Debt Levels Growing for Student Borrowers

Currently, over 40 percent of student loan borrowers leaving college owe at least $20,000. That’s double, up from 20 percent in the last decade. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a study that analyzed borrowers who began repaying loans from 2002 to 2014, and looked at their repayment status through 2016. The data suggests that:

  • At least 40 percent of borrowers owe over $20,000.
  • Thirty percent of student loan borrowers are behind their loan balances after five years in repayment.
  • 50 percent of student loan borrowers are over 34 when they start repaying their loans
  • 60 percent of those who cannot reduce their balances are delinquent.

The report also indicates growth in awareness among private companies who offer incentives to employees with student debt. Employers are increasingly helping their employees who borrowed by offering repayment assistance and other programs designed to help employees in debt. The information released seems to back up the issue of growing student loan debt in the United States.

The director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray said, “The bureau’s research shows that people are taking on more student debt later in life and having a tougher time paying it back.” At the end of the first quarter of 2017, outstanding student loan balances were over $1.3 trillion, up $34 billion from the last quarter of 2016.

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President’s Report – July 2017

Appointments

Benedict College Appoints New President

Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis has been announced as the next president of Benedict College. Dr. Artis will make history by becoming the first woman to lead the school located in Columbia, South Carolina. She will replace Dr. David Swinton in September. Swinton is retiring after 23 years at the school.

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Permanent Position for Bennett College President

The board of trustees at Bennett College have appointed Dr. Phyllis Dawkins to become the school’s eighteenth president. Dawkins previously served as interim president, starting last August.

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Bishop State CC Names New President

Bishop State has named Dr. Reginald Sykes to become the school’s next president. Dr. Sykes had been the interim president since February 2016. Sykes will begin immediately as the permanent president.

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City College of San Francisco Taps New Chancellor

Dr. Mark Rocha has been appointed chancellor of the City College of San Francisco. Rocha was previously the president of Pasadena City College. Rocha is the first permanent chancellor at CCSF since 2015.

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Elms College Announces 11th President

Dr. Harry E. Dumay has been named the next president of Elms College. Dumay was previously the senior vice president for finance and CFO at St. Anslem College. Dr. Dumay replaces Sister Mary Reap, who retired in May.

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Cox College Promotes Next President from Within

Dr. Amy DeMelo has been announced as the next president of Cox College in Springfield, Missouri. DeMelo has served as the VP of academic affairs and institutional effectiveness at Cox since 2014. She began as president in late June.

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New Erie CC President

Dr. Dan Hocoy has started as president at Erie Community College. Hocoy was announced as the school’s 11th president earlier this month.

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Interim President Named at Kansas City Kansas CC

Dr. Jacqueline Vietti has been chosen by the KCKCC Board of Trustees to become the school’s interim president. Vietti previously served Butler County Community College as the school’s president. Former president, Doris Givens, was placed on administrative leave in mid-July.

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Treadwell Appointed Interim President at Keene State College

Dr. Melinda Treadwell will begin as Keene State College’s interim president on July 31st. Treadwell replaces Dr. Anne E. Huot, who announced her resignation in June. Treadwell previously served as provost at Keene State college and has a doctorate from Dartmouth.

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Lake Superior State Announces Interim President

The board of trustees at Lake Superior State University have tapped Dr. Peter T. Mitchell to begin as interim president. Mitchell replaces Dr. Thomas Pleger, who passed away in May. Dr. Mitchell previously served as president of Albion college for 10 years, from 1997-2007.

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Metropolitan CC-Penn Valley Names New President

Dr. Tyjaun Lee has been announced as the next president of Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley. Dr. Lee will take over for Dr. Seabrooks who left the school in July 2016.  Lee is expected to begin in early August.

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Morehouse Alum Takes Over as Interim President

Harold Martin Jr. will step in as interim president at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Martin is a graduate of Morehouse College, and joined the school’s board in 2014. Martin takes over for William Taggart, who passed away in June.

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Interim President Named at Northeast State CC

Mr. James King has taken over as interim president at Northeast State Community College. King previously served as Executive Vice Chancellor for the Tennessee Board of Regents.  He began his tenure July 1st following the retirement of Dr. Janice Gilliam.

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Dr. Medica Promoted at Penn State Schuykill

Dr. Darcy Medica has been named Penn State Shuykill’s next president. Medica is currently the director of academic affairs at the school.  She will begin her tenure on August 1st.

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Research College of Nursing Announces Next President

Dr. Thad Wilson has been named the next president of the Research College of Nursing in Kansas City. Wilson replaces Nancy Debasio, who retired after 28 years at the school.

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RIT President to Begin Tenure

Dr. David C. Munson has started as Rochester Institute of Technology’s 10th president. Munson replaces Dr. Bill Destler, who retired in June. Dr. Munson previously served as the dean of engineering at Michigan.

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Dr. Eighmy Named President of UT- San Antonio

The Board of Regents for the University of Texas System has named Dr. Taylor Eighmy as the next president at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Eighmy currently serves at UT-Knoxville as the school’s vice chancellor for research and engagement. He will begin as president in September.

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Retirements

Bethune-Cookman President Announces Early Retirement

Dr. Edison O. Jackson, president of Bethune-Cookman University, as announced his early retirement from the school. Jackson’s retirement comes after 2 years of operating at a loss and a controversial dorm project. Johnson has served the school since 2012.

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Wiley College President Retiring

Dr. Haywood L Strickland has announced that he will retire from Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. Strickland said, “I’m getting old.” Dr. Strickland is the longest serving president in Wiley’s history with 18 years at the helm. He will retire at the end of the next academic year.

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Resignations

Briar Cliff President Resigns

Dr. Hamid Shirvani has announced his resignation from Briar Cliff University. Shirvani began as the school’s 10th president in 2016. He cited “a combination of family, personal and professional considerations” as the reasons for leaving.

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Shaw University President Leaving for Position at Howard

President of Shaw University, Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy, has left the school to become the executive VP and chief operating officer at Howard University. Dubroy served as president of Shaw for two years.

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Chancellor Announces Resignation from UH-Hilo

Dr. Donald Straney has announced his decision to resign as chancellor from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Straney is leaving for a position in the UH System as VP of academic planning and policy. He plans to resign on August 1st.

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Evansville President to Resign

The University of Evansville’s president, Dr. Thomas Kazee, has announced he will leave the school in May of 2018. Kazee has served the school for the past 8 years.

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DHS Proposal May Drastically Affect International Students

The Washington Post reports that the Department of Homeland Security has drafted a preliminary proposal that would require international students to reapply annually for permission to study in the United States. The proposal could hamper the admission of foreign students to colleges and universities by adding additional costs, paperwork and an annual refiling of status to those seeking education in America.

In a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 12 higher education associations and organizations noted “serious concern” with the proposed changes. “When faced with up to a 400 percent increase in fees, redundant forms, and restrictive validity periods, an applicant will likely opt to pursue their studies elsewhere,” the letter reads.

It also points to the fact that global competition is increasing for international students with “countries like Canada and Germany publicly advertising their welcoming policies in an attempt to become a destination of choice. It is imperative that our country’s visa issuance procedures and duration of stay policies are efficient and streamlined, not burdensome and prohibitive.”

Across the country, international students add to a university’s global experience, but they also pay more expensive out-of-state tuition, providing considerable financial incentives to U.S. colleges and universities by helping those institutions struggling with overall funding. The letter points out that “though international students make up only five percent of postsecondary students in the country, they contributed $32 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 400,000 jobs just in the last academic year alone.”

Department of Homeland Security officials say the proposal seeks to enhance national security by closely monitoring foreign students. According to The Washington Post, some at DHS believe that student visas are too open-ended in how they allow students to transfer from one program to another. Officials say the plan is still in its initial stages and could require regulatory changes that would take a minimum of 18 months. DHS spokesman David Lapan said, “DHS is exploring a variety of measures that would ensure that our immigration programs—including programs for international students studying in the United States—operate in a manner that promotes the national interest, enhances national security and public safety and ensures the integrity of our immigration system.”

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“Non-Traditional” Students the New Majority

The demographic profile of students at US colleges and universities has changed dramatically in the past decade. The majority of college students have shifted to an older, more diversified pool who are seeking degrees while juggling other responsibilities, such as work and family commitments. They are known as non-traditional students and are now the majority of students attending college.

Certain characteristics of “non-traditional” students:

  • 25 or older when they finished their bachelor’s degree
  • Received a GED or equivalent
  • Employed full time while in school
  • Enrolled as a part-time student while pursuing a degree
  • Financially independent of parents

According to a 2012 report by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, non-traditional students have been inadequately served by higher education institutions, despite their growing numbers. A study by US News showed that non-traditional students cited a lack of scheduling flexibility and personalized pace of instruction as variables that negatively affected their learning experience.

Ways higher education institutions are adapting to “non-traditional students”:

  • Increase in online learning programs
  • Accelerated Course Formats
  • Wider availability of services and scheduling
  • Multiple options for financial aid and billing

As jobs and careers continue to change, so too will the integration of programs that offer multiple options of learning to the evolving student in higher education.

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18 States Sue Department of Education

18 democratic attorneys general from states across the country have filed a lawsuit against the Education Department and Secretary Devos to enforce a ruling on protecting students from predatory loans. “The borrower defense” rule was installed by the Obama administration to allow students who felt they were defrauded to get their student loans potentially forgiven. Last month, the Education Department rescinded the “borrower defense rule” before it went into effect in July, citing a federal lawsuit filed by a group of for-profit colleges against the law.

The lawsuit filed Thursday argues that Devos broke federal rules by stopping the ruling without enough public input or justification.  The suit also argues that for-profit schools benefit from taxpayer funded loans while “the students themselves struggle under the burden of a student loan debt they cannot afford” after working towards degrees “that may be of questionable value to them.” According to Inside Higher Ed, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy said the Trump administration and Devos have sided with the for-profit sector over students since “day one.”

The education secretary criticized the rule, saying it “puts taxpayers on the hook for significant costs” and called it “a muddled process that’s unfair to students and schools.”  A spokeswoman for Devos said the lawsuit is “ideologically driven.” Devos plans to establish a new committee to reconsider the issue completely.

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Devos Halts Two Regulations on For-Profit Schools

The Department of Education will roll back two regulations from the Obama administration aimed to protect students and hold for-profit colleges more accountable. The U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos said, “Our mission in the student loan servicing procurement process is to provide high quality customer service to federal loan borrowers in a cost-efficient and effective manner.” She continued, adding “Unfortunately, this process has been subjected to a myriad of moving deadlines, changing requirements and lack of consistent objectives.”

The Department is reworking the “gainful employment” rule that was passed in 2010.  The rule required programs at for-profit higher education institutions and nondegree programs at community colleges to meet minimum requirements in relation to the debt-to-income rates of their graduates. Programs that consistently failed to meet the minimum requirements would potentially lose federal financial aid, thus risking closure. The rule was designed to weed out programs that burden students with unmanageable student loan debt and few quality job prospects.

The second rule, “borrower defense to repayment,” was intended to go in place this July.  The regulation was put into place to make it easier for students who said they were defrauded by their schools to get their loans potentially forgiven. Though the Department of Education has completely rescinded this rule, it did release a statement saying that the 16,000 borrower defense claims currently under review will be processed. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, Devos said, “We are working with servicers to get these loans discharged as expeditiously possible. Some borrowers should expect to obtain discharges within the next several weeks.”

Several Democratic lawmakers quickly decried the moves. According to Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, “Her (Devos) actions to eliminate important protections in higher education will harm students and waste millions in taxpayer dollars.” Additionally, advocacy groups vowed to fight the new change. Harvard University’s Project on Predatory Student Lending vowed to “use all legal means” to combat the delay of the borrower defense rule.

Critics of the gainful employment rule are mostly for-profits, who say it unfairly singles them out, but does not punish underperforming programs at nonprofit institutions. Devos stated that prior rulemaking “missed an opportunity to get it right. The result is a muddled process that’s unfair to students and schools, and puts taxpayers on the hook for significant costs.” The department is planning to start drafting new regulations this October.

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Penn State Initiates Radical Changes to Greek Life

The Board of Trustees at Penn State has announced all Greek life at the school will be reformed with initiatives that transfer all disciplinary responsibility to the University. The school has accepted that the self-governance model of Greek life has failed to regulate hazing, underage drinking, and sexual assault. Eric Barron, Penn State’s president, said “We are going to take much more control of the Greek system.”

The decision comes after the death of 19-year-old sophomore Timothy Piazza, who fell while intoxicated and sustained serious head injuries.  An investigation into the death of Piazza led school officials to discover “a persistent pattern of serious alcohol abuse, hazing and the use and sale of illicit drugs” at the fraternity. The fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, has been permanently banned as a chapter at the university. Barron said, “I am resolved to turn the pain and anguish radiating through our entire community into decisive action and reform, concentrating on the safety and well-being of students at Penn State.”

At Penn State, the new ruling is an effort to get Greek organizations to recognize the best of their missions—leadership and philanthropy—rather than the secretive, dangerous and unhealthy aspects. New regulations listed by Penn State include:

  • University control of the fraternity and sorority organizational misconduct and adjudication process.
  • Hazing that involves alcohol, physical abuse, or any behavior that puts a student’s mental or physical health at risk will result in swift permanent revocation of University recognition for the chapter involved.
  • Monitoring of social events by University staff members.
  • Beer and wine will only be permitted, no hard liquor or kegs.
  • Organizations may no longer hold all day events and each chapter is limited to 10 socials with alcohol per semester, instead of the current 45.

Fraternity culture has continued to frustrate colleges and universities across the country. The North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) has acknowledged that fraternities’ self-governance model is broken and has failed to prevent problems on campuses nationwide. According to Inside Higher Ed, in the past academic year, at least 80 fraternity chapters were suspended or investigated over allegations of racism, hazing, alcohol abuse and sexual assault. The Huffington Post found that over 30 fraternities were suspended just in the month of February.

As fraternities and sororities continue to face increased scrutiny, it seems many schools are looking to fix a broken system. According to Emily Pualwan, executive director of Hazing Prevention, “A lot of institutions are looking at what Penn State does and will look over the next few years at the effectiveness of these measures, if it can be measured.” If Penn State’s institutionally run fraternal system does work, it may set a new precedent for how Greek-life operates on campuses in the future.

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May President’s Report

Higher Education Publications, Inc. – May President’s Report

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Highlights include:   

  • Iowa Board of Regents Elects New President: Dr. Michael Richards has been unanimously elected to serve as the next president of the Iowa Board of Regents.  Dr. Richards will become the 22nd president of the Iowa Board immediately.
  • University of Missouri Names New Chancellor: The University of Missouri has named Dr. Alexander Cartwright as the school’s new chancellor.  Cartright is currently the provost and executive vice chancellor of the State University of New York School System.  He will begin at Missouri on August 1st.
  • Utah President David Pershing ResigningDr. David Pershing has announced that he will resign.  The resignation comes amid turmoil over a power play for control of the Huntsman Cancer Institute after the sudden firing—then reinstatement—of the institute’s director and CEO, Mary Beckerle. Preparations for the search of a successor are currently underway.

To see the full report visit our website HERE.

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Massive For-Profit to Nonprofit Conversion being Reviewed by Feds and Accreditors

In March, The Dream Center Foundation announced its plan to purchase the majority of campuses owned by the struggling Education Management Corporation. The Los Angeles based philanthropic organization currently funds programs across the country for under privileged people. The Education Management Corporation (EDMC) was once one of the largest for-profit college chains in the country, with more than 150,000 students. According to Randall Barton, managing director of the Dream Center Foundation, the acquiring of EDMC aligns with the foundations desire to use education as a means of transforming lives.

The move would be one of the largest for-profit changeovers into nonprofit schools on record. The campuses being bought include Argosy University, South University, and the Art Institutes.  In the coming months, it will be up to the Federal Education Department, under new Secretary Betsy DeVos, and EDMC’s institutional accreditors to determine the fate of the deal.  According to the Higher Education Directory, Argosy University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, while South University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  With multiple accreditors, EDMC’s conversion to a nonprofit entity will be that much more complicated.

This past week, 30 consumer, student, and veterans’ groups wrote an open letter to Secretary Devos, urging her to impose conditions on the sale of EDMC.  The letter states, “Congress has vested authority in you, as the Secretary of Education, to approve changes in ownership and control for institutions of higher education that wish to continue to participate in federal student loan and grant programs. Given the deeply troubling past performance of EDMC, the proposed transaction should not be rubber stamped behind closed doors.”  The letter also asks the approval be conditioned based on three questions:

  • Whether the operations of the schools going forward are likely to avoid the predatory practices that plagued the company previously.
  • Whether the claim of a nonprofit control structure is justified and will set and maintain a path for the schools that is in the best interest of students and taxpayers.
  • If taxpayers are adequately protected against financial insolvency that could trigger immense public costs.

Many are concerned that the Dream Center will continue to operate the institutions for sale in the same manner as before. The letter notes that if change of ownership is approved, it should be done on a provisional basis, and that the Department of Education has the opportunity to “prevent another repeat of the scandalous mistreatment of students and taxpayers.” The decision made by the Department of Education is expected this summer, and will set an important precedent for how the Trump administration approaches the issue of for-profit to nonprofit college conversions.

College

April President’s Report

Higher Education Publications, Inc. – April President’s Report

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Highlights include:   

  • Baylor Appoints its First Female President: Baylor University has appointed Dr. Linda A. Livingstone, dean at George Washington School of Business, as its 15th president.  Livingstone will replace interim President David Garland on June 1st.
  • University of Arizona Approves New President: Dr. Robert Robbins has been approved by The Arizona Board of Regents to a three-year contract as president at the school.  Robbins will take over for Dr. Ann Weaver Hart, who announced she will step down on June 1st.
  • William and Mary President to Retire After a Decade of Service: Mr. W. Taylor Reveley has announced that he will retire at the end of next year from the College of William and Mary. Revely said, “Serving as president of a college or university is one of the most challenging but meaningful jobs anyone can possibly have.” He continued with, “It has certainly been so for me. And it has been a rare privilege to lead this magnificent school. All parts of the William & Mary family, working together, have taken crucially important steps forward. I’ll leave the Brafferton in June 2018 with confidence that W&M’s momentum will keep rolling, while I enjoy the Elysian Fields of retirement at long last.” Revely has served as president since 2008.

To see the full report visit our website HERE.