Jul 05, 2007
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Thursday, July 5 , 2007
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The Focus is Now on College Performance

By Shaileja Mammen

Congress and the U.S. Department of Education are considering moves that would force colleges to publish information about their performance.

At the same time, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges are advocating a "voluntary system of accountability." The two public-college groups have been working on their voluntary accountability system for more than a year.

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Oregon Students to Benefit from Increased Student Aid

By Nihit Aurora

Students in Oregon will now be eligible for increased financial aid following the passage of new legislation by the Oregon State Legislature. The Oregon State Assistance Commission (OSAC) is responsible for disbursing student aid in the state of Oregon. Created by the Oregon legislature in 1959, the commission administers a range of state-funded and privately funded aid programs for the benefit of Oregon students interested in postsecondary education.

The commission emphasizes improving the standard of education in Oregon to enhance the value, integrity, and diversity of college programs throughout the state. The commission's main role is to develop and administer a variety of federal and state-based scholarships as well as a state-funded need-based program.

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UNC implements stricter financial aid rules

The University of North Carolina has implemented tighter guidelines for its financial aid officers at its 16 campuses. The new rules are expected to prevent potential conflicts of interest. Earlier, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo found that schools were accepting gifts and favors in exchange for recommending lenders on their preferred-lender lists. According to the new guidelines for the UNC system, financial aid officers will not be able to receive any gifts from student loan providers. The rules also call for more transparency in the school's financial aid system. Financial aid officers will have to provide students' families with the names of three or more lenders who provide the best deals on educational loans based on interest rates, customer service, and fees, among other factors.

FFEL participants say auction not a good idea

Proposals requiring student loan providers to participate in an auction if they want to underwrite student loans met with criticism from Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program participants. At a roundtable discussion, FFEL lenders said the proposal, if implemented, would drive small lenders out of the student loan business. Although the move may decrease the number of lenders, the proposals may not have a significant impact as far as students are concerned. Department of Education data show that 32 lenders control 90% of the market, and Sallie Mae currently controls about 40% of outstanding FFEL Program debt.

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