writes Chaker, “may ironically be contributing to the accelerating cost of college, say some college-finance experts. Loans can give colleges an artificial sense of a family’s ability to pay tuition.

iStock_000009469784XSmall“To some extent, that false sense of security gets built into the assumptions schools make when setting prices, say experts.

“The idea is that as prices rise, families borrow more and more, spurring prices to rise further, which in turn requires more borrowing.”

The untenable position students are finding themselves in has Seth Godin insisting that higher education may well be at the crossroads.

Godin suggests that higher education is going to have to make basic decisions in three distinct areas moving forward.

  • Should higher education be scarce or abundant?
  • Should higher education be free or expensive?
  • Should higher education be about school or about learning?

Currently, Godin suggests that college tends to be focused on scarce, expensive schooling. The result could be categorized as a monopolistic format.

Students can only obtain a college degree by spending gobs of money to gain access to specific curricula at institutions that have ascertained accreditation. Yet once in an institution, there is little emphasis on what a student has actually learned. Instead, credits are paid for and collected and when enough money is spent and enough credits accumulated the degree is awarded.

Godin instead imagines what higher education might be like if a school were to be built around inexpensive, abundant learning. A place where an unlimited number of materials were made available for a modest fee and the emphasis was not on charging per course or per credit, but for access, with a degree awarded based not on the courses or credits or fees, but on demonstrated knowledge.

One Option Exists

While most students continue along the traditional path, one that is taking too many down a road of false promises of future prosperity, it is interesting to see that one company today is challenging the status quo.

A new educational entity called StraighterLine is delivering Godin’s suggested option, offering online courses in subjects like accounting, statistics, and math for a flat rate of $99 a month. Instead of a per course or per credit fee, the rate is $99 for the month. In addition, instead of a semester or yearly or four year degree schedule, there are no semesters or defined calendars.

You as a student decide how many courses you want to take at a time and for how long you want to take them. Instead of heading off to some distant location or stopping your schedule to meet that of higher education, you work online, from home.

Students can “access course materials, read text, watch videos, listen to podcasts, work through problem sets, and take exams” all over the internet. In addition, to make the program more consistent with one critical aspect for learning (the need for a sense of community) StraighterLine also features online study groups where students can collaborate with one another via a “listserv and instant messaging.”

Most importantly, tutors are available to help students when they need additional support. These support personnel are available any time, day or night, and there is no extra costs for accessing such services.

A student completing a traditional college semester of 15 weeks and 15 credit hours in the traditional time frame would spend a total of just $400. Compare the cost of one full year under such a format with the numbers bandied about today for America’s elite colleges, as much as $40 and $50 thousand per year if a student chooses to live on campus.

StraighterLine is actually the idea of a man named Burck Smith. The entrepreneur has created an educational model that seems to fit Godin’s inexpensive, abundant learning concept by getting some other established (i.e., accredited) colleges to allow the transfer of credit from Straighter Line to the traditional learning model.

This is ultimately the biggest hurdle as it allows learners to earn that coveted diploma from an accredited institution. In other words, at the end of the line they have that all-important degree.

StraighterLine is indeed a new model, one where students are not tied to some college campus or program. Instead, students can assemble a degree from various course providers from their own computer.

More importantly, they can do so at a cost that is reasonable, a step that protects their long term fiscal future. Perhaps most importantly, it is a step sees as a proper one for higher education.

DebtIt may be some time before the “Internet bomb explodes in its basement,” writes Kevin Carey. “The fuse was only a couple of years long for the music and travel industries; for newspapers it was ten.

“Colleges may have another decade or two, particularly given their regulatory protections. Imagine if Honda, in order to compete in the American market, had been required by federal law to adopt the preestablished labor practices, management structure, dealer network, and vehicle portfolio of General Motors. Imagine further that Honda could only sell cars through GM dealers. Those are essentially the terms that accreditation forces on potential disruptive innovators in higher education today.”

Time for a Change

We would like to think the fuse has been lit, that the current accumulating debt loads being assumed by college students would be cause for society to demand a new model for higher education.

Yet, because it is so early in the process, StraighterLine is likely to seem a bit too much cutting edge, a little too groundbreaking and novel for a public that tends to prefer tradition. It is also, dare we say it, a little too inexpensive to be considered a viable alternative by a populace that equates higher cost with higher quality.

But with accruing debts making the current model a net negative for students at precisely the same time that society is placing greater emphasis on earning a college degree, more cost-effective methods must be created.

That would indicate that we are at the crossroads as Godin postures, a time when higher education does move from its current scarce, expensive schooling format to one that features a more abundant, cost-effective learning model.

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Income Based Repayment (IBR) and the Federal Student Forgiveness Law

Posted on Jun. 29th 2009 by Amelia

On Wednesday, under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, the repayment of college loans will become a whole lot more manageable for lower income wage earners.

New Options

The new Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Law is set to help student repayment in two significant ways:

• Lowering the monthly student loan payment on federal student loans (Income Based Repayment or IBR); and

• Canceling remaining loan debt after 10 years for those who have entered public service (Loan Forgiveness for Public Service).

Income Based Repayment (IBR)

Income based repayment (IBR) offers enormous potential reductions in the monthly payments for high debt/low income borrowers. Designed for those with “partial financial hardship,” IBR limits annual educational debt payments to 15% of a borrower’s discretionary income. For the purposes of the law, discretionary income is defined as adjusted gross income minus 150% of the poverty level for the borrower’s family size.

Under the IBR plan, the loans eligible for consideration include: all Federal Direct Loans (FDL) and federally guaranteed loans (FFEL) including subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans; Federal Grad PLUS loans (but not Parent PLUS loans); and Federal Direct Consolidation loans. Federal Perkins Loans are only eligible when part of a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.

The Detroit Free Press offers the following as an example of the potential savings:

Take a college grad who has $40,000 in federal student loans and an adjusted gross income of $30,000 each year.

If we use this example, the grad would pay $171.94 a month using the new plan — compared with $460.32 with a standard 10-year repayment plan or $277.63 a month for an extended 25-year repayment plan.

As a person receives annual salary increases, the monthly payment would rise only according to the percentage of salary increase. In the case of a married couple, each would be eligible for the program and the eligibility would be dependent on each individual’s situation, not the combined income of the two individuals.

The new IBR option goes into effect July 1, 2009. Members of the Class of 2009 become eligible within two months of graduation.

Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees

In addition to repayment reduction under the law, students entering public service are also eligible for loan forgiveness. Upon entering full-time public service, once a borrower makes 120 qualifying loan payments on a Federal Direct loan (including Federal Direct Consolidation loans), the unpaid balance remaining including the accumulated interest on the loan is forgiven. The worker must remain in public service for the entire ten year period and the 120 payments timeframe but there is no limit to the amount to be forgiven.

The time period for public service is retroactive to October 1, 2007 meaning those borrowers who have already elected public service may begin counting the ten year period at that point. Some restrictions occur for those who had already consolidated their loans and those restrictions may move the eligible period forward to July 1, 2008.

In the case of loan forgiveness, only Federal Direct loans (including Federal Direct Consolidation loans) are eligible. Payments made on federal loans in the Guaranteed (or FFEL) program are not eligible for the loan forgiveness aspect (only eligible for IBR).

A Major Step Forward

The new law represents an enormous positive development for those students who have accumulated significant federal college debt yet have limited income. To learn more about the program and examine the calculation process visit:

• Georgetown Professor Phil Shrag’s law review article detailing IBR and Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees (pdf).
• The IBR monthly repayment calculator.
• Federal direct consolidation loan information and applications.

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Using a Credit Card to Pay College Tuition – Say It Ain’t So!

Posted on Apr. 26th 2009 by Amelia

There are those news stories that really give you pause. And we are not talking about those AOL headliners mind you, the ones like “NASA astronaut insists government covering up evidence of alien visits.”

What we are talking about is the latest news regarding college students and credit cards. According to a study from Sallie Mae, many students are now using credit cards for almost all of their college expenses, including tuition.

Talk about giving one pause – we might have expected students charging books and fees on their card. But we could never imagine anyone in their right mind putting their tuition on one, not with those cards carrying anything from 14.99 to 18.99 percent interest rates.

The Numbers

Today, Sallie Mae notes that more than 84 percent of undergraduates have at least one credit card. Half of all college students carry four or more cards with the current average at 4.6 per student.

An incredible 92 percent of all undergraduates with a credit card charged textbooks, school supplies or other education expenses. College seniors led the way with an average credit card debt of $4,100.

According to the report, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends, 2009,” students charged an average of $2,200 in direct educational expenses per person, more than double the $942 amount from four years ago. Of those charging educational expenses, roughly 30 percent actually placed tuition on a credit card as well.

Terrible Choice

While many students were using the cards for convenience, the overall findings of the study pointed to college students using credit cards to live beyond their means. In fact, 82 percent of the students incurred finance charges by carrying a monthly balance.

In a clear indication that credit management was a huge problem, roughly 40 percent indicated they had charged items even though they knew they did not have the funds to pay the bill.

Given the going interest rates and monthly charges of as much as $30.00 for transactions beyond credit limits, the idea that students would place their tuition charges on their credit card demonstrates a real lack of knowledge regarding how credit cards work.

There is no doubt that credit cards offer great convenience. No need to fill out the FAFSA forms and no need to complete additional paperwork to apply for a loan. Add in the ease of online payments and the process is indeed extremely easy.

But credit card interest rates of 15 percent are more than double the current rate for Federal Stafford loans (6.8 percent). Even private loans, considered the least advantageous of loan options carry current rates of only 8 percent.

The result is that credit card users are overpaying for college big time. Unless a student pays off his or her card in full, by placing these charges on a credit card he or she is paying far more than the list price for books, fees and tuition.

College, Expensive Enough

There is no doubt that college expenses are extremely taxing – however, students should be aware that using credit cards to cover these costs only makes the costs of college less manageable in the long run.

First and foremost, students need to build a budget ahead of time that tallies the cost of tuition, books, fees and travel. Once the need is determined, students must pursue the most advantageous funding help available.

That means completing the FAFSA, the standard federal form that is the ticket to potential grants, scholarships and federal loans. Filling out the FAFSA form does take time but it is a must for any serious student.

Even if students do not qualify for grants or scholarships, the first credit option everyone should pursue is the Federal loan program. Simply stated, they represent the best borrowing bargain.

Only after completing the federal application process should students pursue the more expensive private loan option. Such loans carry higher interest rates and other processing fees may be assessed depending on a student’s credit standing.

Still, private loans are a bargain compared to the fees and rates associated with credit cards. Unless a student has a wealthy friend or relative paying that credit card bill for them, placing one’s tuition on a credit card is a recipe for disaster.

In fact, it is as preposterous to us as that NASA astronaut claiming our government is hiding evidence of intergalactic visitors.

Editors note: The full study is available in PDF format online.

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Keeping Low Income Students Out of College

Posted on Oct. 18th 2007 by Amelia

Talk to the Hand.

Barriers to Higher Education are Alive and Well

The Higher Education Act of 1965 launched some of the first financial programs aimed at the support of low-income and disadvantaged students. Since then, dozens of federal and state scholarship and grant programs have been developed to assist the same. A popular theory remains: more and more free money will put more disadvantaged and minority students into college and solve the problem of low college attendance rates among high poverty students. Regardless of the money higher education continues to throw at low-income students, the numbers actually attending college and staying in college remain low. If money is not the solution, then what’s the problem?

The Problem

There are significant numbers of public funds already available for low-income students. Add to this the increasing trend among elite and reputable colleges and universities to spring for full tuition scholarships for academically eligible disadvantaged students and a more relevant question becomes: “With the money available already for low-income and minority students, why do so many fail to earn a college degree?” What circumstances beyond the financial, continue to impede the educational roadway of the disadvantaged student, and why does higher education, at large, repeat the same ineffective gestures in its quest for the solution?

Dream of College Access for All Americans

Capitol Hill.President Lyndon B. Johnson dreamed of building our country into one in which “a high school senior [could] apply to any college or any university in any of the 50 States and not be turned away because his family is poor…” He further declared, “Education in this day and age is a necessity.”1 He made these statements on the same day he signed the Higher Education Act of 1965 into legislation. If higher education was deemed a necessity in 1965, then it has become critical by today’s standards.

For the most part President Johnson’s dream has become a reality, but outside of the financial, some of the same barriers to higher education remain:

  • Schools that fail to adequately prepare students for college.
  • Outside influences and expectations, especially those of parents/family and educators.
  • Psychological factors.

Secondary Schools Fail to Prepare Students for College

Does the Student Qualify?

Regardless of the money available to low-income students, in many cases students fail to even qualify for college admission. Perhaps, as some critics of the current system argue, where career and guidance counselors proactive in “talking up” college as soon as middle school, kids particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds would incorporate college goals into their futures much more naturally than when career and education goals are thought inconsequential.

Educators, including teachers, counselors, and principals, simply have low expectations of disadvantaged students, say some proponents of education reform. An overall neglect of college preparation routinely takes place at most minority and high poverty high schools. The perception that disadvantaged students will either not make it into college, have little interest in higher education, or be unworthy of the time spent to get them prepared, are all subversive and deeply damaging perceptions. At best this disregard is a primitive throwback to the same circumstances President Johnson sought to bury.

The Non-Existent College Prep Curricula

Average, college bound high school seniors are alarmingly unprepared for the rigors of college academics, but an even more disturbing population of low-income and minority students seem to avoid college altogether or possess test scores and academic records that have put many in higher education on alert. In fact, the circumstances renew debate over the quality of public school systems: “Nine in ten high school graduates from families earning more than $80,000 attend college by the time they are 24, compared to only six in ten from families earning less than $33,000.”2

Research proves that many of the so-called high school assessment tests “bear little resemblance to the work [students] are expected to do in college.” Despite the best hopes of those students that do possess college degree expectations, preparation for such is sorely lacking—students again and again clearly “lack crucial information on applying to college and on succeeding academically once they get there.”3 College administrators report that most students only think they are academically prepared; the sobering reality is that the so-called college prep curriculum they slogged through in high school was not college level work, after all.

Ironically, this lack of preparedness is the ailment of many average high school grads, and not exclusive to low-income students. But evidence shows that “a greater percentage of low-income students are marginally qualified or unqualified for admission at four-year institutions.”4

And college prep includes providing students the appropriate information with which to pursue college, including college search, financial aid and scholarships, and admissions processes. But in many disadvantaged schools the information is not disseminated, not included as a natural progression in education.

Financial AidFor students interested in pursuing college the process becomes a bit like fumbling in the dark: “many low-income college students need aid and do not know how to apply for federal or state assistance.”5 Low-income students often opt for a community college—open access and remedial coursework, and schedule flexibility that allows students to work part time and carry on normal family responsibilities.

High Scores vs. Student Success and the “Push-Out” Phenomenon

High schools across the country have new standards by which to adhere. Accountability in secondary education may play a significant part in the collegiate success or failure of certain students. Since the inception of No Child Left Behind the reliance on test-based schools has split students down the middle—in some areas. Students are either an asset or a deficit to a school.6

In New York City, test scores served to define a dispensable archipelago of students most likely to fail. Students at disadvantaged schools throughout the region were so overlooked that rogue administrators and educators systematically amputated from the system whole populations of underachievers for the “betterment” of the whole. The plan was simple: “push out” students with poor grades and low test scores and test score averages would look a lot better.7

The Teacher Factor

Teacher.Does a high quality teacher make a difference to a low-income and/or disadvantaged student, and if so, why? A growing body of evidence shows that teachers do matter. But studies have begun to prove an alarming trend: “The very children who most need strong teachers are assigned, on average, to teachers with less experience, less education, and less skill than those who teach other children.”8

A study that surveyed three Midwest revealed consistent data proving that in most low income schools teachers were much more likely to be “inexperienced, out-of-field, and uncertified.” Furthermore, as school enrollment of low-income students increased, the population of teachers hired grew increasingly inexperienced.9 Most studies declare five years of teaching experience as the dividing line between experienced and inexperienced.

The less experienced the teacher the less likely he or she is to be qualified or motivated to guide disadvantaged students in wise career and education choices. Surprisingly, teacher surveys have also proven that on the whole they, too, tend to have an unsure grasp on the college preparatory process.10

The qualities most valued and effective in high-quality teachers include:

  • Over five years experience teaching within their specialty.
  • Teachers able to modify methods on-the-fly and in direct response to student abilities.
  • Teachers with degrees from reputable institutions.

Contemporary findings such as these provide more leverage for school systems, and lawmakers when it comes time to plan teacher distribution models designed to serve future generations of students.

Can Experienced Teachers Get Disadvantaged Students to College?

Data has been culled from a crew of challenged high schools, turned-high-performing, in various regions of the U.S. that proves high quality teachers can make a significant difference with at-risk youth. In every high performing school surveyed almost half the student bodies were from high minority-high poverty backgrounds. And in every case the population of college bound students had increased above the national average.

What factors set high performing high schools with diverse student bodies well above others in nurturing college ready graduates?

  • High quality and experienced teachers able to adjust methods to suit students.
  • A very relevant and challenging college preparatory curriculum that surpasses state requirements.
  • Unlimited access to academic tutors and career advisors.11

Part of the goal of the Higher Education Act of 1965 was to promote improvement in high minority/high poverty schools, including attracting more experienced teachers. Contrary to some, both these factors—schools and teachers—continue to figure prominently in the educational futures of students.

College Admission Requirements Detrimental to Disadvantaged Students

Whether high school or college, the fact is that reputation, high marks, selectivity ratings, and even cost of tuition, all constitute factors that conspire to create an institution’s reputation. Ratings and credentials have become a beacon for student business, a means to market and advertise a college to expanding populations of prospective students.

US News and World Report.

The annual U.S. News and World Report: America’s Best Colleges has become a much-anticipated publication.


New criticism, though, from college administrators aims to downplay the relevancy of some of the ratings, which many say have nothing to do with a good college education. Why so much fuss over ratings? The report has been widely dubbed the college “beauty contest,” and the higher colleges and universities have driven ratings the better their business. But in the process, some pieces of the academic puzzle have been forsaken, like some populations of students.

Ratings Drive Business, Which In Turn Drives Up Admission Reqs

Colleges and universities that rank well in the U.S. News report seek to be considered “selective.” This kind of marketing seems to make business more brisk, but it also makes it challenging to attract a large minority or low-income student population. In order to make a college accessible for the majority of low-income and disadvantaged students, admission requirements must be relaxed.

The traditional metrics of admission include SAT scores and GPA, precisely the type of measurements most low-income students suffer by. As we explored above, it’s not their responsibility—educators have been loath to provide the proper guidance and nurture—and, besides, SAT and GPA are rarely accurate indications of academic worthiness. This then is why a growing stable of college administrators is taking aim at the notoriously exclusive annual ratings race.12

SAT.Compared to the relatively small number of college administrators backing away from the ratings game, there are plenty that believe in its promise. For instance, a strong cadre of schools believes the marketing theory that overpriced products and services attract buyers and consumers because high price implies high quality. This then is why tuitions are hiked and SAT and GPA requirements inflated. Yet again, disadvantaged students are unable to reach certain institutions where, ironically, money is likely to exist for their education.

When Admission Hikes Purposely Dismiss Disadvantaged Students

Another strategy behind ramped up admission requirements seeks to purposely define the splinter group of underachievers and those students with low test scores and make it impossible for them to essentially clog the way of those students without academic challenges. Low income and minority students with low SAT scores and low GPAs “will be steered” to the state’s community colleges.

Simultaneously more college prep programs are being built into the state’s public school system. Students will now have a system in place able to alert them should their academics fall below realistic first year college goals.13

Outside Influences Offer Most Resistance to College Life

Besides money and academic challenge, many low-income and disadvantaged students face challenges much more murky to middle and upper income, white Americans. In some cases the influence of parents and family are more profound than more mainstream issues.14

Parental Influence

ParentalConsider the idea that many minority and low-income students come from first generation families, meaning no one else has yet gone to college. For many average American students, the dream of a college degree is fueled over the years by parents. When that drive is not there, other priorities may take precedence, such as job, finance and family.

It’s not that parents of first gen college students have no desire to see their children succeed, even go to college, but most are unable to provide the type of support necessary to bolster a fresh and, perhaps, disenfranchised college newbie.

Cultural Perceptions of Debt

Financial aid experts may also have discovered another roadblock—“cultural aversion to debt.” Over the years the financial aid needs of middle and upper income students have risen, but statistics have shown little or no increase in the student loan debt among low-income and ethnic minority student groups, which “calls into question the effectiveness of student loans in aiding low-income populations.” Studies strongly suggest that minorities are “more sensitive to price and less willing to use educational loans to pay for college when making their college decisions.”15

Tuition sticker shock may be a similar deterrent. Even though academically talented low-income students may qualify to enroll in elite universities where the ability to prove a certain level of disadvantage buys them a free ride, only a fraction of those actually eligible partake of the opportunity. The scholarships from institutions like Harvard and Princeton are not just in place for altruistic purposes. These “white-bread” institutions want to diversify and offering money for disadvantaged students seems a good idea. Surprisingly, a much larger wellspring of academically qualified low-income students is out there. SAT scores prove the numbers,16 but where are they?

Educator Expectation Matters, Too

ExpectationsThe nation’s low-income students, including those with academic fortitude and those dubbed low-achievers, may share common bonds: many face familial and cultural obstacles, but do they also face low educator expectations? Studies have already measured the effect of educator expectation on the college outcomes of low-income, minority students and found alarming numbers of low-quality teachers and counselors with little hope for students in lower income brackets.

Teachers and advisors acting out of their personal beliefs and stereotypes may be unable to provide the unbiased guidance underserved students require to get them to the doorstep of a college campus, whether it be a community college or one of the elite universities.17

What Then if Not Money?

WonderingConsidering the obstacles discussed above, are there further psychological impacts? If I am a student from a low-income household in which neither of my parents attended college, isn’t it likely that a college degree will not be a main priority in my life? And if I am academically talented, would I not feel out of place and disenfranchised on a Harvard campus even if my education were fully funded?

If I overheard teachers in my high school complaining about their jobs and saying that many of the students will be lucky to make it to graduation, much less college, would I not doubt my teachability, my worth as a student?

Harvard can roll out its red carpet and dangle full scholarships ‘til the cows come home, but what really eats away at the collegiate futures of low-income, minority students—talented or not—has little to do with money.


  1. LBJ for Kids, accessed September 3, 2007,
  2. “Harvard Announces New Initiative to Aimed at Economic Barriers to College,” Harvard University Gazette, February 28, 2004, accessed September 5, 2007,
  3. Rooney, Megan, “High Schools Fail to Prepare Many Students for College, Stanford Study Says,” March 3, 2003, accessed September 4, 2007,
  4. Andrea Venezia, Michael Kirst, Anthony Antonio, Betraying the College Dream: How Disconnected K-12 Schools and Postsecondary Education Systems Undermine Student Aspirations, 2003, accessed September 4, 2007,
  5. Kirst, Michael, “Betraying the College Dream in America,” The College Puzzle, August 21, 2007, accessed September 4, 2007,
  6. Beveridge, Andrew, “Counting Drop Outs,” Gotham Gazette, August 2003, accessed September 4, 2007,
  7. Beveridge, Andrew, Gotham Gazette.
  8. Heather Peske, Kati Haycock, Teaching Inequality: How Poor and Minority Students are Shortchanged on Teacher Quality, The Education Trust, June 2006, accessed September 2, 2007,
  9. Peski, Haycock, The Education Trust.
  10. Venezia, Kirst, Antonio, Betraying the College Dream
  11. “Preparing All High School Students for College and Work: What High-Performing Schools are Teaching,” ACT, February 23, 2005, accessed August 30, 2007,
  12. “U.S. News College Rankings Debated,” The Online News Hour (transcript), PBS, August 20, 2007, accessed September 5, 2007,
  13. Tresaugue, Matthew, “UT Campuses Will Raise Admission Standards,” University of Houston, May 10, 2007, accessed September 5, 2007,
  14. Szelenyi, Katalin, “Minority Student Retention and Academic Achievement in Community Colleges,” 2004, accessed August 29, 2007,
  15. Cultural Barriers to Incurring Debt, ECMC Group Foundation, 2003, accessed September 3, 2007,
  16. “Large Numbers of Highly Qualified, Low-Income Students Are Not Applying to Harvard and Other Highly Selective Schools,” Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 2006, accessed August 26, 2007,
  17. Patricia George and Rosa Aronson, How Do Educators’ Cultural Belief Systems Affect Underserved Students’ Pursuit of Postsecondary Education?” Pathways to College Network, 2003, accessed September 3, 2007,
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