$7,500,000 lost at Howard University
$6,448.000 lost at Hampton University
$4,490,000 lost at Morgan State
$2,571,000 lost at Spelman College
$3,176,000 lost at Morehouse College (see WPost)
Let’s drop the formalities: Policy changes and budget cuts during President Obama’s five years in office have hurt historically black colleges and universities. Unlike so many other bad policy decisions in Washington, the change in lending standards for Parent PLUS loans can’t be blamed on Republicans. The Department of Education made the decision all by themselves. After the President was told face-to-face-live-and-in-person of the problem by members of the Black Caucus on July 9th, no one can say it’s “staff” or make any other excuses for inaction. HBCU advocates, college Presidents and members of Congress have met with Education Secretary Arne Duncan numerous times on the Parent PLUS loan issue. Advocates sounded the alarm before the election in 2012 and were told the problem would be dealt with after the election. No action that would affirmatively fix the problem has been taken so far. As a result, HBCUs stand to lose millions for the second year in row because the Obama Administration decided to make loan standards for Parent PLUS stricter.
The situation could not be more ironic. Secretary Duncan spoke at Morgan State’s commencement on May 17 and delivered the typical prose about how important the role of HBCUs were. Yet it us under Duncan that HBCUs stand to lose more money and students than at any time in recent memory. Now, Morgan State’s President Dr. David Wilson and many other HBCU Presidents are requesting that President Obama meet with them to discuss remedies to the “harmful effects” of the Obama Administration’s Parent Plus policy change.
It was noteworthy that President Obama’s own HBCU advisory board chair called out the Administration in public on the issue. ”The worst situation in 35 years,” for HBCUs said Hampton University President William Harvey in April. Now there is word that the denial rate and the money lost could be even worse than last year for some HBCUs. Morgan State’s President has set up an emergency fund to raise $300,000 because of the Parent PLUS problem. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund is requesting that students effected by the Parent PLUS loan problem contact them.
If anyone believes HBCUs can sustain a second year of multi-million dollar losses they’re mistaken. After being told “something” would be done after the July 9th meeting with the President and nothing happened, the Black Caucus demanded the President change the loan standards for Parent PLUS back to what they were before the quiet 2011 change that ended up costing HBCUs $160 million dollars after 28,000 students were denied loans. The Administration apparently won’t (or can’t) help with the millions already lost in tuition. Many are bracing as number come in for this year.
If anyone can remember a worse time for HBCUs tell me when that was.
||| Crewof42, April 16, 2013: HBCU Prez on PLUS Loan Crisis: $160M Lost “Worst Situation I’ve Seen in 35 Years” |||
||| Washington Post, June 22, 2013: Tighter federal lending standards yield turmoil for historically black colleges |||
||| McClatchy, May 5, 2013: Loan policy forcing some off black campuses |||
Autumn Arnett, Editor in Chief of HBCU Digest: The same day the U.S. House of Representatives sent a bill on student loan rates to the White House for President Obama’s signature, a group of HBCU presidents sent a letter to the White House requesting a meeting with the president to “collaboratively explore viable alternatives to [the policy which further restricted Parent plus Loan eligibility] and examine less punitive student loan underwriting standards.”
The letter — which was signed by the presidents of Clark Atlanta, Alcorn State, Bowie State, North Carolina A&T, Southern, Coppin State, Howard, Tuskegee, Kentucky State, Morgan State and Delaware State universities — decries the “harmful effects this policy change has had on access to college nationally, its disproportionate impact on the HBCU community over the past year and its devastating impact on student enrollment in the coming year, and beyond.”
The presidents called the policy “an abuse of the Department’s discretion and represents a failure on the part of the Department to negotiate in good faith with the higher education community — and with the HBCU community in particular.” READ full story at HBCU Digest