Another week of student loans and college graduation rates

33 Million Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), there are more than 33 million workers who qualify to have their student loans forgiven because they work in schools, hospitals or city halls. Despite this huge number, few take advantage of the options because the programs are confusing and complicated.

“Teachers, soldiers, firefighters, policeman – public sector careers invariably involve some effort, some inconvenience or some sacrifice. People give up higher incomes to serve their city, their state or their country,” said Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB to the Associated Press. “We believe that people who contribute part of their talents, part of the benefits of their education, to society as a whole should not be mired in debt because they stir themselves to the calling of public service.”

The Bureau estimates that student loan debt has topped $1 trillion in the U.S. and is forcing recent graduates to make a decision between paying off their loan or purchasing a house or a car. When that happens, the only one seeing millions of dollars is the lenders, instead of the local economy.

What’s behind Obama’s Education Plan

Over the last few weeks, we have been sharing with you news on the President’s education plan and what it means to the for-profit sector. This week, ABC News ran a story raising questions about the new college affordability plan after top White House officials briefed the Hispanic media on Tuesday.

ABC News provided a broad outline of the plan: “The administration will base how much federal financial aid colleges get on a ratings system they plan to develop in the next couple of years; they’d like to encourage innovation (read: expanded online classes) to make higher education more accessible; and they’d like to set student loan repayment plans on how much graduates earn, and offer more student loan guidance to families.”

Time will tell if the President will be able to drum up enough support from both sides of the aisle to activate his education plans.

“Nothing We Can Be Proud Of,” Arne Duncan on Graduation Rates

Arne-DuncanOn the 50th Anniversary of the historic March on Washington this week, NPR News’ Michel Martin sat down with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to ask questions she had as well as those from listeners.

Before this interview, Duncan at a local Washington school reiterated his point that education is a civil rights issue, which Martin asked him about. In response he said, “… we still have huge achievement gaps. We have far too many African-American, Latino students who are still dropping out. If you look internationally at our competition, we used to lead the world in college graduation rates. Today we’re 12th. There’s nothing we can be proud of. So I feel, frankly, a huge sense of urgency, proud of the progress, but a long, long way to go. And we have to keep getting better, faster.”

 You can listen to the full interview here.

By Marc Apple