Higher Education News
Bringing more women into the profession is one of the goals of JoAnn P. Browning, who has joined the University of Texas at San Antonio.
John S. Pistole is returning to his hometown, Anderson, Ind., to lead a Christian institution there.
Recently, I had the opportunity to take a small team to visit Cal State Long Beach and Long Beach City College. We were there to meet with faculty and campus leaders who are administering Department-sponsored programs that support student success. I was impressed with their understanding of the student population, the variety of programs they were using to support degree attainment, and their collective commitment to making a difference in the lives of the students they serve.
My favorite part of site visits is the opportunity to meet with students. During this visit, I had the chance to talk with students from a variety of backgrounds, all of whom face serious barriers to obtaining a college degree. Some were veterans struggling to afford college, children of migrant workers, or adults recovering from addiction, while others were technically homeless or battling learning disabilities. All of these students made it clear that the help they received from Department-sponsored programs was giving them the tools, resources, and guidance they needed to obtain a college degree. Setting my federal position aside, as a human being I was moved by their optimism, resilience, persistence, and dedication to obtaining a college education. Each of them made a direct connection between postsecondary education and the ability to fulfill their hopes and dreams.
The Department-funded Higher Education Programs I visited support these students and their successes. The students on these two campuses are among millions who benefit from our initiatives. There are a range of competitive and formula-based programs and student support services across the United States and its territories that are federally funded. Many of these initiatives aim to improve the capacity of colleges and universities to provide essential support to students and aid them in graduating.
In preparation for our 2015 grant competitions, the Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education recently posted an eligibility notice for the Title III and V programs in the Federal Register. Across these grant programs, we’ll target over $400 million to U.S. colleges and universities, resulting in over 1,000 new and continuing grants. That’s a big opportunity for those who seek government assistance to improve, accelerate, evaluate and expand their efforts. These programs include the Strengthening Institutions Program, Predominantly Black Institutions Program, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions Program and many others designed to improve affordability, quality, retention and completion.
We encourage all institutions to review our grant programs and submit an eligibility application by December 18, 2014.
We know these programs make a difference, and we are encouraged by students across the United States and its territories, whose progress reaffirms our work each day.
Dr. James T. Minor is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs at the Department of Education.
If your student loan payments are high compared to your income, you may be eligible to switch your repayment plan to one that calculates your monthly payment based on your income and family size. TIP: If you are seeking Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you should repay your federal student loans under an income-driven repayment plan.
If you need to make lower monthly payments, one of the three following income-driven plans may be right for you:
- Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
- Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE)
- Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR)
What’s the difference between the three plans?
While there are other minor differences between these three repayment plans, these are four significant ways they differ:
- Eligibility requirements (Who qualifies)
- How payments are calculated
- Length of the repayment period
- Eligible Loan Types
You can compare the high-level differences below:
It’s also important to note that your loan types must also be eligible to be repaid under an income-driven plan.
How do I decide which income-driven repayment plan to choose?
1) See which plans you qualify for. Not everyone qualifies for an income-driven repayment plan. You can use our Repayment Estimator to estimate your payment amount for all repayment plans, including income-driven plans.
- Check and see whether the types of federal student loans you have are eligible. In some cases, you may need to consolidate your student loans in order to be able to repay the loan(s) under an income-driven plan or the income-driven repayment plan that offers the lowest monthly payment.
- If you’re considering our IBR or PAYE, you’ll need to make sure you meet the debt-to-income ratio requirement. To qualify, the payment that you would be required to make under the IBR or PAYE (based on your income and family size) must be less than what you would pay under the Standard Repayment Plan with a 10-year repayment period. Generally, you will meet this requirement if your federal student loan debt is higher than your annual discretionary income or represents a significant portion of your annual income.
2) Compare Plans Based on YOUR Circumstances. Using our repayment estimator, you can estimate your monthly payment amount, repayment period, projected loan forgiveness, and the total interest you’ll pay over the life of your loan. Just log in using your Federal Student Aid PIN, enter basic information about your income, family size, tax filing status, and state of residence and out pops a comparison based on your individual circumstances. You can also view the comparison in graph format!
3) Weigh the Pros and Cons. Income-driven repayment plans may lower your federal student loan payments. However, whenever you make lower payments or extend your repayment period, you will likely pay more in interest over time—sometimes significantly more. In addition, under current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules, you may be required to pay income tax on any amount that is forgiven if you still have a remaining balance at the end of your repayment period.
Before you apply for an income-driven repayment plan, contact your loan servicer with any questions. Your loan servicer will help you decide whether one of these plans is right for you.
I’ve decided which income-driven plan is right for me. How do I apply?
If you decide that an income-driven repayment plan is right for you, there are a few steps you need to take. To apply, you must submit an application called the Income-Driven Repayment Plan Request. You can submit the application online at StudentLoans.gov or on a paper form, which you can obtain from your loan servicer. Along with the application, you’ll need to provide income information. Find out more information about the documentation you must provide.
FACT: The application allows you to select an income-driven repayment plan by name, or request that your loan servicer determine what income-driven plan or plans you qualify for, and to place you on the income-driven plan with the lowest monthly payment amount.
Is there anything else I should know about choosing an income-driven repayment plan?
- You must provide updated documentation each year You must provide your loan servicer with updated income documentation and certify your family size on the Income-Driven Repayment Plan Request each year, generally around the same time of the year that you first began repayment under the income-driven plan that you selected. It’s important for you to provide the required information by the annual deadline specified by your loan servicer. If you miss the deadline, you’ll remain on the same income-driven repayment plan, but your monthly payment will no longer based on your income (this means your payment will increase).
- Your payment amount can change from year to year. Your required monthly payment amount may increase or decrease if your income or family size changes from year to year.
Nicole Callahan is a digital engagement strategist at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.
For all the controversy over the study, the findings were fairly mundane. For instance, more students show up for lectures on Wednesdays than on Fridays.
Preservation specialists fear that academe is about to lose the great majority of its sound and moving-image collections to time and neglect.
It depends on whom you ask. Critics of a program that will soon start paying out fear an overborrowing epidemic, but not everyone’s as worried.
Their trade group hopes to overturn the newly revised regulation, a centerpiece of President Obama’s college-accountability agenda.
Community-college leaders question the researchers' findings. They say the programs succeed in training workers in skills that local employers need.
After a year of unprecedented Congressional attention but few real political gains, advocates for part-time instructors face unfriendly political majorities.
Some campuses require faculty members to disclose all such allegations; that makes them uneasy.
Researchers look at how disruptive the inexpensive, top-flight master’s program in computer science really is.
By their actions and inactions, the boards jeopardize not only their institutions but also the public trust in higher education.
The high-tech effort struck some people as creepy, others as a violation of faculty autonomy. But the data it collected were a far cry from what online programs already gather.
You’ve recently missed a few payments on your student loan. It might not seem like a big deal, but you are responsible for repaying your federal student loans and when you don’t, you could face huge consequences. You don’t need me to tell you about those; you probably already know what they are. (If you don’t, you can read more about those here.) Instead, let’s talk about how you get back on track. It may be easier than you think.
One of the many benefits of having federal student loans is the flexibility of repayment options. You owe it to yourself (and your credit score) to take advantage of these options.
First things first: whenever you are unable to make your federal student loan payments, you should contact your loan servicer. Your loan servicer can explain your options for lowering or temporarily postponing your payments and help keep your loan in good standing while you get your finances in order.
Here are some options that your servicer may suggest to help you:
- Switch your monthly payment date: You may be able to change the date that your monthly payment is due. For example, if you get paid once a month on the 1st, you may request your federal student loan payment is due on the 2nd of the month instead of the 28th.
- Switch your repayment plan: You may be able to change your repayment plan to one with lower monthly payments. Just beware that lowering your monthly payments may result in paying more over the life of the loan. You can compare your payments under each repayment plan using our Repayment Estimator.
- Ask about income-driven repayment plans: You may qualify for a repayment plan that bases your monthly payment amount on your income. Depending on your income, your initial payment could be as low as $0 per month. This is a good option if you cannot afford your current monthly payment amount. Just note that income-driven repayment plans usually end up costing you more over the life of the loan.
- Consolidate your loans: If you have multiple federal student loans, you may consider combining them into one loan. A Direct Consolidation Loan often results in a lower monthly payment, but does extend the amount of time you have to repay your loan which causes you to pay more over the life of the loan. Find out more about the .
If the options described above won’t work for you, there are a few other options to consider:
- Ask for a deferment or forbearance: A deferment or forbearance allows you to temporarily postpone or reduce your federal student loan payments. You may qualify for a deferment or forbearance for a variety of reasons, including financial/economic hardship, unemployment, or military service. It’s important to note that, in most cases, interest will continue to accrue on your loans when they are in a deferment or forbearance status (except for subsidized loans in deferment).
For more information about options for successfully managing your loans, visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans or contact your loan servicer.
Tara Marini is a communication analyst at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.
A Direct Consolidation Loan allows you to combine multiple federal education loans into one loan. Before making the decision to consolidate your loans, you’ll want to carefully consider whether loan consolidation is the best option for you. Keep in mind, once your loans are combined into a Direct Consolidation Loan, they cannot be removed.
Advantages of consolidating your student loans:
- It’s Free!
It’s free to apply to consolidate your federal student loans. If you are contacted by someone offering to consolidate your loans for a fee, you are not dealing with the U.S. Department of Education.
- Simplified Payments
You’ll have a single monthly payment and a single lender (the U.S. Department of Education) instead of multiple payments and multiple lenders.
- Lower Monthly Payments
You may get a longer time to repay your loans, often resulting in lower monthly payments.
- Qualify for Income-Driven Repayment or Loan Forgiveness
Some benefits such as the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan and Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program are only available for Direct Loans. If you choose to consolidate your Federal Family Education Loan Program loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan, you may be able to take advantage of these programs.
- Fixed Interest Rate
Direct Consolidation Loans have a fixed interest rate, meaning your interest rate won’t change year to year. The fixed interest rate is based on the weighted average of the interest rates on the loans being consolidated, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of 1%.
Disadvantages of consolidating your student loans:
- More Interest Paid Over Time
You will likely pay more money in interest over the life of the loan. The amount of time you have to repay your Direct Consolidation Loan can vary from 10-30 years depending on the amount of your Direct Consolidation Loan and the amount of your other student loan debt. The longer it takes to repay your loan, the more you will make in interest payments.
- Loss of Borrower Benefits
You may lose any borrower benefits, such as interest rate discounts, principal rebates, or some loan cancellation benefits, offered with the original loans.
In weighing your options, be sure to compare your current monthly payments to what your monthly payments would be if you consolidated your loans. If you’re just interested in temporarily lowering your monthly payment, consolidation might not be the answer. Contact your loan servicer to consider alternative options such as switching repayment plans or requesting a deferment or forbearance.
To find out more information about loan consolidation, including eligibility requirements, visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/consolidation.
Tara Marini is a communication analyst at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.
Louisiana said scientists seeking to attend from three West African countries would face a quarantine.
"My principal goal in higher education is to deregulate it," says the Republican senator from Tennessee.