Posts Tagged ‘financial aid’

This summer, the U.S. Department of Education introduced a proposal to regulate for-profit universities. Referred to in education circles as the “gainful employment” regulations, the proposal seeks to protect students with the highest financial need who enroll at these institutions, to ensure the likelihood that they will be able to find employment and repay their loans after completing their certificate or degree programs.

The Department of Education is proposing a new sanction, namely that if the for-profit programs are not producing “gainful employment” opportunities for these students, those institutions will lose their student aid eligibility — a major source of income for these education companies. As usual, the issue has raised partisan rancor in several congressional hearings (the latest on Sept. 30) held by Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

As a not-for-profit, four-year and graduate residential university, my institution is not directly affected by these federal rules. But they do bring a critical issue to light for all of higher education, for-profit and not-for-profit alike: What are we doing to prepare and enable our students to secure jobs and succeed in an increasingly competitive and dynamic workforce, especially for those in the highest-need brackets? Are we doing enough? Are new models needed?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the youth unemployment rate reached 19.1 percent in July, and the United States is experiencing some of the worst youth joblessness of the post- World War Two era. These statistics should sound an alarm across the nation. While penalizing for-profit universities for programs that produce little results and high debt for their students might be an effective short-term solution to protect students and our student loan system, we need a broader national vision from Washington, from corporate America, and from higher education about how to ensure that our young people have a future in our nation’s workforce. Punitive measures from the government and “business as usual” from our nation’s colleges and universities just won’t cut it. Students need a new deal — a promise of access that can actually lead to job opportunity when they complete their degrees.

With the state of our economy, the question is even more urgent for students and their families: What will a degree get me after I graduate? In the salad days of job opportunity, we university administrators could afford to wax a bit more vague about this. For many traditional academicians, this question might even seem out of place. After all, college is about imparting knowledge, the collective inheritance of humanity — not about something as mundane as a job.

Of course that is the case, but our students also want and need to work. I see this mindset in the kind of students we attract to Stevenson University. Almost one-third are first-generation college students. Their parents did not attend college, but they nurtured that dream for their children. These students expect that attending college will lead to a good job, and they consciously chose an education with programs and experiences structured to help make their dreams a reality.

Several years ago, representatives of Maryland’s public and independent colleges and universities joined forces with the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board on a listening tour, dialoging with business leaders around the state about the kinds of programs and initiatives that prepare students to work successfully in their companies and economic sectors. This tour was extremely productive and helped to build the kind of collaboration that higher education, business and government need.

But this process needs to be national, continual and at the top of the president’s and Congress’ agendas.

President Barack Obama’s “Skills for America” initiative, announced Oct. 4, is a step in the right direction. By encouraging partnerships between community colleges and industry, students will be able to connect their educations to careers, many in new and emerging industries. This initiative should also move beyond community colleges to four-year institutions, public and private, that are serving many of the nation’s highest-need students.

What else can higher education do? Diverse employment internships should be a near mandate across college curricula; federal and state employer advisory boards for higher education can update academia on the changing and emerging workforce skills for industry; and we should promote career development standards and requirements that challenge our students and grow their skills as much as their academic coursework expands their knowledge.

Instead of punitive measures that might ultimately limit access and discourage students and working adults from achieving a degree, we need creative measures from leaders in education and the top policymakers that ensure degrees — and the college experiences that support them — remain relevant in an increasingly dynamic and global workforce. Career education should not be sidelined; it needs to be front and center in our strategic institutional plans and national economic policy.

Kevin J. Manning is the president of Stevenson University with campuses in Stevenson and Owings Mills. His e-mail is kmanning@stevenson.edu.
From: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-colleges-jobs-20101013,0,2442120.story

Hi, my name is Amy and I am a misfit. I’ve always been an outsider. I was different than the other kids in school, different than the other employees I’ve ever worked with, am different than the other moms at the PTA; I’ve always been “different”. Honestly I like it. I like that I see the world in ways that others do not or can’t; I like that my perspective is sometimes strange or colorful, that my understanding is often skewed from the norm. I am a misfit. Too, I was the kid that sat in the high school principal’s office anywhere from two to four days a week, labeled as the one who either “did it or knew who did it”, so I was always the first to be questioned. Looking back as an adult on my teen years, I was bored at school. I was brighter than most of my teachers and vocal about it, which of course they didn’t appreciate; leading to my principal telling me that he was going to put my name on his office door because I spent more time in his office than he did. Of course that was when I showed up, I missed some fifty odd days my senior year. I didn’t want to be there and they didn’t really want me there. Hi, my name is Amy and I am a misfit and trouble maker.

It is ironic that I’ve worked in education for the past 12 years. Something that I once fled from is now my passion in life. My joy comes from seeing students and graduates succeed, seeing them fulfill their dreams and reach their highest potential. I worked in the public college sector for over six years and guess what? My name is Amy and I am a misfit and trouble maker. I didn’t fit in. I tried, I really did. I bought the suits and tied scarves around my neck, found the perfect briefcase, smoozed the right people and worked myself into an anxiety ridden, panic attacked life. But my trouble maker self didn’t care about the suits or the scarves, she cared about the students and their needs, their goals and I was vocal about it. I took action. I took risks. And at one point in time was told to “slow down because I was making other employees look bad”.

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My trouble-making misfit self thought it was about the student and service to the public I represented (it still does); however my perspective was clearly different than that of my leadership who just wanted to maintain the status quo. So after six years of fighting the good fight, I headed out to find my island, which perhaps I might “fit in” on. The old adage about fitting a square into a hole meant for a circle is true. I was the square with ideas too big for their little circle.

For the past five years and 28 days I’ve worked in the private sector (for-profit) at a small private university. I am still a misfit of sorts and occasionally a trouble maker; but they (I’ll say loosely) like it. Sometimes when I think I am going to get yelled at, I get smiled at; sometimes it is a stern voice with half a crooked smile. The people working in the private sector have an entrepreneurial spirit, they are pioneers and not stuck in the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mud. Ingenuity and creativeness is welcomed and rewarded; all squares are welcomed. We work with business and industry to make sure what we do is pertinent, we hold students accountable yet create an environment where they can flourish and we treat everyone like they are members of an extended family that crosses every imagined boundary. In the world of top ten universities, state funded schools and 100 year old institutions of higher learning the private sector schools are misfits. We like who we are and our graduates are proud of their alma mater, but the rest of the world doesn’t quite know what to think of us and looking from the outside in, can’t understand our passion or drive. The proposed Gainful Employment regulation before the DOE has further labeled us as misfits and trouble-makers when it couldn’t be further from the truth. Just because our financial/tax structure isn’t like everyone else (our colleges actually pay taxes too) does not lessen our passion to educate and mission to provide the workforce with trained workers for the present and future. In fact my university is family held and that family environment extends into our students lives and way past graduation.

When I look in the mirror I see our students. For the past five years I have worked a full time and a part time job, raised three kids as a single mom and have gone to school full time earning a BSBA and an MBA. This is not my sob story but it is a reflection of who our students are. Single parents, working adults, underserved populations, high school misfits, those who are afraid of college, people who have failed at other institutions and people who hit the age of 30 and realized that in order to build a brighter future you have to get off your @$$ and create the change you want to see in your life. Those who have never thought that they would ever be “college material”, never had anyone believe in them, or anyone to encourage them. Those that took that bold first step to enroll into college to build a future. Now I am not labeling our students and alumni as “misfits” but in many cases they are unique and different in comparison to the traditional college student at the traditional university.

I am angry. Not that anyone that can do anything about it cares, but I am angry. This gainful employment regulation is discrimination at its finest and it affects some of the people I care about most, the students and graduates I’ve watched flourish over the past five years and see great potential in for next millennium. It is going to further limit opportunities for sections of the population that already have limited opportunities. As a teacher and administrator I have supported students through cancer and illness, homelessness, abusive relationships, deaths, deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and twists and turns that I could never imagine my life taking and many have made it through to the other side and declared “I am the first college graduate in my family”, they have set the bar for the people around them and reached that first rung in their career ladder story. With this gainful employment proposal we would not have had the opportunity to support many of them because our paths would have not crossed if the federal government told them they could not have the monetary support to support an education for a career they envision themselves in at the college of their choice.

The Gainful Employment proposal compares ratios of new graduate’s income to their school debt to see if the employment obtained is “gainful” within a certain time period. My thoughts about this are that no one starts their career where they want to see themselves. There is no magic job wand that makes dreams come true, it comes with hard work, networking and leveraging opportunities; education is the foundation. I’ll never forget the day a grad called to tell me that she had landed a job and had more than doubled her salary. My first thought was “WOW” doubled your salary that is incredible. After talking to her I found out that she is in Tennessee where the minimum wage at the time was $5.85 an hour and indeed landing a job at $12 and hour was more than doubling her salary; a door opened by her education and a huge success for her. She has since has found further success and has gone well beyond that first rung of her career ladder. I have to ask, “Would she have passed the gainful test?” That would depend on who you asked; the graduate would say yes. She would say that education changed her life.

My other issue with the GE proposal is that they are picking on only one sector of education. I am not going to into the statistics; there are a million blogs and reports you can gather those from. But rather I’ll tell you a story that proves my point. I was at a job fair when a man walked up the table and said, “I went to college and it didn’t do me any good”. So I asked him, “What degree did you earn? His reply was “General Education Associate Degree”. I will not name the school, but I ask you, how many of you have ever seen a job posting looking for someone with an associate degree in general education? This man’s state funded alma mater did him a great disservice in having him spend his money and time on a degree that is so non-specific that it led to no outcome whatsoever. On the other hand for-profit college’s educations teach specific skills that lead to specific careers in specific industries. Why isn’t the public sector, non-profits being held to the same standards? Why are we even entertaining this proposal that not only discriminates against a sector of education that does lead to employment but more importantly several demographic pools of citizens?

Hi, my name is Amy and I am a misfit and trouble maker who works for misfits who employ misfits who service unique learners on our little island that changes lives. I am angry. I am a career college graduate. I am a mom. I am a volunteer. I am a teacher. I am a voter. I am a supporter. I am blogger. I am an occasional troublemaker. I work in an industry that isn’t perfect but also isn’t bad. I am asking you, whoever you are, to oppose the gainful employment proposal. Write to your congress member and ask them to oppose it and ask them to approach it in a different way, a way that is fair and equal. The regulation needs to be postponed, rethought and then reapplied to the entire higher education industry.

I close with a quote from a fellow “trouble maker” and possible misfit, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Whether we are talking about the staircase of life, the career ladder or stepping foot into a college classroom for the first time, faith in ourselves, a higher power, another person is what guides us. Right now my faith is on roughly 7000 students that my private sector, family owned university serves and I simply ask that gainful employment be revisited so that we can continue fostering success stories. The futures of future college graduates depend on it.

In your service,

Amy

From: http://herzingonline.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/private-sector-education-and-gainful-employment-welcome-to-the-island-of-misfits/

Who has the highest level of educational debt?  Not the “for-profit” schools.

What is the saying?  A picture speaks a thousand words?

On Saturday, The Hill published an article that discussed how Senate Democrats and for-profit educators were sparring over the Department of Education’s proposed gainful employment restriction. The article noted:

‘High student loan debt coupled with low repayment rates signal a questionable investment for students and taxpayers,’ the Democrats wrote Thursday in a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. ‘We encourage swift implementation of the gainful employment regulation and would be concerned with any efforts to weaken the proposal.’

In their haste to see the Department of Education implement the gainful employment rule, some Democrats have overlooked an important point –the gainful employment rule will harm the very people who most deserve increased access to higher education.  Students at for-profit schools are disproportionately low-income and minority students who come from working class families.  These hardworking students from non-traditional backgrounds are often not privileged with the same means, support systems or opportunity as their peers who attend traditional colleges and universities.  That may explain why “for-profit colleges make up roughly 10 percent of college students but 44 percent of student loan defaults.”

Those who have argued for the gainful employment rule have consistently failed to look at the statistics within the context of the type of students’ attending for-profit higher education.  Many of those engaged in this debate have ignored that these students enrolled in the for-profit sector come from at-risk backgrounds where the non-traditional approaches and flexible schedules of for-profit education make graduation a possibility.  These students deserve our support, especially in this recession.

Without for-profit schools, many low-income and minority students would not have an option in higher education.  Access to higher education remains an issue that rule-makers and their supporters should take into account before they cut off support for thousands of students.

Larry Penley Ph.D

http://larrypenley.com/2010/09/14/jousting-over-higher-ed/

Under attack for high student default rates, the for-profit sector is fighting back with a  report (pdf) by the Nexus Research and Policy Center that hits proposed Education Department regulations that would limit recruiting and student loan eligibility.

Jorge Klor de Alva, former president of the University of Phoenix and now president of Nexus, calls the attack on for-profits a “witch hunt” in a guest post on The College Puzzle.

For-profit colleges and universities, the fastest growing segment of American higher education, are being accused by the media, the Department of Education, Wall Street’s short sellers, and Congress of deception, greed and a failure to comply with regulations. These accusations rest on only the barest of evidence, relying primarily on anecdotes. In fact, two Government Accountability Office studies this year, one covering thousands of schools since 1998, found only 37 for-profit institutions in violation of Departmental regulations.

The “gainful employment” rule would exclude hundreds of thousands of teaching, nursing, and public safety students, Klor de Alva writes. Applied to the public and nonprofit private colleges, it would “remove so many programs from eligibility for federal financial aid that it could lead to the possible closure of 40% of community colleges, 90% of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and 45% of campuses where Hispanic students constitute more than 25% of the students.”

Only the for-profit higher education sector “can grow sufficiently to accommodate the millions of students the nation must educate to remain globally competitive,” Klor de Alva argues. Furthermore, this comes at “no cost to taxpayers” because the for-profit educators’ taxes and the interest students pay on their federal loans exceeds the dollar value of the Pell Grants and other government subsidies received by students and institutions.

Without a robust for-profit sector, it would cost nearly a trillion dollars to reach President Obama’s goal of being the first in the world in degree attainment by 2020, the Nexus report estimates.

All institutions of higher education should measure the learning outcomes of their students and publish those results, Klor de Alva writes. “Then at last taxpayers would have the data needed to distinguish good from bad performers, making for the efficient disbursement of local, state and federal education subsidies.”

I’d love to see an objective study of subsidies going to public, nonprofit private and for-profit colleges and universities. Which sector costs taxpayers the most? What kind of return are taxpayers getting on the investment?

Objective is the key word. Nexus is funded by the University of Phoenix and the John G. Sperling Foundation, reports Washington Monthly’s College Guide. John Sperling is the executive chairman of the Apollo Group, which owns the University of Phoenix.

By Ronald L. Holt, Esq., Partner

The author is an attorney practicing in the Higher Education practice at the firm of Dunn & Davison, LLC.

On July 26, 2010, the U.S. Department of Education (“DOE”) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (the “GE NPRM”) that proposes a two-part ‘gainful employment’ test (the “GE Standards”) intended to be used to measure Title IV eligibility of the following academic programs:

(1) ALL Title IV eligible academic degree and non-degree programs offered by for profit institutions (excluding any liberal arts baccalaureate degree program); and

(2) All Title IV eligible non-degree programs offered by any nonprofit and public institutions (mostly community colleges).

Assuming the final version of the GE regulations is published by November 1, 2010, the regulation would become effective as of July 1, 2011. By its current terms, however, it will not apply to most programs until July 1, 2012 but on July 1, 2011 it will be applied to the lowest 5th percentile in performance of each kind of program (as explained in Part H below on page 11). The GE NPRM is published at 75 Federal Register 43615-43708 (July 26, 2010); it can be accessed at

http://www.ifap.ed.gov/fregisters/FR072610ProgramIntegrity.html

A separate NPRM, which was issued on June 18, 2010 and which covers a wide range of proposed new ‘integrity’ regulations, establishes new requirements for colleges to make disclosures to students and the DOE about various components of the GE Standards. For each program, the institution must annually report its CIP code (Classification of Instructional Programs), the SOC codes (standard occupational code) of occupations for which the program provides training, the graduates in the institution’s last fiscal year and the federal and private debt of those graduates. The institution also must disclose to all students: the cost of each program, the on-time graduation rate of each program, the median debt load for each program (as defined in the GE Standards), and the placement rate for each program beginning by June 30, 2013.
Click here to read entire article.
Email Ron at rholt@dunndavison.com.

Sent to you on behalf of The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale President Chuck Nagele:

As you know, The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale has been a longtime supporter of your organization and the good work you do.  As an education provider, we not only feel the responsibility to help shape the lives of our students, but also to shape the community we call home.  The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale takes tremendous pride in providing our students the education and skills they need to make an impact in the workplace, and in tandem with you, we also work to provide them opportunities to have an impact on the lives of those around us.   Simply put, we value our association with your organization, as well as the opportunities it affords our students.

At present, our schools are fighting an important policy issue that has the potential to greatly limit opportunities for our students and, thus, limit our ability to give back to our community.  The Department of Education has proposed a rule, deceptively named “Gainful Employment,” that could potentially restrict access to Title IV student loans necessary for most low/moderate-income students.  Under the proposed rule, a program’s eligibility for financial assistance is determined under a series of arbitrary and loosely researched metrics.  Students’ access to financial assistance would be restricted, preventing the student from attending the career program and thereby eliminating future opportunities to partner with your organization.  In fact, one study, conducted by a University of Chicago economist Jonathan Guryan, estimated that 360,000 students would be impacted by the proposed rule.

We respectfully request your assistance.  Please log on to: http://www.aiactioncenter.com
and follow the prompts. You can simply choose the paragraph you would like, add a comment, if you wish, and then hit sent. They will automatically send your letter to the legislators.

Thank you, again, for the work your organization does, and for the strong relationship you have with our school.  We value this partnership, and appreciate your willingness to assist us at this important time.  Should you have any questions about the “Gainful Employment” rule or our letter request, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Sincerely,

Chuck Nagele
President, The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale