Friday, March 13, 2015

Obama Announces Student Aid Bill of Rights

Earlier this week, President Obama recently announced at the Georgia Institute of Technology, will make it a little easier for borrowers to stay current on their debt payments and to file complaints against the companies that manage their loans. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, his memorandum does the following:
  • Help borrowers keep track of their student loans.
  • Make it easier for borrowers to file complaints involving their student aid.
  • Help borrowers remain in income-based repayment plans.
It will NOT overhaul the student-loan debt collection process or provide an escape hatch for defaulters. Furthermore, no one knows how the government will specifically "raise standards" for debt collectors. The memorandum requires the U.S. Department of Education to "ensure that the debt-collection process for defaulted federal student loans is fair [and] transparent, charges reasonable fees," and "effectively assists borrowers in meeting their obligations and returning to good standing." The expected consumer protections include "higher standards for student-loan servicing," including "enhanced disclosures" and "strengthened consumer protections." The only protection listed is ensuring that servicers apply prepayments to loans with the highest interest rates first. More information will be made public as soon as the reports are released on private debt collectors.

Click here for more information about the Student Aid Bill of Rights from the White House.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Study: Elite Degrees Offer Little Advantage for African American Students

A research study from the University of Michigan found that a college degree from a highly selective college or university offers little advantage for African American graduates. White job applicants with a degree from an elite university had the highest response rate (nearly 18 percent), followed by black candidates with a degree from an elite university (13 percent). White candidates with a degree from a less-selective university had nearly the same response rate (more than 11 percent) as a black candidate from an elite university. Black job applicants with a degree from a less-selective university had the lowest response rate (less than 7 percent).

"These racial differences suggest that a bachelor's degree, even one from an elite institution, cannot fully counteract the importance of race in the labor market," said Gaddis, a postdoctoral scholar in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health Policy Scholars program at the School of Public Health. "Thus, both discrimination and differences in human capital contribute to racial economic inequality."

Furthermore, race results in a double penalty. When employers responded to black candidates, it was for jobs with lower starting salaries and lower prestige than those of white peers. Black applicants received responses for jobs with a listed salary about $3,000 less than white candidates.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Social Work Theme 2015: Social Work Paves the Way for Change

The 2015 Social Work Theme is "Social Work Paves the Way for Change."

From NASW:

2015 marks a special year for the social work community. The nation will commemorate National Social Work Month in March and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2015. NASW’s goal during Social Work Month and throughout 2015 will be to educate the public about how social workers and the association have brought about major positive social changes, improved the lives of individuals and families, and will continue to do so in the future.