ED Review (02/18/22)

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February 18, 2022


College Scorecard 

On February 7, the Department released updates to the College Scorecard that make the interactive tool more useful for students and families weighing college options.  The tool also features new and revised information that may be beneficial to school counselors, college access providers, researchers, and other critical stakeholders.  These updates include restoring metrics that help compare institutions’ costs, graduation rates, post-college earnings, and more (press release, Secretary’s tweet, and Department’s tweet). 

“For so many students and families, the college search process can be overwhelming.  But easily accessible, high-quality information about higher education institutions can help students determine which college or university is the best fit for them,” Secretary Cardona noted.  “The updated and enhanced College Scorecard shines a spotlight on affordability, inclusivity, and outcomes, over exclusivity and colleges that leave students without good jobs and with mountains of debt.  This update reflects the Biden Administration’s commitment to ensuring students remain at the heart of the Department’s work.” 

Among the updates is a refresh of the cumulative loan debt of borrowers at both the institution level and the field of study within each institution, as well as federal student loan repayment rates for institutions. 

Also, for the first time since 2018, the Department is publishing institution-level earnings data, providing an overall sense of the career outcomes for alumni, and additional information about graduates who are better off having gone to college, by showing the percentage of those earning more than the typical worker with only a high school diploma. 

The College Scorecard includes many examples of institutions that are inclusive and serve students well, closing gaps in the completion rates among students of color compared with white students and ensuring programs lead to positive career outcomes with manageable levels of debt.  For example, the University of Baltimore, a predominantly black institution in Maryland, charges much lower tuition rates than most four-year institutions and has median post-college earnings of more than $58,000.  As another example, Valencia College, a community college in Florida with three in four undergraduate students of color, has narrowed its completion rate gap; currently, 45% of white students and 41% of Hispanic students graduate from the program. 


Valentine's Day 

It has been a busy two weeks for First Lady Dr. Jill Biden on the issue of education. 

First, she delivered remarks at the Community College National Legislative Summit.  “There are a lot of reasons that I wanted Joe to run for president -- one of the biggest was because I knew that no one would work harder for my students [as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College] and yours,” she said.  “I’ve never believed that more than I do today.  Joe doesn’t quit.  He doesn’t give up.  He is keeping his promise to rebuild our middle class, and he knows that community colleges do just that.  He knows that you are our greatest resource and our best investment.  He will keep fighting for us.” 

(Secretary Cardona also offered remarks at the summit, calling community colleges “one of the nation’s best treasures” and adding, “While some colleges may prioritize chasing each other’s college rankings and buoying affluent students from elite high schools, community colleges are doing real work to build pathways to good jobs and life-long careers for all.”) 

Second, the First Lady delivered remarks at the University of Minnesota on supporting the nation’s youngest learners.  “For the last few years, in every city I visited and at nearly every event -- whether we were there to talk about military spouses, or vaccinations, or community colleges -- people have told me that one of their biggest challenges is child care….  Reliable, affordable, quality child care and universal preschool would profoundly change people’s lives” (First Lady’s tweet). 

Third, she hosted second-grade students and their award-winning teacher from Aiton Elementary School in Washington, D.C., at the White House (First Lady’s tweet and video). 

Also this week, the First Lady taped segments of Sesame Street’s upcoming season (First Lady’s tweet). 


Borrower Defense Discharges 

Nearly 16,000 borrowers will receive $415 million in borrower defense to repayment discharges following the approval of four new findings and the continued review of claims.  This includes approximately $71.7 million in discharges for some 1,800 former DeVry University students after the Department determined the institution made widespread substantial misrepresentations about its job placement rates.  The Department will seek to recoup the cost from DeVry and anticipates that the number of approved claims related to DeVry will increase as it continues reviewing pending applications. 

Furthermore, the Department announced several other actions to provide approximately $343.7 million in borrower defense discharges for some 14,000 borrowers.  This includes new findings related to Westwood College and the nursing program at ITT Technical Institute, as well as recent findings about criminal justice programs at Minnesota School of Business and Globe University.  This also includes another $284.5 million in discharges for over 11,900 students who attended Corinthian Colleges and the Marinello Schools of Beauty and whose applications were reviewed after earlier announcements of relief. 

Combined, these actions bring the total amount of approved relief under borrower defense to approximately $2 billion for more than 107,000 borrowers (Department’s Twitter thread). 

With these actions, the Department has approved approximately $16 billion in loan discharges for over 680,000 borrowers.  This includes: 

  • almost $5 billion for 70,000 borrowers through improvements to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program; 
  • $7.8 billion for more than 400,000 borrowers who have a total and permanent disability; and
  • $1.2 billion for borrowers who previously attended ITT Technical Institutes, before it closed.  

The Department is working on new regulations that will improve borrower defense and other loan discharge, forgiveness, and cancelation programs and provide greater protections for students and taxpayers.  This includes writing a new borrower defense regulation, proposing to re-establish a gainful employment regulation to hold career training programs accountable for unaffordable debt, and proposing to establish financial triggers so that the Department has monetary protection against potential losses. 


Throughout the month, the Department is promoting #BlackHistoryMonth (see tweets 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7). 

Since Valentine’s Day (February 14), the Department has also been promoting #LoveTeachingWeek (see tweets 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, as well as Labor Secretary Marty Walsh’s tweet). 

Meanwhile, the #ARPStars Communications Toolkit offers resources to help educators, schools, and communities tell their stories of recovery efforts using American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding.  If you have a story to share, post it using the hashtag or send any questions and content to ARPStars@ed.gov.  And, don’t miss these great examples. 


The ARP made significant changes to two tax relief programs.  First, it expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) from $2,000 per child to $3,600 for children under age 6 and $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17.  Second, it nearly tripled the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for workers without dependent children -- from $540 to up to $1,500 -- and made previously ineligible younger workers (ages 19 to 24) who are not full- or part-time students and older workers (over age 65) newly eligible (fact sheet and Vice President’s remarks). 

While the families of 61 million children received advance monthly payments of the CTC between July and December 2021, families must file a tax return in 2022 to receive the second half.  By filing a tax return, families that did not receive advance payments in 2021 (like those who welcomed a baby in 2021 or those who have not filed taxes in recent years and did not use the non-filer portal) may still receive the full CTC, as well as the up to $1,400-per-person Economic Impact Payment (EIP) that they might have missed.  Many families eligible for the CTC are also eligible for the EITC and may receive more tax relief by filing their tax return. 

ChildTaxCredit.gov has several new features to help taxpayers file their taxes and access the remainder of the expanded CTC, the full amount of the CTC, and/or the EITC. 

(Notably, the tax benefits of families with federal student loans in default will not be garnished for an additional six months after the COVID-19 payment pause ends -- see Secretary’s tweet and FAQ.) 



“My Administration stands with those working to end this epidemic of gun violence.  I have put forward a comprehensive plan to reduce gun crime that includes curbing the proliferation of ‘ghost’ guns, cracking down on gun dealers who willfully violate the law, issuing model extreme risk protection order legislation for states, and promoting safe firearm storage, among other efforts.  The Department of Justice is also helping more cities adopt smart law enforcement models like the one I recently saw in New York City, in which federal, state, and local law enforcement work together to share intelligence and remove shooters from our streets….  We can never bring back those we’ve lost.  But we can come together to fulfill the first responsibility of our government and our democracy: to keep each other safe.” 

-- President Joseph Biden (2/14/22), in a statement marking four years after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida 


Next week is Public Schools Week (see #PublicSchoolProud). 

The next webinar in the Department’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) briefing series, focused on providing STEM education opportunities in rural communities, is set for February 24, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time.  Anyone may watch live or archived sessions.  Previous briefings are posted on the agency’s STEM landing page. 

The Department’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) office announced its Wednesday Webinar Series -- live, two-hour webinars that will cover a variety of topics related to federal student aid programs.  FSA staff will present the first seven webinars through May.  More webinars will be added in the future.  Registration is not required.  Participation will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, with up to 10,000 attendees admitted for each session. 

ED Review is a product of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Communications and Outreach, State and Local Engagement

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