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Is Distance Ed Rule DOA?

Inside Higher Ed
December 21, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education, with a month to go until the transition of power, has finalized a rule that clarifies how colleges become authorized to offer online programs to students in other states -- an effort in the works since the first years of the Obama administration. But the rule is by all indications dead on arrival. 

What’s In and What’s Out for Colleges as Trump Takes Office

Chronicle of Higher Education
December 21, 2016

If you’re a college leader who feels micromanaged by federal regulations, a university trustee who thinks that the U.S. Department of Education has been overly intrusive in overseeing colleges’ handling of sexual-assault and discrimination cases, or a would-be education provider that is not a traditionally accredited college, you may well like some of the approaches of the coming administration of President-elect Donald J. Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress.  At least that’s how some of the outlines of the new political landscape for higher education appear to be taking shape, based on recent Chronicle interviews with more than two dozen college leaders, policy advocates, and current state and federal government officials.

Devos Heads into Confirmation with a Megadonor's Advantage

December 20, 2016

Billionaire Betsy DeVos has been unabashed about using her wealth to advance her own agenda. “We expect a return on our investment,” she once wrote about her family’s massive political contributions.  After giving millions of dollars to politicians over the past two decades, she now heads into her Senate confirmation hearing for education secretary with a clear advantage: DeVos and her husband, Dick, have donated to the campaigns of 17 senators who will consider her nomination — four of whom sit on the Senate education committee that oversees the process.

How Politics Shapes the Making of Higher-Education Regulations

Chronicle of Higher Education
December 19, 2016

The Education Department has been criticized for its heavy use of rule making to advance the Obama administration’s policy priorities — in particular, holding for-profit colleges accountable. But now many observers expect at least some of those efforts to be curtailed or ended under the incoming Trump administration.

DeVry University Will Pay $100 Million for Students’ Loans and Tuition

New York Times
December 16, 2016

DeVry University, a for-profit school that offers courses online and at dozens of locations nationwide, has agreed to a $100 million settlement of a federal lawsuit alleging that it falsely advertised the success of its graduates, the Federal Trade Commission announced on Thursday.  Under the settlement, DeVry and its parent company, DeVry Education Group, agreed to about $51 million in debt relief and an additional $49 million in cash to be paid to students harmed by the ads. Tens of thousands of students stand to benefit from the agreement, according to the F.T.C.

Feds Kick Off Loan Counseling Experiment on Select College Campuses

Washington Post
December 16, 2016

Despite the tens of thousands of dollars college students are allowed to borrow, debt that can define their financial lives for years, schools are obligated to provide only two counseling sessions before graduation. An experimental program, however, is giving a select group of colleges the chance to beef up advising and keep students from making costly mistakes.
Fifty-one colleges and universities are participating in a pilot program to test the effectiveness of adding more counseling sessions and using a variety of tools to help students manage their debt.

Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos' Stance on Higher Education Unclear
December 15, 2016

Betsy DeVos hasn't been shy about her ideas for improving K-12 school systems, but where she might take the U.S. Department of Education's higher education policies if she's chosen to lead it is less clear. DeVos, a former state Republican Party chair and national committeewoman who has spent much of her career advocating for school choice at the K-12 level, hasn't publicly stated where she falls on key issues under the department's purview, such as the rising costs of student loans, various federal education grants and anti-discrimination policies.

Borrower Defense Regulations—Final Rule Issued

NAICU Washington Update
December 14, 2016

Final regulations have been published on how students who have been defrauded by institutions of higher education can have their loans forgiven.

Push for Debt Forgiveness

Inside Higher Ed
December 14, 2016

Having unexpectedly found itself handing off the baton to a Republican administration in January, the U.S. Department of Education is racing to finish a slate of Obama administration priorities. But few of the department's remaining tasks are as daunting as processing thousands of debt-relief claims filed by former students of closed for-profit colleges. Since the closure of Corinthian Colleges in 2015, the department has received tens of thousands of such applications to have loans discharged under a previously little-used borrower defense statute.

Pro&Con: She'll Be a Breath of Fresh Air for Parents, Students Alike

Southcoast Today (New Bedford, MA) - Commentary
December 9, 2016

Lindsey M. Burke, fellow in education policy at The Heritage Foundation, writes:  Teachers unions and the education establishment reacted with predictable scorn when President-elect Donald Trump last month named Betsy DeVos as his nominee for secretary of education.  But parents have one simple reason to be optimistic: DeVos has been a champion for educational choice across the country.  Her support for school choice goes beyond mere lip service. She has worked to advance viable options for students and families, including charter schools, vouchers, tuition tax credit scholarships and education savings accounts.