Higher Education News

Network-Security Measures at UC Raise Some Professors' Fears of Snooping

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 1, 2016 - 2:57am
The university installed the new hardware for cybersecurity purposes after a data breach last July. Officials say they have no intention of using it to monitor emails, and that policy forbids them to do so.
Categories: Higher Education News

MIT Dean Takes Leave to Start New University Without Lectures or Classrooms

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 1, 2016 - 2:56am
Christine Ortiz, a dean of graduate education, envisions a new kind of college, built from scratch for today’s needs and with today’s technology.
Categories: Higher Education News

How a Freshman-Retention Plan Turned Into a PR Disaster for One Campus

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 1, 2016 - 2:56am
The president of Mount St. Mary’s University of Maryland has drawn fire for comments about steering underperforming freshmen from the campus. He says bad communication turned the situation messy.
Categories: Higher Education News

In a Charged Climate, Colleges Adopt Bias-Response Teams

Chronicle of Higher Education - February 1, 2016 - 2:55am
Groups designed to respond quickly to offensive speech on campuses are becoming more popular. Here’s what they do.
Categories: Higher Education News

Evangelical Colleges’ Diversity Problem

Chronicle of Higher Education - January 31, 2016 - 5:00pm
A black professor’s tense tenure at Wheaton College of Illinois has raised uncomfortable questions for a movement that has long struggled to reconcile tradition and diversity.
Categories: Higher Education News

1974: Ferpa's Birth Puts College Administrators on Edge

Chronicle of Higher Education - January 31, 2016 - 4:27pm
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, in all its complexity, has become part of the fabric of campus operations.
Categories: Higher Education News

The Week: What You Need to Know About the Past 7 Days

Chronicle of Higher Education - January 31, 2016 - 4:00pm
It seems 2015 was a good year for raising money, and for raising hackles, but not a good year for Jeffery Amherst or John C. Calhoun.
Categories: Higher Education News

What I'm Reading: ‘The Need and the Blessing of Prayer’

Chronicle of Higher Education - January 31, 2016 - 3:46pm
When the goals at a religious college get especially challenging, a campus executive turns to a book on prayer.
Categories: Higher Education News

President-to-Be Sees Advantages for Small Colleges in Efforts to Diversify

Chronicle of Higher Education - January 31, 2016 - 3:45pm
Jorge Gonzalez says their admissions officers have more time to consider how applicants "have risen" from their circumstances.
Categories: Higher Education News

Selected New Books on Higher Education

Chronicle of Higher Education - January 31, 2016 - 3:00pm
Compiled by Nina C. Ayoub
Categories: Higher Education News

UC-Berkeley Admits Liability in Death of Football Player During 2014 Practice

Chronicle of Higher Education - January 30, 2016 - 10:50am
The player’s family sued the university for wrongful death, alleging that coaches and other personnel did not properly assist the player when he struggled during a vigorous workout.
Categories: Higher Education News

Missouri Professor Who Accosted Journalist Reaches Deal to Avoid Prosecution

Chronicle of Higher Education - January 29, 2016 - 12:18pm
Melissa Click, who was charged with assault this week and then suspended, must complete 20 hours of community service and not break the law for a year.
Categories: Higher Education News

Don’t Be Fooled: You Never Have to Pay for Student Loan Help

U.S. Department of Education Blog - January 29, 2016 - 8:30am

Cross-posted from Medium.

I’ve seen online ads claiming that “Obama Wants to Forgive Your Student Loans!” or “Erase Default Statuses in 4–6 Weeks!” The link takes you to companies that want to help you manage your loans — for a fee. You never need to pay for help with your student loans. For the great price of free, the U.S. Department of Education can help you:

Your loan servicer — the company that collects your payments on behalf of the Department of Education can also help you with these goals for free. If you need help with your debt, you should contact your servicer. Click here for a list of servicers’ contact information.

And you should — because you never need to pay for these services.

Some debt relief companies charge a lot. Our research shows that some companies charge upfront consolidation fees as high as $999 or 1 percent of the loan balance (whichever is higher); “enrollment” or “subscription” fees up to $600; or monthly account “maintenance” fees as high as $50 per month. That’s money out of your pocket for services that are available to you for free.

Unfortunately, some companies act unethically or illegally to get your business — misrepresenting themselves as having a relationship with the Department of Education by using our logos, violating students’ privacy by inappropriately using their FSA IDs, and claiming that government programs are their own. In fact, yesterday, the Department sent two of these companies cease and desist letters because they have inappropriately used our logo, giving the impression that they are working with or for the government.

We are taking action to crackdown on these companies and continuing our efforts to protect student borrowers.

Throughout the Obama Administration we’ve worked to ensure student borrowers are protected and have worked across agencies in doing so. For example, the Department of Education has convened an interagency Joint Task Force on the Oversight and Accountability of For-Profit Institutions. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have been active in looking at possible deceptive practices in the debt-relief business.

The extent of the problem with debt relief companies is demonstrated by numerous legal actions around the country. In January of 2014, the New York Student Protection Unit issued subpoenas to 13 student debt relief companies as part of an investigation into concerns about potentially misleading advertising, improper fees, and other consumer protection problems in that industry. Over the past two years, the Florida, Illinois and Minnesota Attorneys General all took separate actions against firms found to have misled borrowers. A number of states and our enforcement partners are stepping up to help protect borrowers, but the first line of defense is making sure you know your rights.

We’re making it easier to distinguish between Department sites and private companies’ pages to make sure students and families aren’t mistakenly lured into paying for services available for free. For instance, last year we reached a settlement with a company to obtain a web address it was using — FAFSA.com — to market its for-profit service charging students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This settlement reduced confusion among students and parents who may have thought they were using a federal website rather than a commercial one. We also trademarked many of our forms’ names and taglines.

We are strengthening our internal systems to ensure continued protection of students’ information. For instance, under the new FSA ID, there is a delay for borrowers trying to recover their password to ensure that third-party companies are not inappropriately accessing peoples’ accounts.

Always remember: Keep your FSA ID private and think twice before signing on to pay for a service you can get for free. Sharing your FSA ID puts you at risk.

If you think that you’ve been scammed then learn your options. Many state governments have an Office of Consumer Affairs or Consumer Protection either within or affiliated with, the Office of the state’s Attorney General. At the federal level, the FTC and the CFPB have the authority to act against companies that engage in deceptive or unfair practices. Click on the links to file your complaint with either of those agencies; or you can call the CFPB at 1–855–411–2372.

Ted Mitchell is U.S. Under Secretary of Education.

Categories: Higher Education News

Faculty Leaders Urge Mizzou Board to Use 'Existing Procedures' if Investigating Professor

Chronicle of Higher Education - January 29, 2016 - 2:56am
A day after the board suspended Melissa Click for her actions at a protest last fall, a faculty group at the flagship said the board would undermine confidence in university leaders if it pursued an independent investigation.
Categories: Higher Education News

Accreditors Feel the Heat, but Are Torn Over Calls for Change

Chronicle of Higher Education - January 29, 2016 - 2:56am
Accrediting agencies face rising calls in Washington to hold more colleges accountable, but it’s not clear that they’re all ready to embrace the desired reforms.
Categories: Higher Education News

Why ‘Nudges’ to Help Students Succeed Are Catching On

Chronicle of Higher Education - January 29, 2016 - 2:55am
Getting into and through college involves a string of complex decisions. Researchers are increasingly using behavioral interventions to help.
Categories: Higher Education News

Scholars Criticize Academia.edu Proposal to Charge Authors for Recommendations

Chronicle of Higher Education - January 29, 2016 - 2:55am
The social network for sharing academic papers says the idea is just under consideration, not a done deal, but the critics have responded with outrage on Twitter.
Categories: Higher Education News

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