Changes to Higher Education Act

Higher Education Act, FAFSA, Financial Aid

Ivy Coach is cited in today’s “The Harvard Crimson,” the newspaper of Harvard University (photo credit: Chensiyuan).

As congressional Republicans push to pass a reauthorization bill to the Higher Education Act, many believe the changes to the act would significantly curtail the ability of low and middle-income students to receive financial aid. We at Ivy Coach are among them. In fact, in an article out today in “The Harvard Crimson,” the newspaper of Harvard University, we are quoted asserting as much. As Delano R. Franklin and Kristine E. Guillaume write in their piece entitled “Faust Raises Concerns About Higher Ed Act’s Changes to Student Aid,” “Brian Taylor, managing director of Ivy Coach, a college admissions counseling company, said the overhaul of the Higher Education Act would raise costs for low- and middle-income college students and be especially difficult for graduate students. ‘It’s going to significantly hurt middle- and lower-income students, which are exactly the kind of students that schools like Harvard are trying to attract,’ Taylor said.”

Analysis of the Proposed Changes to Higher Education Act

The reauthorization bill will invariably increase the cost to subsidize a college education for those students receiving federal aid. And why? Because, while students are attending school, the government would no longer be paying interest on loans. But that’s not all. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which allows students who enter public service jobs to repay their loans within ten years of their graduation, would go bye bye (as would the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants program). As but one example, think about all of those graduate students at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. They will not be too happy about these changes — nor will many graduate students since it’ll become more difficult for all graduate students to subsidize their educations.

But the real kicker is that the bill will let loose for-profit colleges as it eases restrictions and regulations placed on these ‘institutions.’ For those not familiar with for-profit colleges (frankly, we don’t write about them much on the pages of our college admissions blog — nor should we!), maybe you know them from the commercials or from riding a subway in your city. You know. Maybe the ad goes something like this: “DeVry University. Programs built for your life.” Or “University of Phoenix. New tuition guarantee.”

If Lori Greiner is the Queen of QVC, then Betsy DeVos is the Queen of the For-Profit College.

The for-profit college industry is a big fan of our Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. In fact, the person she appointed to police fraud in higher education is a former for-profit official. We wonder if he’ll be returning to the for-profit college sector after his government work? And while students won’t exactly be deciding between attending Harvard and attending DeVry, when the reauthorization bill makes it increasingly difficult for students to subsidize the cost of a four-year college education across the spectrum of American four-year universities, these for-profit colleges will sweep in and try to snag some of these students to attend their schools online universities.

Time will tell if the reauthorization bill will pass. It passed a House committee in late 2017 but it’s still awaiting a House or Senate vote. Do our readers think it will pass? Do our readers think the bill will make it more difficult for students to receive financial aid? Let us know your thoughts on the bill, your feelings, your intuitions, and what you ate for dessert last night by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!


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