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Education Department Proposes Title IX Changes

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has issued a proposed rule that would curtail a college institution’s obligations to investigate on-campus sexual misconduct. The rule change would add protections for college students accused of sexual misconduct, and it would allow institutions to investigate misconduct that occurred within programs they sanction. In addition, colleges would be responsible for investigating cases when a formal complaint is submitted to appropriate campus officials. While DeVos said the rule would improve the process of resolving complaints, women’s groups and other advocates argue that it would undermine victims’ rights and open the possibility to off-campus assaults or. Read More.

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Education Department Sanctions Howard University

Fallout continues from Howard University’s financial aid scandal earlier this year. The Department of Education has placed the historically black university on heightened cash monitoring 2 status, meaning that Howard can get federal funding only after it distributes financial aid to students. The restrictions could create additional financial instability at Howard, which has faced budget and financial issues in recent years. An internal investigation revealed fraud and misappropriation of funds in its financial aid office and led to the termination of six employees. More on Howard’s financial aid restrictions is available on Inside Higher Ed.

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TEACH Grants Becoming Loans for Most Recipients

A Department of Education study has found that 63 percent of TEACH Grant recipients saw their grants become loans. Based on the report’s findings, teachers whose grants converted to loans failed to meet the program’s eligibility requirements due to being unqualified in a certain field or recertification paperwork issues. The report also discovered that some colleges use the grant to meet students’ financial aid needs rather than to achieve the program’s intended purpose. One key finding revealed that colleges are more likely to use TEACH Grants to make a degree more affordable instead of guiding graduates toward high-need fields at. Read More.

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FAFSA Mobile App Announced

In its efforts to update the federal student aid system, the Department of Education is planning to make the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“FAFSA”) available via a mobile application. Office of Federal Student Aid Chief Operating Officer A. Wayne Johnson said the app would make it easier for students to file for federal aid and provide a modernized experience throughout the application process. Johnson also noted that the app could perform many of the functions that student loan servicers can provide borrowers via the web and telephone. The app will likely arrive in April. More on the future FAFSA mobile app is available. Read More.

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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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