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Report Recommends Improving Educational Quality at Colleges

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has issued a study calling for improved educational quality to help college students excel in the 21st century. In its report, “The Future of Undergraduate Education, The Future of America,” the academy proposes a three-part strategy that ensures first-rate learning experiences, increased completion rates and reduced inequities among higher institutions, and controlled college expenses. While the academy believes technology will help boost educational quality, it anticipates some of its goals could take decades to accomplish. More on the American Academy of Arts and Sciences report is available on the Inside Higher Ed website.

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Federal Student Aid Changes Proposed

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce has released a proposal to significantly change how the U.S. government distributes student aid. Announced last week as the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform Act, the plan involves deregulating and restricting oversight of portions of federal aid programs. Proposed changes include simplifying student aid options, eliminating the public service loan forgiveness program, and changing the federal work-study program by distributing money to colleges based on student need. Learn more about the proposed changes to federal student aid is available on the Inside Higher Ed website.

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Tax Reform Could Impact Colleges’ Unrelated Business Income

If the proposed tax reform passes the Senate, colleges could lose their exemption from tax on certain income not connected to their academic mission. The proposal calls for expanding the unrelated business income tax and would include licensing royalties generated from the use of an institution’s name or logo. Colleges and universities with more than one unrelated business activity would also have to calculate the net income or loss from each activity separately and would not be able to offset income from one activity with loss from another. Several higher education groups believe the tax reporting changes could be burdensome. Read More.

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Senate Proposal Levies Same College Endowments Tax as House

The U.S. Senate’s proposed tax reform would levy the same tax to private college endowments as the House’s version. Both the Senate and the House are calling for a 1.4 percent tax on net investment income, which will impact about 70 colleges with endowments over $250,000 per student. The focus on endowments is part of Congress’ recent attempts on how endowments can help reduce the cost of attendance at colleges and universities. More on the proposed college endowment tax is available on the Accounting Today website.

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College Tuition and Fees Still on the Rise

Tuition and fee prices at colleges and universities experienced a modest increase this past year. According to College Board’s annual reports, “Trends in Student Aid” and “Trends in College Pricing,” tuition and fees rose by two percent for the 2017-18 year. In particular, private nonprofit higher institutions averaged a 1.9 percent increase, public four-year colleges rose by 1.2 percent, and public two-year schools climbed by 1.1 percent. Despite the small increases in 2017-18, financial aid for students failed to keep pace with the rising tuition costs. Learn more about the College Board’s annual reports by visiting the Inside Higher Ed website.

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College Scorecard Receives an Update

The Department of Education recently updated information on the College Scorecard, a consumer tool aimed at helping students research colleges and universities. The update includes a new feature that allows data from up to 10 colleges and universities to be compared. More on the College Scorecard update is available on the Inside Higher Ed website.

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