E-Update for July 22, 2016
- USED released proposed regulations on state authorization of postsecondary distance education courses and outlined a plan to improve student loan servicing.
- On July 18, delegates to the Republican National Convention, which was held this week in Cleveland, Ohio, adopted the official Republican Party Platform. The platform includes a range of education provisions addressing various issues from school choice to testing, as well as positions regarding student loans and college accreditation. Throughout the week, discussion of education issues at the convention primarily focused on Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump’s support for school choice. The Republican Party Platform is available here.
- The Democratic National Convention will be held next week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Congress is on recess and will reconvene after Labor Day.
Senate Democrats Urge Federal Agencies to Protect Students from Fraudulent Institutions: A group of 12 Senate Democrats, including Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary John King, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Edith Ramirez, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray, Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald requesting that the agencies increase oversight of businesses offering educational services or seminars. The letter is available here.
July 14, 2016
Senate Democrats Urge USED to Reform Federal Student Loan Servicing to Protect Borrowers: A group of ten Senate Democrats, including Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Murray, Senator Warren, and others, wrote a letter to USED Secretary John King to offer recommendations to USED on overhauling federal student loan servicing. The Senators applauded USED for creating joint servicing principles to reform student loan servicing. They recommended that USED’s recompete of student loan servicing contracts should result in a servicing platform to allow multiple customer service providers to compete to best serve students. The letter is available here.
July 15, 2016
USED Moves to Strengthen Student Loan Servicing for Borrowers: USED unveiled its new customer service standards and enhanced protections for student loan borrowers. Specifically, USED released a memo to the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) outlining a series of enhanced protections and customer service standards that will guide future federal student loan servicing practices. The policies, developed with CFPB and the U.S. Department of Treasury, include economic incentives to encourage servicers to help borrowers avoid defaulting on loans, increased monitoring of servicing vendors, and more transparent federal student loan data. The memo is available here.
July 20, 2016
USED Releases Proposed Regulations on State Authorization of Postsecondary Distance Education Courses: The proposed regulations seek to “ensure that institutions offering distance education are legally authorized and monitored by states” by clarifying state authorization requirements for institutions to participate in federal student aid programs. Specifically, the proposed regulations would, among other things, require institutions offering distance education courses to be authorized in each state in which the institution enrolls students (if such authorization is required by the state). The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) is available here.
July 22, 2016
First Year Course Experiences: This Institute for Education Sciences (IES) report is based on four studies that meet What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) group design standards. The report found that first year experience courses, often referred to as college success courses or freshman seminars, were found to have potentially positive effects on credit accumulation, college degree attainment, and general academic achievement for freshman college students.
July 19, 2016