Outside Hill, Moody’s Warns of More College Closings

DC Shuttle …

Moody Says College Closures will Increase. Moody’s Investor Service released a private report which projected that by 2017, the closure rate of small colleges is likely to be triple that of the past decade. The report said there would be declining enrollment, particularly among the small private colleges. The closure rate of small colleges was relatively low during the past decade, according the report, averaging five institutions closing per year. The number of mergers averaged two to three in that period, and that rate will more than double by 2017, according to the report.

Education Department Releases English Language Learner Toolkit. The U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice released a toolkit as guidance for states, districts and schools teaching English language learners and for meeting legal obligations. English learners and their rights have been a focus of the Obama administration. The EL Tool Kit is a companion to the English Learner Guidance released jointly by departments in January. The Education Department is also developing a toolkit specifically for educators who work with immigrant English-learners who are new to the country, which could be released as soon as December. Across the country, English language learners make up about 10% of all public school students.

Bill Introduced but Perkins Loan Program Set to Expire. Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced a bill to save the Perkins Loan program before it is set to expire on Sept. 30. The legislation would extend the Perkins Loan Program for one year. It would also extend other higher education provisions scheduled to sunset at the end of the month. To pay for the extension, the measure would limit the number of years that this year’s recipients receive loans. The House is expected to pass the measure this week, but it’s unclear whether the Senate will take it up for consideration, Inside Higher Ed reports.

Community College Loan Default Report. The Association of Community College Trustees released a report that reinforces the finding that community college students are more likely to default on their loans. While community college students take out more small loans, they are also more likely not to make a single payment and default. The report uses data from all 16 community colleges in Iowa to examine the characteristics of community college student borrowing and repayment behavior. The national default rate for community college students three years after they enter repayment is 21% compared to the overall average of 14%, according to Inside Higher Ed. The publication also detailed a report which criticized community colleges on their readiness for free community college proposals.

Sexual Assault Survey. The American Association of Universities released the results of a survey that found that one in four female undergraduates has experienced sexual assault. Inside Higher Ed reported on the survey and the debate surrounding the best definitions to use when gathering sexual assault data.

Former Governors’ HEA Recommendations. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Governors’ Council released a report with their recommendations for key objectives for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). They said there should be no maintenance of effort requirement for states to meet funding levels in order to get federal financial aid. The report also calls for unlinking federal financial aid from the credit hour.

Arne Duncan Profile. Politico published a profile of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who has served since the beginning of President Obama’s administration six and a half years ago.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of Sept. 28, 2015. Founded in 1925, the New England Council is a nonpartisan alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the New England region. The Council’s mission is to identify and support federal public policies and articulate the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.



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