July 07, 2014 by Web Team
The U.S. Department of Education plans to release its final "gainful employment" rule in October 2014. The draft rule, circulated by the department earlier this year, proposed cutting off access to federal financial aid for career-education programs (many of which are at for-profit colleges) whose graduates have high student loan default rates or high levels of student loan debt relative to their incomes. It is essential that the department adopt a final rule with strong protections for students.
During the month of May we asked students to submit their stories as public comments on the department’s draft “gainful employment” rule. Many of the student victims who have been exploited and defrauded by career-education programs offered compelling evidence of the need for stronger protections. Here’s what some of them had to say:
July 02, 2014 by Latasha Myers
Each year millions of Americans depend on Pell Grants to help make college affordable. Research has shown that need-based grant aid, like Pell Grants, increases college enrollment among low- and moderate-income students. But with college costs skyrocketing over the last three decades, Pell Grants have lost much of their purchasing power. In the 1980s, Pell Grants covered 77 percent of the cost of college at a four-year public college for low-income students. Today that share has dropped significantly to only 31 percent of the cost.
June 05, 2014 by Clarise McCants
Last week I AM NOT A LOAN hosted our second Twitter Chat on What College #AccessMeans. Joined by Young Invincibles, USSA (U.S. Students Association) and Restore AccessUVa we talked about how those most affected by the college affordability crisis, students, can take action on their campus and in their states to stop state disinvestment from higher education and hold colleges accountable for keeping costs low.
May 23, 2014 by Clarise McCants
Last week, I AM NOT A LOAN joined forces with Student Voice to host a conversation on what college #AccessMeans to those battling the college affordability and debt crises. Using the hashtags #StuVoice and #AccessMeans, students, recent grads, and activists took to Twitter to share their story, inspire others to do the same, and talk about ideas for action.
Once the clock struck 8:30 p.m. ET and the chat started, advocates jumped right in and started telling us what #AccessMeans. Many tweeted that #AccessMeans being able to follow their dreams so that they could break through barriers such as being a first-generation student, being student from a family with limited economic means, or growing up in an underserved community.
May 02, 2014 by Clarise McCants
Healthy, intelligent, and honest discussion can go a long way toward sustaining a movement and breaking down barriers to move mountains. But often, because of everyday-life-craziness, we sometimes forget to take the time to just talk to each other. It’s easy to get stuck in our silos and forget about all of the other people fighting in the college affordability movement. That’s why we’re excited to announce a series of Twitter chats focused on what college #AccessMeans.
March 28, 2014 by Latasha Myers
Google Hangout With CFPB hosted by Higher Education Advocates Provides Tips on Managing Student Debt
On Tuesday, Young Invincibles and StudentDebtCrisis.org hosted a Google Hangout on the “Top 5 Tips for Tackling Your Student Debt.” Rohit Chopra, of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, offered some of his best tips for managing student loan debt. In case you missed the great conversation, here’s a brief recap of some of the advice offered:
March 25, 2014 by Guest Blogger: Jennifer Wang
Some members of Congress are trying to change the rules on how the federal government budgets for student loans. They call the new system “Fair Value Accounting” (FVA). Sounds reasonable, right?
Not so fast.
March 18, 2014 by Latasha Myers
In the last 70 years, annual tuition and fee growth at four-year, public colleges has exceeded the rise of inflation. One of the primary reasons for rapid increases in college tuition is the decline in state funding for higher education. This trend of state disinvestment needs to be reversed, and it could be if the federal government, states, and institutions work together to share responsibility for college affordability.
Although some states have been taking a different approach. Legislation has popped up in a number states (Michigan, among the latest) that entices students with a sales pitch: zero down on college tuition now and pay it back later. What they leave out is that students may end up paying more back later. Even then, the main problem with these so-called “Pay it Forward” (PIF) proposals are that they don’t address what students really need, which is for the cost of college to be affordable from the outset.
February 25, 2014 by Clarise McCants
Since we launched the #AccessMeans campaign last month, we've received dozens of photo submissions, hundreds of comments, and a host of tweets all telling us what #AccessMeans in education today. We're inspired and amazed by the conversation you all have started and wanted to share some of these insightful reminders of what real #AccessMeans, should be, and hopefully will be.
February 24, 2014 by Web Team
Cha-ching! According to a new study, higher education endowment investment returns averaged an 11.7 percent gain in fiscal year 2013 compared with a decrease of 0.3 percent the previous year. There are now some 82 colleges and universities with endowments in excess of $1 billion each.
The wealthiest institutions of higher education — the 82 with over $1 billion in endowment assets each — spent out an average of only 4.8 percent of their endowments last year. That’s low given that all other foundations are required to spend out 5 percent as a condition of retaining tax-exempt status and many spend far more. Higher ed gets an exception. A difference of 0.2 percent may not sound like much, but if just the richest 82 institutions of higher education spent out 5 percent of their endowments last year, some $600 million more in student financial aid could have been made available — without costing taxpayers a penny. Think about how many lives could be changed.
February 19, 2014 by Latasha Myers
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report revealing that the federal government stands to make $66 billion in profits from student loans that originated between 2007 and 2012.
Soon following, a group of nine Senators strongly responded to the report, advocating for policies that address student loan debt, loan refinancing, and lower interest rates. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), states, "This is obscene. The government should not be making $66 billion in profits off the backs of our students. The report issued today reinforces what we already knew - instead of investing in our children and their futures, the government is squeezing profits out of our young people and adding to the mountain of debt they will spend their lives struggling to repay."
February 10, 2014 by Latasha Myers
Do you have a mortgage or car loan and wish to refinance to a lower interest rate? Congratulations, you have that consumer protection. But do you know who doesn’t? Student loan borrowers. Luckily, new legislation soon to be introduced in the U.S. Senate may change this.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently announced her plans to introduce a bill that will allow students to refinance their federal student loans to the lower interest rates under the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013. A measure that has the potential to save student loan borrowers thousands of dollars over the course of a loan’s life.
February 04, 2014 by Latasha Myers
There is exciting news in the Badger State. Wisconsin policymakers are attempting to lower student loan debt.
As reported by One Wisconsin Now, the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act (SB 375) introduced by state senators Dave Hansen and Cory Mason would:
February 02, 2014 by Latasha Myers
With the recent good news that the University of Virginia (U.Va) has once again prioritized financial aid for its lowest-income students, a promising bill in Virginia has emerged that will make a larger, statewide commitment to college affordability.
Introduced by Virginia Delegate Rob Krupicka, Virginia College for All (formerly, the Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program) would offer no-loan guarantees to low-income students and interest free loans to students of middle-income families who graduate within 150 percent of the time to standard completion (6 years for a traditional four year college and 3 years for a two year college).
January 15, 2014 by Web Team
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan moderated a special one-hour Twitter chat to gather feedback from students and other concerned Americans about college access and affordability.
January 09, 2014 by Clarise McCants
Student voice is important. And, it’s needed in conversations on what to do about the country’s college affordability crisis. Amplifying those voices is why I AM NOT A LOAN exists. So we’re definitely excited about the U.S. Department of Education’s announcement to let these voices be heard through a platform we use to communicate with students every day—Twitter.
January 03, 2014 by Latasha Myers
A report shows that student loan debt has increased 10.5 percent in just one year. According to The Project on Student Debt at The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS), from 2011 to 2012, average student loan debt rose from $26,600 to 29,400.
January 02, 2014 by Clarise McCants
December 19, 2013 by Clarise McCants
Libby Nelson from Politico reports that Senate Democrats are proposing some major changes to student loans – among them include “forcing colleges to pay the Education Department if they have high default rates and allowing student debt to be wiped out in bankruptcy” and “calling to revive a dormant grant program for poor students that could give the federal government more influence over state higher education policy.”
December 18, 2013 by Latasha Myers
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a new rule that puts the seven largest non-bank student loan servicers under its supervisory jurisdiction. Student loan servicers are third-party companies such as Sallie Mae, Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Nelnet Servicing and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency that manage borrowers account and process their monthly payments. Under this new rule, they will join banks that service student loans in being regulated by the CFPB.
December 17, 2013 by Mary Nguyen Barry
Earlier this month, the Daily Progress assessed that the University of Virginia (UVa) is “at the mercy of forces beyond its control” and that escalating costs of UVa’s financial aid program, AccessUVa, “cannot be sustained.”
Brendan Wynn, a student at the University who has been outspoken about the cuts to AccessUVa and one of the leaders of the Restore AccessUVa movement, has hit back with a letter to the editor, which was published over the weekend
December 13, 2013 by Web Team
The U.S. Department of Education sat down with higher education experts to continue debating “Gainful Employment,” a rule that looks at the successes and failings of career education programs. The Education Trust’s Lynn Jennings answers important questions about the rule.
December 11, 2013 by Clarise McCants
Last week at 250 Broadway, NYC, New York Students Rising were protesting outside of Citibank to protest a card system that allows Wall Street to skim off of CUNY students.
December 05, 2013 by Clarise McCants
In light of the work we are doing to reverse UVa’s decision to cut funds from it’s financial aid program, AccessUVa, it is worth highlighting this Forbes article. This piece sheds light on the various factors and stressors that affect low-income students at colleges.
December 03, 2013 by Latasha Myers
Student loan debt is rapidly approaching $1.2 trillion. What’s worse is that, with little reliable data available about the impact of student loan debt, we can't assess the real effect it's having on the economy. Regardless, we do know that student debt isn't good for sustaining a growing nation.
Freshly-minted, young graduates should be leaving college ready for the workforce and to help feed our thriving economy. Instead, burdened with high amounts of student debt, they usually don't have the extra cash to thrust back into the economy.
December 02, 2013 by Abbie Lieberman
George Mason University recently hosted the U.S. Department of Education’s second of four college affordability forums to discuss the Obama administration’s proposed college ratings system. At the event, students expressed the same concerns to the department that thousands of current and prospective college students, like me, have across the nation: Students want more data to assess our financial future before enrolling in college and taking on massive amounts of student loan debt. To start, these data need to include information about the net price of college, the average incomes of graduates in different fields, and data on internship placement rates.
December 02, 2013 by Clarise McCants
At the same time that we have been urging the federal government to fix the student loan crisis, it has been making money from our loans—and lots of it. Recent numbers tell us that the U.S. Department of Education has cashed in $42.5 billion of profit from federal student loan payments last year. Meanwhile, national student debt levels have risen to $1.2 trillion and education funding has been reduced to its lowest level since 2001. Instead of profiteering on the backs of students, the government can and should do more to help fix the student debt crisis and ensure college is affordable.
November 29, 2013 by Clarise McCants
While you’re searching for deals on a TV or bread maker, don’t forget to look into what kind of deals you can get on your student loan payments.
November 27, 2013 by Clarise McCants
Although students were protesting in silence a mere 12 days ago outside of the Board of Visitors meeting, the message they sent to the board was loud, clear, and heard by all: Students at UVa will not stand by quietly while the Board cuts important programs like AccessUVa, a program at the university that represented a clear commitment to socioeconomic diversity.
November 15, 2013 by Meredith Welch
When the University of Virginia, one of the wealthiest public colleges in the nation, cut its financial aid program over the summer, students and alumni spoke out against such regressive actions. With a $5 billion endowment that has more than doubled over the past decade, why would the University need to cut grant aid to poor students?
November 14, 2013 by Mary Nguyen Barry
The University of Virginia’s Student Council co-hosted a panel on campus with United Students for Undergraduate Socioeconomic Diversity. The panel was made up of a number of informed students and high-level administrators, who discussed concerns that the students had with the University's commitment to low-income students -- particularly with changes made to the school’s no-loan policy for low-income students, AccessUVa.
November 12, 2013 by Clarise McCants
Recently, the University of Virginia, one of the wealthiest public colleges in the nation, decided to cut funding for it’s financial aid program, AccessUVa. Those primarily affected will be low-income students, who have, in the past, been able to attend a well-respected university like UVA, study abroad, obtain additional degrees, and give back to society -- all because AccessUVa took a chance on them. Here's Shaun's story.
November 08, 2013 by Web Team
The sales pitch is enticing: Let students go to college for "free" and ask them to pay later by taxing a percentage of their incomes once they have jobs. The money coming in from graduates, then pays "forward," covering college costs for current students and alleviating the fear of debt that keeps many college-qualified students from even applying and that discourages college graduates from pursuing careers that may not have high salaries.
November 07, 2013 by Mary Nguyen Barry
Daniel’s Story: “Diminishing AccessUVa Will Further Disenfranchise A Dire Segment of the Population”
Recently, the University of Virginia, one of the wealthiest public colleges in the nation, decided to cut funding for it’s financial aid program, AccessUVa. Those primarily affected will be low-income students, who have, in the past, been able to attend a well-respected university like UVA, study abroad, obtain additional degrees, and give back to society -- all because AccessUVa took a chance on them. Here's Daniel's story.
November 06, 2013 by Latasha Myers
College costs are on the rise as state and federal governments are financially disinvesting in higher education. In Utah, for example, over the past five years college costs rose more quickly than in any other state. Utah’s tuition increased by a whopping 30 percent, that’s more than the already large national average of 27 percent.
November 05, 2013 by Clarise McCants
George Washington University found itself in hot water recently when the college newspaper reported that the University has been lying about it's admission policy being need-blind.
October 29, 2013 by Latasha Myers
Last week, our friends over at Student Debt Crisis announced the winners of the #OutWithStudentDebt Video Project. The winners of the three videos are being awarded $500 each -- a sum which represents the average monthly student loan bill.
October 29, 2013 by Clarise McCants
Recently, the University of Virginia, one of the wealthiest public colleges in the nation, decided to cut funding for it’s financial aid program, AccessUVa. Those primarily affected will be low-income students, who have, in the past, been able to attend a well-respected university like UVA, study abroad, obtain additional degrees, and give back to society -- all because AccessUVa took a chance on them.
That’s why the Board of Visitors’ recent decision to cut AccessUVa funding is a mistake. So many students are able to give back because of AccessUVa. Read Shayna's story.
October 28, 2013 by Latasha Myers
As college tuition and fees continue to rise, more students are finding that they have to turn to private loans - which are usually tagged with higher interest rates and less consumer protections than federal loans - in order to finance their degree. As of July 2012, about 850,000 private loans were in default.
This new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), summarizes roughly 3,800 complaints on private student loans received from October 1st, 2012 to September 30th, 2013. The most common complaints reported by students were having difficulties making advanced payments on their loans
October 22, 2013 by Latasha Myers
Participant Media has helped produce “99 Percent: The Occupy Wall Street Collaboration Film”, which details the gripping accounts of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Student debt-- something 1.2 trillion of the 99% are facing-- is a main focus of the documentary. It’s a must-see film telling the story of how disenfranchised youth, many of whom have debts they can’t pay, created a powerful voice for the 99 percent.
October 21, 2013 by Clarise McCants
Graduating from college sure was exciting…until you remembered you had to pay back those loans.
October 16, 2013 by Clarise McCants
Nothing seems to be going well in Washington. The government has been shut down for 16 days without end. To make matters worse, the U.S. could default on its debt tomorrow if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling. A default would be a financial nightmare, driving the U.S. into uncharted territories that could harm the entire world.. Interest rates on most types of loans are projected to skyrocket. And what that means for those of us with student loans is critical.
October 13, 2013 by Clarise McCants
Three Members of Virginia’s House of Delegates Co-Sign & Send Letter to UVA Vice Rector on AccessUVA
Last week, three members of the Virginia House of Delegates -- Rob Krupicka, Scott Surovell, and Alfonso Lopez -- co-signed a letter to UVa’s Vice Rector, William H. Goodwin Jr. to “strongly encourage a reassessment of the Board of Visitors’ decision to scale back the AccessUVa financial aid program.”
October 10, 2013 by Latasha Myers
A coalition of groups are calling upon the state and federal policymakers to increase need-based student aid as well as state support for public institutions, and nix ideas like “Pay It Forward”, which will shift the cost of higher education even further onto students and families by restructuring how it is that they will be paying for their education once they graduate.
October 09, 2013 by Clarise McCants
Recently, the University of Virginia, one of the wealthiest public colleges in the nation, decided to cut funding for it’s financial aid program, AccessUVa. Those primarily affected will be low-income students, who have, in the past, been able to attend a well-respected university like UVA, study abroad, obtain additional degrees, and give back to society -- all because AccessUVa took a chance on them. Here's Natalie's story.
October 04, 2013 by Tyler Tripp
Public Service Loan Forgiveness: A mysterious phrase in which few college graduates with student loans are familiar. Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF, is a federal loan forgiveness program designed to aid individuals working in public service, including teachers, firefighters, local government officials, and non-profit employees. This program is designed only for those who borrowed through Direct Loans (federal loans) and not from private lenders, such as banks. Upon registering for PSLF, each individual establishes an Income-Based Repayment plan (IBR), which allows you to limit your monthly loan repayment based on your level of income. Those with high student debt relative to their income will receive a lower IBR. Through this program, each person will gradually pay off their student debt through their individualized repayment plan for ten years, after which your remaining loans are forgiven.
October 04, 2013 by Web Team
Recently, the University of Virginia, one of the wealthiest public colleges in the nation, decided to cut funding for it’s financial aid program, AccessUVa. Those primarily affected will be low-income students, who have, in the past, been able to attend a well-respected university like UVA, study abroad, obtain additional degrees, and give back to society -- all because AccessUVa took a chance on them. Read Samantha's story.
October 03, 2013 by Latasha Myers
Led by Student Debt Crisist, a number of groups have decided to collaborate on the #OutWithStudentDebt Video Project – an initiative designed to help shed the stigma of shame and embarrassment that comes along with the burden of student loan debt.
October 02, 2013 by Clarise McCants
Student debt seems inevitable these days. Everyone knows what it's like. But we also know how not to let it ruin your life.
September 25, 2013 by Clarise McCants
During the Board of Visitors meetings, students spoke out against the board’s shameful decision to cut funding from AccessUVa, the university’s financial aid program, and its no loan policy for low-income students. Students spoke about how AccessUVa impacted their lives and what the long-term impact of this decision could look like. The concern many students share is that UVA - an institution with a reputation for lacking diversity - will limit access to students who look like them.
September 25, 2013 by Clarise McCants
The “truth in cost” approach, recently announced by Converse College and Ashland University (and the subject of this blog post), is in line with President Obama’s plan for a college rating system that would help families get a clearer picture of how much a college costs relative to its quality. While that’s a win for transparency, it neglects to address the larger issue of college affordability.
September 24, 2013 by Clarise McCants
Catherine, who graduated from the University of Virginia in 2010 and was an AccessUVa recipient shares here story with I AM NOT A LOAN.
September 17, 2013 by Latasha Myers
UVa’s Vice Rector is Out of Touch With Reality: Low-Income Students Should Not be Crippled with Debt
As many of you may know, early in August, the University of Virginia’s (UVa) Board of Visitor (BOV) – the governing board for the institution - voted to slash overall funding for AccessUVa, the school’s financial aid program, and completely eradicate the no-loan policy for low-income students in the program. Vice Rector of the Board, William Goodwin, justified the cuts by proclaiming that low income students shouldn’t get an advantage wealthier students don’t have, “they all graduate with the same degree”, as reported in this Daily Progress article.
September 17, 2013 by Clarise McCants
Hannah of UVA's Class of 2010 shares her story, and explains why the Board of Visitors’ recent decision to cut AccessUVa funding is a mistake.
September 15, 2013 by Web Team
Recently, the University of Virginia, one of the wealthiest public colleges in the nation, decided to cut funding for it’s financial aid program, AccessUVa. Those primarily affected will be low-income students, who have, in the past, been able to attend a well-respected university like UVA, study abroad, obtain additional degrees, and give back to society -- all because AccessUVa took a chance on them. That’s why the Board of Visitors’ recent decision to cut AccessUVa funding is a mistake. So many students are able to give back because of AccessUVa; and some have shared their stories with us. Here’s one we’re sharing with you
September 11, 2013 by Clarise McCants
This summer, the I AM NOT A LOAN campaign fought numerous proposals claiming to be long-term “solutions” for college affordability. Most really were just long-term disasters that would only make things worse for students. In the end, students got stuck with the Student Loan Certainty Act, a “compromise” by which the government stands to make billions off the backs of students. The deal lowered interest rates for subsidized Stafford loan borrowers now, but will also allow them to rise way too high in the long run—making it even harder for students to repay their loans. Even worse, the interest rate cap is higher for graduate students; and they are speaking out.
September 09, 2013 by
As the campaign to restore funding for AccessUVa (the University of Virginia's financial aid program) turns up the heat this week, I AM NOT A LOAN will be posting stories and comments from those who have benefited from the program directly. Today's story is by Eugene Resnick, who graduated from the University of Virginia in 2010
August 29, 2013 by Mary Nguyen Barry
Like many students, my family couldn’t afford to pay high tuition costs when I was ready to go to college. Facing the possibility of accumulating mountains of debt at other schools, I chose the University of Virginia because its AccessUVa financial aid program gave working-class students like me the chance to attend and graduate debt-free. Thanks to AccessUVa’s no-loan policy, I graduated from University of Virginia with very little debt and was able to go straight to graduate school.
August 29, 2013 by Latasha Myers
A lot of people may wonder why those of us not affiliated with the University of Virginia or a Virginia resident care about the bad decision by the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors to cut funding to their AccessUVa program; a program that kept debt low for their students. We care because the fight for college affordability must take on any and every initiative that keeps students' debt-free.
August 27, 2013 by Blair Mann
Reviews for President Obama’s agenda has been mixed, but we’ll take a look on the bright side: by creating a new rating system for colleges based on affordability and student performance, the President’s new plan intends to provide the financial help that many of our students deserve, while also providing the kick that many colleges may need to shape up.
August 16, 2013 by Latasha Myers
A new survey by Citigroup and Seventeen Magazine reveals that while many college students are paying for most of their expenses, just a handful of students are able manage the burden of high tuition cost.
According to the survey, only 18 percent of students pay their way through college. The rest? 41 percent of students in the survey reported relying on financial aid – which includes student loans - to pay for their education, 16 percent of students said they finance their education through scholarships, and only 22 percent reported that their parents pick up the tab. On the other hand, 60 percent of respondents said their parent did, however, pay their monthly cell phone bill.
August 15, 2013 by Clarise McCants
Last week, President Obama signed the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act into law, effectively guaranteeing potentially sky-high interest rates for future students. However, even though Congress made the wrong deal for students, student loan interest rates are really the symptom of a much larger disease. College costs too damn much! And, that’s the real issue affecting millions of Americans.
August 12, 2013 by Blair Mann
Last week, the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors – a Governor-appointed board responsible for long-term planning for the University – voted to end Access UVA, and will force low-income program participants to take out nearly $30,000 in student loans to attend UVA.