Federal Policy & Reform
Teachers Fight for Student Loan Debt Relief
NPR investigation finds thousands of borrowers wrongly denied federal forgiveness
(EWA Radio: Episode 217)
Two federal programs intended to steer college students toward public service jobs like teaching in high-poverty schools instead became mired in missteps, as recipients found their grants wrongly converted into high-interest loans. Cory Turner of NPR’s education team spent 18 months looking at problems with the TEACH Grant program.
EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This year’s event in Orlando will explore an array of timely topics of interest to journalists from across the country, with a thematic focus on with a thematic focus on the vital roles that education and journalism play in democratic societies.
The push for free college is a recognition that the most well-traveled economic path to good jobs and the middle class requires at least some college for the vast majority of young Americans. It is also a response to the reality that many students and their families are taking on large amounts of debt to finance increasingly pricey postsecondary educations.
Some low-income college students are among the 688,000 food stamp recipients projected to lose benefits as a result of a Trump administration rule announced Dec. 4. While the rule explicitly targets “able-bodied adults without dependents,” it also limits food assistance for a share of college students at a time when campuses across the country are grappling with how to respond to food insecurity.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Tuesday the Federal Student Aid office — an arm of the Education Department she called an “untamed beast” in “distress” — should operate as a stand-alone entity.
The proposal follows a series of missteps involving the office that intensified scrutiny of DeVos’s leadership, including the release of $11 million in loans to unaccredited for-profit colleges and the violation of a court order to halt collections on former Corinthian Colleges students.
Denise had no idea her student loans could be erased. In 2007, a truck rear-ended her car. The accident ravaged her legs and back, and the pain made it impossible for her to work.
“I have basically been in pain — chronic pain — every day,” says Denise, who asked that NPR not use her full name to protect her privacy. “I live a life of going to doctors constantly.”
The U.S. Department of Education agreed to hand over department records late Thursday to Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House education committee, just hours before Scott was set to subpoena Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for the records.
The information relates to the Education Department’s unwillingness to fully forgive the federal student loans of borrowers who say they were defrauded by for-profit colleges, including the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges.
If DACA Ends, What Happens to Students and Schools?
Final decision pending after U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on program for undocumented children
(EWA Radio: Episode 138)
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case challenging President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). The program has temporarily protected some 800,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children from being deported. While a key focus is college-age students who fear deportation, ending DACA has significant repercussions for the K-12 school community as well. In this 2017 episode of EWA Radio, soon after Trump announced his plans to unwind DACA, Corey Mitchell of Education Week and Katie Mangan of The Chronicle of Higher Education discussed the potential implications.
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg unveiled a plan Friday to make tuition at four-year public colleges free for families earning up to $100,000. The move is part of a package of new economic policies aimed at boosting the fortunes of middle- and working-class Americans and positioning Buttigieg as a clear alternative to more liberal candidates.
Many Political Battles Over Higher Education Boil Down to Money
Partisans dispute how, how much, or even whether, taxpayers should support colleges
The political fault lines of higher education extend far beyond headline-grabbing student protests and furor over controversial speakers.
In fact, that sound and fury often distracts from a more practical political issue facing higher education today: How should Americans pay for college? Should students themselves bear the full costs of their education or should taxpayers help keep costs low? And if so, how should the burden be apportioned between state and federal taxes?
Colleges Struggle to Adapt to Changing Demographics
More diverse student body poses challenges in admissions, teaching and counseling
Quick: Picture a “typical” college student. Are you envisioning a young person wearing a college sweatshirt, living in a dorm and attending school full time?
Try again: Full-time students who live on campus account for less than 15 percent of all undergraduates, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
At a recent Education Writers Association seminar, three experts on student demographics suggested that investigations into changes to the makeup of the nation’s undergraduate student body can spark fresh and impactful stories.
Betsy DeVos Is Held in Contempt Over Judge’s Order on Loan Collection
Erica L. Green and Stacy Cowley
A federal judge on Thursday fined Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for contempt of court, ruling that she had violated an order to stop collecting on loans owed by students from a now-defunct for-profit chain of colleges.
No Forgiveness: Teachers Struggle With Unfair Student Loan Debt
Two federal programs under scrutiny, as thousands of borrowers caught in administrative missteps
(EWA Radio: Episode 217)
Two federal programs that were supposed to steer college students to public service jobs like teaching in high-poverty schools instead became mired in missteps, as the recipients unexpectedly found their grants wrongly converted into high-interest loans. Cory Turner of NPR’s education team spent 18 months looking at problems with the TEACH Grant program, and his findings helped spur the U.S. Department of Education to reverse course.
The Trump administration’s new plan to make it harder for immigrants receiving public benefits to receive green cards could have sweeping implications for students and schools.
The Education Writers Association presented this webinar to help reporters with story ideas and provide resources for covering the educational impact of the recently announced ”public charge” rule.
Word on the Beat: Busing
What reporters need to know about school desegregation efforts -- past and present
School segregation is a hot-button issue on the education beat. One strategy to address it, busing, has drawn widespread attention since a recent debate among Democratic presidential candidates.
In the latest installment of Word on the Beat, we explore what reporters need to know about campus reassignments to diversify schools — whether voluntary or mandatory – and how those efforts might impact students and communities.
Summer Story Ideas on the Education Beat
Tips for tapping national issues to fuel localized reporting
(EWA Radio: Episode 209)
School might be out, but that doesn’t mean education issues take a vacation: Two experienced education journalists offer compelling story ideas to beat the summertime blues. Delece Smith-Barrow of The Hechinger Report and Lauren Camera of U.S. News & World Report join this week’s podcast to discuss a wide range of national topics ripe for localized summer coverage.
Top 10 Higher Education Story Ideas for 2019-20
Inside Higher Ed's Scott Jaschik says admissions, free speech and rising graduation rates will make headlines.
While the hottest higher education story of early 2019 involved celebrities trying to bribe their kids’ way into elite colleges, many other important stories are likely to make news in the 2019-20 academic year, according to Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Ed.
The veteran higher education journalist and editor listed the 10 topics he thinks every higher education reporter should be ready to cover in the coming months.
The Surprising Real-World Impacts of Edu-Jargon Debates
Washington's battles over the definitions of terms like "credit hour" could affect millions of college students.
Millions of Americans could be affected by ongoing inside-the-beltway debates over the exact definitions of wonky terms such as ”credit hour” or “gainful employment,” according to two veteran Washington policy insiders.
The 2018 midterm “blue wave” that split party control of the U.S. Congress and narrowed the Republican edge among governors to 27-23 will likely mean political battles over several higher education issues.
What’s Betsy DeVos Up To?
School safety, student loans, and Title IX on front burner as U.S. Secretary of Education begins her third year
(EWA Radio: Episode 197)
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, now one of President Trump’s longest-serving cabinet members, shows no signs she’s contemplating stepping down before the president’s first term ends. Alyson Klein of Education Week and Emily Wilkins of Bloomberg Government discuss regulatory rollbacks by the U.S. Department of Education on issues including how campus sexual assault claims are handled and consumer protections for student financial aid. They also explore the new political dynamics now that Democrats control the U.S. House of Representatives, with Rep. Bobby Scott chairing the Committee on Education and Labor. What are the odds of Congress passing the long-overdue reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, for example? Plus, Klein and Wilkins identify hot topics that local reporters should keep on their radar, including ESSA implementation by states and whether a federal infrastructure package would provide money for school construction.