What College Accreditation Changes Mean for Students

By: James Kvaal, Under Secretary of Education 

For millions of students like you, federal student loans and grants open the doors to a college education. That critical federal aid must be used at a school that is (among other things) given the seal of approval by an “accrediting agency” or “accreditor” recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. It’s one of the safeguards in the system designed to protect both taxpayers and students. 

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Federal Student Aid’s Summer Assignment: Modernize the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®)

Federal Student Aid's Summer Assignment: Modernize the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

By: Richard Cordray, Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid

For many, summer is a time for family trips and backyard BBQs, but it is not all fun and games. Before we know it, many students will be rushing to complete summer assignments before heading back to school. Here at Federal Student Aid (FSA), we have had a major “summer school” assignment of our own: we have been working hard to launch a new website that helps financial aid professionals at colleges and career schools prepare for the upcoming school year.

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Announcing the Next Generation of Federal Student Loan Servicing

Announcing the next generation of federal student loan servicing

By: Richard Cordray, Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid

Today, I’m pleased to announce that Federal Student Aid (FSA) posted the solicitation for what we’re calling the Unified Servicing and Data Solution (USDS). The USDS is the long-term loan servicing solution designed to provide federal student loan borrowers with a 21st-century customer experience. Building on lessons learned from past loan servicing efforts, FSA and the U.S. Department of Education are committed to holding USDS servicers accountable for a high level of performance and focusing on key objectives like reducing borrower delinquency and default.

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Fighting Chances

Fighting Chances

By: Damian Archer

As one of the first recipients in Maine of a Pell Grant through the Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative, I cherish these opportunities to represent education’s potential for rehabilitating the imprisoned. My education while incarcerated and my release to the “real world” holds perspective which I offer gratefully to provide more insight on this topic. Transitioning back to normal living has had its challenges, but I’m no stranger to life’s obstacles.

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Through the Principles of Excellence, ED Continues to Protect Military-Connected Students

Through the Principles of Excellence, ED Continues to Protect Military-Connected Students

By: Richard Cordray, Chief, U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid

Ten years ago this week, President Barack Obama issued an executive order that established guiding principles to protect veterans, service members, and their families who pursue higher education. These are known formally as the Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members. To apply these principles, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) works with the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to ensure colleges and career schools provide quality educational opportunities to military-connected students.

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5 Valuable Financial Tips for College Students

5 Valuable Financial Tips for College Students

By: Andrew O’Donnell, intern for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid

As someone currently attending community college, I can tell you firsthand about many of its benefits. Not only is community college significantly cheaper than four-year institutions and often much closer to home, it’s also a great place to begin your postsecondary education if you’re someone like me who was unsure of a specific program of study to pursue right after graduating from high school. 

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Federal Student Aid Enforcement Update: Protecting Military-Connected Students

Federal Student Aid Enforcement Update: Protecting Military-Connected Students

By: Kristen Donoghue, Chief Enforcement Officer, U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid

The U.S. government helps service members, veterans, and their family members (i.e., military-connected students) achieve the American dream through higher education, especially with two important benefit programs: (1) the Military Tuition Assistance (TA) program, which supports course work for active duty, National Guard, and Reserve Component service members; and (2) the GI Bill®, which supports post-service course work. These benefits can cover up to 100% of tuition and a living stipend at approximately 5,600 American colleges, universities, and career schools, giving those who served and their families the opportunity to build a better future through education.

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What Colleges Should Know About Income Share Agreements and Private Education Loan Requirements

What colleges should know about income share agreements and private education loan requirements

By: Rich Williams, Chief of Staff, Office of Postsecondary Education 

Paying for higher education involves more than just completing the FAFSA® form and accepting financial aid. For most students, figuring out how to pay for college is the first major financial decision of their lifetimes—and the stakes could not be higher. A wrong choice can saddle students with higher college costs that follow them long into the future.  

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Supporting First-Generation and Low-Income Students Beyond the College Acceptance Letter

Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that pursuing a college education is not just about getting accepted and enrolling in a college. First-generation and low-income college students were burdened with the struggle to pay expensive college fees for a virtual education while being separated from on-campus resources and in-person support from students and faculty. For first-generation and low-income college students, being accepted into a college is a major accomplishment that opens the door to numerous possibilities, such as having higher average salaries and healthier lifestyles. However, there needs to be more support for first-generation and low-income students throughout college, not just to the acceptance letter, for them to enjoy the benefits of obtaining a college degree.

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Let’s Urge High School Seniors to Complete the FAFSA® Form Today

By: Federal Student Aid

As students and families prepare for education beyond high school, cost is a critical consideration. At Federal Student Aid, we know students and families often have to make tough decisions about higher education, and we know the COVID-19 emergency has made some of those decisions even harder.

In typical times, submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form is the first step students and families should take to access federal dollars for college or career school; this is especially true during this challenging period.

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