Connect with us

Student Loans

Where Is Higher Education Headed in 2020?



What a year 2020 has been so far, and we’re only halfway through! What excitement awaits us July through December? Maybe we don’t want to know.

One of the funnier visual comments I’ve seen about this year is a picture showing the two main stars from the movie Back to The Future: Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and “Doc” Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd). Doc is seated inside the stainless steel DeLorean car-time machine and is instructing Marty on how to use it. With great seriousness, Doc tells Marty, “Rule #1: Never set it to 2020!” How true. Let’s go back to the Eighties!

For higher education, 2020 has been — and will be — a year to forget on multiple fronts. Of course the big front is COVID-19, which has also affected every other level of education as well as almost everyone else on the planet in some way. As we enter the summer months, colleges and universities are forming and finalizing their plans for fall semester.

A large percentage (almost two-thirds) are planning on bringing students back to campus. Some have decided to continue exclusively with online classes, others will go “hybrid” using both approaches, and some are still deciding. The fallout from the pandemic has colored just about every facet of higher education and caused much dislocation and reassessment.

However, other trends are at work that will also have significant impacts on how schools will continue to manage their strategic plans. We should keep those in mind, too, and not allow the huge scale of the coronavirus drama to distract us from these factors. Here are some details about that from 7 higher education trends to watch in 2020, as described by Education Dive’s Jeremy Bauer-Wolf.

First of all, what are those seven?

– College closures and mergers

– Effects of deregulation

– Higher ed and the 2020 election

– Adult students and online learning

– Workforce development initiatives

– Standardized testing under fire

– Scrutiny in admissions

College Closures and Mergers

I don’t have space to discuss all seven, but I do have some comments about three of them. I’ve discussed college closings and mergers before, but Bauer-Wolf notes:

A rash of factors is threatening the financial health of small institutions, particularly in New England and the Midwest, where several shut their doors last year.

Moody’s Investors Service predicts around 15 closures for 2020. High-profile cases such as the abrupt demise of Mount Ida College in 2018 have drawn policymakers to this issue. Despite the clout of Massachusetts’ private colleges, the state legislature late last year passed a unique law that increased oversight of their finances and could help alert state regulators to an imminent closure. Pundits believe these measures could serve as a model for other jurisdictions

Some college operators have attempted to rebrand and even spin off their institutions as nonprofits, but 2019 showed potential roadblocks ahead for those trying to do so.

The consolidation trend is affecting some public systems, too. Recently, the University of Alaska System proposed merging its three accredited campuses into a single entity as a way to absorb the blow of massive state cuts, but that idea has since been rejected.

From my perspective, I think Moody’s number is low. My guess is nearer the two-dozen mark. I say that because of the combined effect of pandemic-related expenses, the national trend of dropping enrollment, and the increase in trade-related educational decisions. COVID-19 has caused a surge of financial consequences for both colleges and economically disadvantaged students and families, creating a vicious cycle of negative fallout.

Lost family jobs have damaged enrollment, which has cut schools’ revenue, thus requiring administrators to dramatically alter five-year plans. How higher educational institutions will deal with this remains to be seen, but the outlook is not bright. Alumni giving, endowments, financial aid reserves, tuition, etc. will likely dissipate and the impending economic downturn (some say depression) will demand that schools make significant changes to stay afloat. If they don’t or can’t, their future will be finite.

Standardized Testing Under Fire

What about the domino effect of colleges dropping the SAT and ACT as an admission requirement? This trend is sweeping the nation. reports that, currently, almost 1,300 colleges and universities don’t require the SAT or ACT as part of their application process. Bauer-Wolf observes:

Opponents of standardized testing in college admissions have framed the two assessments as exclusionary to minority and low-income students who may not be able to afford the same type of prep as their more affluent peers. They also may not have the time or transportation access to get to a testing site or the means to afford to take the test several times to improve their scores.

What may be the biggest development on the test-optional front so far came in 2019, when advocacy groups sued the University of California System over its use of the tests in admissions

Perhaps the main domino in all this is the Ivy League. All eight Ivy League schools, with Princeton being the last to decide, are now test-optional for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. One has to wonder how the trickle-down effect of this huge revenue loss will affect the Educational Testing Service, College Board, and American College Testing organizations. Will some of their associates be joining the unemployment lines?

Scrutiny in Admissions

The COVID-19 crisis certainly pushed the college admissions scandal out of the headlines and off front pages with a vengeance. Nothing elevates a scandal like a celebrity connection, and actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman propelled Varsity Blues into the stratosphere, dominating much of the news for most of the year preceding the coronavirus shutdown. As Bauer-Wolf says:

The Varsity Blues scandal shook the admissions field, exposing how the system was vulnerable to exploitation by wealthy and influential individuals who used their advantage to secure their children spots at elite institutions they may not have been qualified to attend.

In its wake, practitioners cited a need to reflect on, and even change, their practices.

Meanwhile, a long-running and controversial lawsuit against Harvard University for its use of affirmative action in admissions was decided this fall. A federal judge ruled that the university hadn’t been prejudicial in its admissions processes for Asian American students.

The decision was viewed as a win for efforts to protect widely-challenged policies that let colleges use race as a factor in admissions

As someone who has worked with many high school seniors on their college admissions processes, I’m certainly not naive enough to believe that getting into college is based exclusively on merit. However, speaking of domino effects once again, the Varsity Blues scandal, which is still ongoing, uncovered enough nefarious activity that now many colleges, in addition to the guilty ones, are working to correct any corruption, regardless of how slight, in their admission protocols.

Can the second half of 2020 be any more dramatic than the first half? Let’s hope not. There is definitely something to be said for “business as usual.”

Pending dramas to watch for will include how well colleges manage COVID-19-related issues when students return to campus. Also, what effects will economic and coronavirus factors have on college enrollment? And let’s not forget college sports. How will they play out, so to speak?

One final question: With the way things have been going so far this year, could we ever muster the courage to go back to the future? My advice: Don’t touch that dial!


By: Dave Berry
Title: Where Is Higher Education Headed in 2020?
Sourced From:
Published Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2020 13:19:04 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…

Continue Reading
Advertisement Attention Stock Investors

Student Loans




Continue Reading

Student Loans

Apply Online For Student Loans



Apply Online For Student Loans

Applying online for student loans is a convenient and efficient way to secure funding for your education. Whether you are facing financial difficulties or simply want to keep your debts to a minimum, student loans can help alleviate the financial burden while you focus on your studies.

One of the main advantages of student loans is that they typically offer lower interest rates compared to other types of loans. Additionally, repayment is often deferred until after you graduate, giving you time to establish your career and increase your income potential.

By applying online, you have access to a wider range of lenders, allowing you to compare different loan offers and choose the one that best suits your needs. Look for lenders offering competitive interest rates, flexible repayment terms, and any additional incentives that may be available.

Student loans can be used to cover various expenses related to your education, including tuition fees, housing, course materials, and living expenses. While your personal bank may be willing to provide a student loan, applying online gives you more options and potentially better terms.

However, it’s important to remember that student loans are still loans, and you should borrow responsibly. It’s advisable to budget regularly and avoid unnecessary purchases or luxuries to ensure you can manage your loan repayments in the future.

Before applying for student loans, explore other options such as scholarships, grants, or parental funding. These resources can help reduce the amount you need to borrow and minimize your financial obligations.

Lastly, it’s crucial to have confidence in your ability to secure a salary that will enable you to meet your loan repayments after graduation. Work hard to achieve the grades and qualifications necessary for your desired career, as this will increase your chances of finding a well-paying job.

In conclusion, applying online for student loans can provide you with the financial support needed to pursue your education. However, it’s important to borrow responsibly, explore other funding options, and plan for a successful career to ensure you can manage your loan repayments effectively.

Continue Reading

Student Loans

Webinar Recap: How COVID-19 is Affecting Financial Aid



Many families are facing new financial challenges in light of the coronavirus emergency, and College Confidential has fielded dozens of questions on this topic recently. To address those queries, we hosted a webinar on April 9 entitled “Paying for College Amid Changes Due to the Impact of COVID-19.”

During the event, moderated by Aaron Murphy, manager of learning and development with Inside Track, the following panelists offered their perspectives on the issue:

  • Denise Trusty, director of financial aid with Morehead State University
  • Laura Reisert Kalinkewicz, associate vice president of college partnerships with RaiseMe
  • Amy Nelson, director of sales at International Scholarship and Tuition Services
  • Charlie Javice, founder and CEO of Frank.

Check out the following topics that the panelists discussed, along with their views of how things may unfold amid the financial challenges brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.

Family Finances Changed? Contact Your Schools

If you plan to start college in the fall as a freshman — or return to school as an existing student — and your financial situation has changed since you applied for financial aid, you should contact the colleges on your list immediately. Financial aid departments can consider appeals for more money, but must base these decisions on each individual student’s situation, Trusty said.

“I know with Morehead State, where I work, we will be doing professional judgement calls on all students who say they’ve been affected,” she noted. “We will reach out to those students to see what we can do to help them maybe obtain additional funding, additional grants, scholarships, whatever they would be eligible for. We do professional judgment all the time for our students, because things happen all the time. This year will be an especially large amount of those, I’m sure, but those are up to individual schools to make that call for their students.”

In addition, she added, the Department of Education has set aside over $6 billion for additional grants and scholarships that the universities will be able to use. “Currently, I don’t know how that’s all going to play into this,” Trusty said. “So that will be up to each individual university on how they lay those out. I know it will be beneficial, I just don’t know how available that will be to each student.”

Keep in mind that schools are accustomed to reviewing financial aid appeals, and they all have processes in place for to do so. “It is really, really important to know that schools typically leave a budget from 10 percent to 20 percent or so of their financial aid dollars for what would be called a professional judgment bucket,”Javice said. “Therefore, there is additional money to be had, and it’s up to you to request it. You should approach your school as soon as you know you might need more money, and be prepared to show supporting documentation demonstrating how your finances are different from when you filed your FAFSA initially. This might require proof of a job loss, medical bills, a cut in pay or another such issue, Javice said.

In addition, if another school gave you a better financial offer, you can petition the school that gave you the lower offer for more money, Javice noted. “This typically works better for private institutions versus public state schools, given the fact that they have a little bit more discrepancy and more dollars to put to work in terms of a tuition discount,” she added. “This is solely up to the school on a case by case basis.” In some cases, the money is distributed on a first come, first serve timeline, so don’t wait if you know you need more aid.

Although financial aid can be a stressful topic, try not to be emotional when you request more money, Javice added. You’ll get a lot further by having organized documentation to present than you would by getting angry or upset, she noted.

Consider Outside Scholarships

The coronavirus situation has changed plans not only for incoming freshmen, but also for current college students, Nelson said. “Organizations are stepping up and trying to find ways to provide additional scholarship opportunities this year,” she noted. Students should be proactive in seeking those options.

Raise Me is offering new micro-scholarships for students who are seeking additional funding sources, Kalinkewicz said. In addition, she encourages students to ask colleges for more time to make decisions, even if the school hasn’t extended its deposit process. You can always try and request additional time to get your financial aid package right, she noted.

Finding more money is not relegated to younger students, Javice added. “Adult learners comprise the biggest group of people actually going to college today,” she noted. It’s very common for people to be seeking new types of skills and going back to college to gain additional degrees. Financial aid is available to adult learners, and they may even get aid to pay such costs as rent, she added. In addition, they can seek outside scholarships or employer-matching funds to pay for their educations.

Not Necessarily Too Late to File FAFSA

Students who didn’t file a FAFSA already should do that as soon as possible so you can get access to financial aid funds, Javice said. Federal FAFSA deadlines are usually in June, but states make their own deadlines for state aid. Some states, such as New Jersey, have moved their deadlines back for this year, so check to make sure you stay on top of your deadlines.

And if you file for financial aid and you decide you don’t want it, you can always decline the financial offer or portions of that offer, Nelson said. Your best bet is to apply so you can take what you need and decline any amounts you don’t need. Even if you don’t think you qualify for financial aid, you should apply anyway because you could be surprised at what you’re offered. “You really need to complete that [FAFSA] process every year,” Nelson said. “The process is very easy, and jobs can come and go. It’s your safety net and you want to make sure you’ve completed it. It makes it a whole lot easier when situations like this arise.”

Some colleges also have supplemental applications to fill out for particular types of aid, so always reach out to your financial aid office for information on which documentation you should be completing, Kalinkewicz said.

Could Families — Not Schools — Be in the Driver’s Seat?

Because many merit scholarships are based on test scores and GPAs, some high school juniors are concerned that they won’t have access to those in the coming year. With test dates being canceled and grades moving to pass/fail, they fear they won’t meet the criteria to earn such scholarships.

“It’s clear to me that colleges and universities know the extraordinary circumstances we’re under,” Nelson said. “All schools are leaning forward and considering all options as the situation develops. I would continue to encourage juniors to stay engaged and stay informed.” You should also watch to see what happens with test dates, she said. The ACT and SAT dates could change, and some schools may forego the need for a test score altogether, she added.

In addition, some merit scholarships that have traditionally been based on test scores may become test optional, Kalinkewicz noted.

Keep in mind that in many cases, families are in the driver’s seat rather than having the colleges be in charge, Javice said. Some schools have lost revenue and are very eager for students right now, “so if you are scared because you thought you could never get into a specific school from an admission criteria standpoint, this is your year to stretch, this is your year to think about the schools that are your reach category and go for it, because schools need the money and need the students. So the power that used to be in an admissions office is in you, the student or the family’s hands,” she said.

She also advises juniors to request application waivers from schools to save the $50 to $100 or so per application that they would normally pay. The schools may say no, but it won’t hurt to ask, she advised. “Persistence is key when dealing with schools,” Javice noted.

Federal Student Loans Payment Suspended

As many families are aware, payments on federal student loans are automatically suspended from March 13 through September 30, 2020 thanks to the government’s CARES Act. This is essential to keep in mind, particularly for families that have multiple children in various stages of the college process.

“You will stop paying your loans and you will have zero interest from now until September 30, and that’s important for parents to know,” Nelson said regarding existing federal student loans. “If you had an auto draft, the auto draft has been shut off and will not continue. You can, however, continue to make those payments if you’d like, and any interest you had before March 13, once that interest is paid up, all your payments will go directly toward your principal.” She advises families with federally-backed loans to check with their loan servicing agents, because they have a lot of information for both parent and student borrowers on how the CARES Act will impact payments for the next six months.

Student Job Gone? Colleges Might Help

For students who expect to earn money via part-time or full-time work to pay for college, but can’t do so due to the coronavirus, colleges may have resources to help. “There are many colleges and universities that have put together emergency grants for students to cover expenses that they were maybe not expecting because of COVID-19,” Nelson said. “They are making accommodations to try and make up for that lost income for students.”

Trusty said Morehead State is continuing to pay students who were on federal work-study. “If they had a job, we are still paying them right now as if they were working, although they are not. In the summer, those funds will be flipped over to emergency grant funds. So we will make sure that our students are covered and can live as if they were employed with the work-study position.”

Some colleges have even made remote work available to students, Kalinkewicz added. Therefore, contact your financial aid office to determine if any accommodations are available to make up for lost student income whenever possible.

Consider Other Options to Save

If you are seeking ways to save money on college, you should also consider other resources, whether that means less expensive colleges, in-state options or potentially transferring down the road, Janice said. You can also save money by taking classes at a community college to pay a lower cost for your credits that can be transferred to a four-year college later.

“If you have that target institution in mind — maybe you’ve already been admitted there but your family has determined a year of community college will really help stretch things further — work on articulation agreements or a plan so you are taking the right classes that actually have the ability to transfer toward the degree you want at your target institution, not necessarily just as credit,” Kalinkewicz said.

In addition, many colleges offer merit aid for transfer students, she added. So always look for every potential financial aid and scholarship resource to best maximize your package and allow your dollars to stretch as far as possible.

Resource: To review the entire hour-long webinar, you can watch the replay here.

Share Your Thoughts

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Check out our forum to contribute to the conversation!

By: Torrey Kim
Title: Webinar Recap: How COVID-19 is Affecting Financial Aid
Sourced From:
Published Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2020 15:22:20 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…

Continue Reading