“nearly half of the students given loans don’t graduate even after six years.”
“nearly half of the students given loans don’t graduate even after six years.”
“The study provides yet more evidence that the recent move to ditch SAT and ACT test requirements in favor of a higher emphasis on nonacademic measurements will end up hurting low-income students rather than helping them. While a move away from standardized testing has been hailed as a move to increase racial and economic equality, a greater reliance on admissions essays, extracurriculars, and teacher ratings will make it harder for talented yet disadvantaged students to prove themselves when applying to elite universities. One 2021 study backed this up, finding that student essays were more closely correlated with income than SAT scores.”
“According to an analysis from the Penn Wharton Budget Model, the new plan is expected to cost around $360 billion over the next decade—a staggering price tag, though not quite as much as the over $500 billion predicted cost of one-time student loan forgiveness.”
“the SAVE plan radically reduces monthly payments—and the time required before forgiveness. Under the plan, borrowers only pay 5 percent of discretionary income, which is now defined as earnings above 225 percent of the poverty rate. Borrowers only have to make 10 years of payments before forgiveness, if the balance is less than $12,000. Further, interest will not accrue on borrowers’ loan balances when their monthly payments are not enough to cover interest.”
“The immediate question in the two lawsuits before the Supreme Court — Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students For Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina — was whether the Supreme Court should overrule Grutter v. Bollinger, the 2003 case that held that race may play a limited role in college admissions. In practice, race often functions as a tiebreaker when universities are deciding among many well-qualified students.
According to Vox’s Ian Millhiser, the decision does not explicitly overrule the Court’s previous decisions permitting affirmative action, but it will almost certainly have the same effect as a total ban.
The overarching stakes in these cases, however, are much broader. The plaintiffs advocated a “colorblind” theory of the Constitution that would prohibit the government from considering race in virtually any context, including efforts to voluntarily integrate racially segregated grade schools and other institutions. Decisions such as Grutter have given the government limited authority to foster racial diversity. The Harvard and UNC decision is likely to eliminate that authority altogether.”
“Affirmative action has been used for more than half a century by colleges and universities, initially to encourage the participation of historically marginalized groups and mitigate the effects of decades of segregation by university systems. Since the landmark Regents of the University of California v. Bakke case in 1978, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that such programs can be used as a tool to foster diversity among a university’s student body, and that an applicant’s race or ethnic background could be deemed a plus when deciding between applicants who are similarly qualified. The Court determined that students from underrepresented racial backgrounds could “promote beneficial educational pluralism” that benefits all students — a goal compelling enough to the justices that they have continued its use. Since Bakke, the Court has upheld affirmative action in admissions despite multiple challenges, including Fisher v. University of Texas, decided as recently as 2016, in which Abigail N. Fisher, a white woman, claimed that she was rejected from the University of Texas at Austin because of preferences given to applicants of color.
Although decades of research support the conclusion that more diverse campuses benefit all students, the premise of the “colorblindness” theory is that race-conscious policies are so inherently misguided that they cannot be sustained regardless of their benefits. This theory has been around for a very long time — President Andrew Johnson, the white supremacist who spent much of his time in office frustrating Reconstruction, vetoed laws seeking to lift up enslaved people who had been freed because he claimed they would “establish for the security of the colored race safeguards which go infinitely beyond any that the General Government has ever provided for the white race.” More recently, conservatives including President Ronald Reagan have made similar attacks on affirmative action — often describing such programs as “reverse discrimination.”
Now, this kind of rhetoric is being echoed by Blum (who was, notably, also involved in the Fisher case). “In a multi-racial, multi-ethnic nation like ours, the college admissions bar cannot be raised for some races and ethnic groups but lowered for others,” Blum said in a statement in January. “Our nation cannot remedy past discrimination and racial preferences with new discrimination and different racial preferences.””
“The bill also limits tenure protections for faculty members. Tenure is a lifetime academic appointment granted to professors who meet designated requirements and can be terminated only for cause or under extraordinary circumstances. Under the law, there must be a post-tenure review of state university faculty every five years to assess accomplishments and productivity, teaching duties, student evaluations, compensation, and potential improvement plans. Faculty members do not have the right to appeal grievances beyond the university president.
University presidents are now responsible for hiring, disciplining, and firing the school provost, deans, and full-time faculty. The law specifically instructs presidents to not be bound by the recommendations or opinions of faculty members when making hiring decisions. As part of their expanded role, presidents must also present yearly performance evaluations and salaries of any personnel earning more than $200,000 to the board of trustees.
Together, the law strengthens the powers of university leaders and weakens the autonomy of faculty members. The bill threatens academic freedom, according to AAUP, since it limits the teaching of certain topics in the general education curriculum and halts funding for DEI measures, among other limitations. Faculty told the AAUP that the laws are “Orwellian” and that Florida is a “canary in a coal mine.””
“This new wave of bills targets a long-standing and common standard of job protection for college and university professors, meant to ensure freedom of thought among academics and insulate them from political attacks. The bills that are emerging this year are part of a broader trend among conservative legislatures attacking perceived liberal teachings in high schools and public universities: Last year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law that would require professors at public universities in the state to undergo a tenure review process every five years, saying that tenure promotes “intellectual orthodoxy.” Other Republican state leaders like Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have since taken up the mantle, arguing that higher-level education is a place of liberal indoctrination and a source of “societal division.”
But the debate is about more than whether professors get to keep their jobs for life: It’s yet another sign that state-level Republicans are doubling down on appealing to their base. The partisan divide between those who go to college and those who do not is one of the firmest divides in American politics today, and it has reinforced diverging attitudes about the value of higher education itself and the role it plays in American life. Republican voters are increasingly suspicious of colleges and universities, and attacks on tenure are just the latest way the party is stoking those concerns.”
“Opponents of measures like the ones proposed in Texas and Ohio — and the law passed in Florida last year — are concerned that eliminating tenure will make educators vulnerable to politically motivated firings.”
“Student loan payments have been paused since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. However, in the three years since the pause began, the economic and legal justification for the continued moratorium has grown increasingly weak.
Not only has the economy recovered in full force—leading to the lowest unemployment rate in over 50 years—but President Joe Biden himself has declared that “the pandemic is over.” Yet, student loan payments are still paused—with the same, flimsy justification that the pandemic emergency rages on and student loan borrowers simply can’t be expected to shoulder the unsurmountable burden of paying back their loans, especially with a Supreme Court ruling on sweeping student loan forgiveness eminent.
However, a new legal challenge has emerged to try to end the absurdity.”
“The HEROES Act was passed in 2003 and allows the federal government to provide student loan relief to college students who withdraw from school in order to enter active military duty during a time of “war or other military operation or national emergency.”
While the Department of Education has long claimed that the COVID pandemic presents such a national emergency, the lawsuit contends that a yearslong student loan repayment pause is simply out of the HEROES Act’s scope.
The Act was explicitly designed to help a very specific group of Americans—those that leave school to serve in a war. “Recasting the HEROES Act from a statute permitting limited modifications for targeted groups (primarily those serving in the military during wartime) to one that can suspend payments and cancel interest for all 45 million borrowers is a change so significant” that it fundamentally revises the statue, the lawsuit states.”
“The student loan repayment moratorium is one of the strangest holdovers of the COVID-era government spending spree. Whatever economic—and legal—justification to suspend loan repayment has long since expired, making each new extension seem more bizarre than the last.
In the meantime, the cost of the payment pause keeps ticking up. As the lawsuit notes, “The Moratorium has been wiping out $5 billion of assets owned by the United States every month for the past 32 months without any statutory authorization or appropriation, at a cumulative cost to taxpayers of $160 billion and counting.””