The University of Alaska made headlines after Alaska Governor Mike. J. Dunleavy used a line-item veto to cut $130 million from the system's budget -- 41% of its state funding. On July 12, university advocates failed to collect the three-fourths majority vote needed in the state legislature to overturn the veto. The cuts could have repercussions for climate change research; the University of Alaska Fairbanks produces more research papers on the Arctic than any other institution in the world.
Other public university systems are also facing budget cuts. The University of Puerto Rico's funding was slashed by $86 million this year, adding to the $44 million cut in 2018 and $203 million in 2017. The U.S. territory's financial oversight board, established by Congress in 2016, plans to trim the school's budget to under $400 million by 2022 -- a total of 56%.
Tennessee State University is also struggling after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges put it on one-year accreditation probation. TSU failed to demonstrate it was using data to improve student outcomes -- one of 25 standards accredited colleges must meet.
In response to a spate of private college closures across the U.S., The Atlantic published an exploration of the closure of Newbury College in Brookline, Massachusetts. The college closed due to budgetary issues. To read about another private college in crisis, check out Jonathan W.'s article about Hampshire College.
The Data is In
2019's States With the Most and Least Student Debt
Wallet Hub has released a study comparing student debt rates across all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Their findings rank South Dakota, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia among the states with the highest rates of debt, while Utah, Hawaii, and California have the lowest.
These Are the People Struggling the Most to Pay Back Student Loans
According to new data from the U.S. Department of Education, the demographic defaulting the most often on student loans are those with debts under $10,000 who didn't complete their degrees. Black students, Pell Grant recipients, and those who attended for-profit colleges also have high default rates.
Top U.S. B-School Students Pile on Debt to Earn MBAs
A Bloomberg Businessweek survey of 10,000 MBA graduates across 126 schools found that one in five MBA students (18%) incur debts above $100,000, including more than 40% of those at top U.S. schools. To learn more about MBA degrees, check out Reece Johnson's analysis on the Future of the MBA.
2019 Economics of Education Report
According to data from a recent GiveCampus survey, college graduates with debt are three times more likely to donate to their alma maters than those without debt. The survey also found that people are three times more likely to donate to a nonprofit than to their alma mater.
Speaking of Loans
Colleges Should Cosign Student Loans
Carlo Salerno at Inside Higher Ed argues that universities should be required to co-sign on the Title IV federal loans they encourage students to take on. This will incentivize colleges to keep tuition low and post-graduation employment high. For more information about applying for federal loans, check out Jonathan W.'s rundown of FAFSA deadlines.
Don't Take on Mom's Debt (Even If It's For Your Education)
In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Michelle Singletary argues that students shouldn't refinance their parents' PLUS loans in their own names. Instead, she suggests looking into federal direct consolidation loans and Income-Contingent Repayment Plans.
Student Loans May Not Die Even If You Do
Speaking of Parent PLUS loans, Forbes' Robert Farrington explains the practice of federal loan forgiveness after a student dies -- which comes with a 1099-C income tax bill.
Erasing Your Student Loans Could Be as Easy as Fleeing the U.S. for 20 Years
If your student debt burden is just too much, Alli Conti at Vice has a suggestion: Flee abroad, where you can use the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion tax credit to reduce your income-based repayment plan to $0 per month, and seek loan forgiveness 20 years later. At least, in theory -- nobody can test this until 2033.
California to Pay Off Student Loans for Medi-Cal Doctors
To incentivize doctors to accept more patients with Medi-Cal -- the state's Medicaid healthcare program -- California is spending nearly $60 million to pay off their medical school debts.
A 'Second Chance' After 27 Years in Prison
The New York Times tells the story of Maurice Smith, who graduated from Goucher College this year thanks to the Obama-era education initiative Second Chance Pell, which grants inmates access to higher education through federal Pell grants. The Trump administration has pledged $28 million to extend the program through next year.
UT Austin Offers Free Tuition for Low Income Students
Thanks to a new endowment, the University of Texas Austin will expand its existing Texas Advance Commitment program to offer free tuition to in-state students whose families make less than $65,000 per year.
In Other News
Boosting Degree Completion with Blockchain
Arizona State University is using blockchain -- a system used in cryptocurrency -- to develop a more secure way to communicate student records between participating universities and community colleges. The school hopes this new system will help track student credits between schools and increase graduation rates.
Brigham Young University Changes Honor Code
After student protests, Brigham Young University -- a notoriously strict religious school associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- has revised their stance on student misconduct. For more information about religious colleges, check out my guide to assessing religious schools as a secular student.
Ignoring Emails from Colleges Could Hurt Students' Chances at Being Accepted
A recent article from Newsweek interviewing college admissions counselors revealed that students not opening emails from potential universities may have an adverse effect on their college acceptance rates. For more insight into the admissions process, check out Veronica Freeman's interview with an admissions counselor.