How Australia Gets Student Loans Right – By Helene Olen NOV. 12 2015 7:53 PM


Student loan debt doesn’t have to be overwhelming—and it isn’t in many other places. Photo illustration by Sofya Levina. Images by Burlingham/Shutterstock and irin-k/Shutterstock.

Student loan debt doesn’t have to be overwhelming—and it isn’t in many other places.
Photo illustration by Sofya Levina. Images by Burlingham/Shutterstock and irin-k/Shutterstock.

Graduate from college this year? Congratulations! If you borrowed money, you likely need to pay back more than $35,000. Just how bad is that? Well, the average American with credit-card debt owes less than half that amount. Perhaps that’s why MyBankTracker recently discovered 30 percent of those they polled would agree to sell an organ in order to pay off their student loan bills.

Good luck getting started in the world with that amount of debt—one reason why many economists believe millennials aren’t buying homes or cars at the same age their parents did.

It doesn’t have to be this way—and it isn’t in many other places. Let’s visit Australia, where politicians congratulated themselves this week for closing down what they considered a major loophole in the nation’s student loan program: scofflaws moving abroad to escape the automatic salary deductions of the nation’s income-based student loan program. “You should have to repay that debt,” thundered Simon Birmingham, the nation’s education minister.

But that’s still not true for everyone. Earn less than $54,000 Australian dollars—that’s about $38,000 in the United States—and you have no worries, at least for now and maybe not forever.

So the United States:

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Australia offers students an income-based student loan plan, and has since 1989, when the system was set up to compensate for the fact that universities were charging tuition at all. That was a change. Higher education had been free in the 1970s and 1980s.

Today, there are two ways Aussies can choose to finance their college educations. If they pay up front, they get a 10 percent discount. Most don’t do that, however. That’s where where Australia’s income-based repayment plan comes in.

Australians borrow money from the government through the Higher Education Loan Program (or HELP—get it?) and related offshoots. When it comes time to repay the bill, the monthly amount has nothing to do with the sum borrowed. Instead, debtors earning more than AU$54,000 ($38,000) pay between 4 and 8 percent of their income, depending on how much they take home annually. Unemployment or illness? Salary falls under the minimum earnings required for repayment? No worries. Payments temporarily cease, with no interest or penalties accruing to the borrower.

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Columbia racial tensions go beyond University of Missouri campus – by Kayla McCormick November 10, 2015 1:19PM ET Updated November 11, 2015 2:16AM ET & Massoud Hayoun


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COLUMBIA, Mo. — The president of the Columbia, Missouri branch of the NAACP has received a threatening letter amid protests that have gripped the University of Missouri (Mizzou), whose President Tim Wolfe resigned this week after an outcry from black students accusing him and other school officials of long ignoring racial slurs and bias on campus.

Columbia NAACP President Mary Ratliff — a stalwart of the national campaign for civil rights — received a letter Saturday threatening her and President Barack Obama, in what rights leaders say is a reminder that race issues in this urban hub are not confined to Mizzou.

“Die all you dirty devil black n****rs from hell,” said the letter, which was seen by Al Jazeera. It was addressed directly to Ratliff and was postmarked on Nov. 3 in Carol Stream, Illinois.

The Columbia Police Department did not immediately respond to an interview request. Ratliff said that police called her on Monday and said the FBI was investigating the case.

Hate mail at the NAACP is not uncommon, Ratliff said, particularly whenever the town’s black community — about 13 percent of its population of about 115,000, according to July 2014 Census statistics — engages in activism. The local NAACP received hate mail last year when local and federal authorities decided not to file charges against Dustin Deacon, a white man, over the death of Brandon Coleman, a 25-year-old black man.

Article continues:

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/11/10/mizzou-racial-tensions-not-only-felt-on-campus.html

 

Student protestors at the University of Missouri want a “no media safe space” – Updated by Libby Nelson on November 9, 2015, 7:30 p.m. ET


Members of the Concerned Student 1950 movement speak to students after president Tim Wolfe announced his resignation. — (Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

The media flocked to cover football players at the University of Missouri protest the handling of racial incidents on campus, but some of the student protesters balked at the influx — going so far as to form a human shield to keep reporters away from the action.

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Traditionally, protesters might have welcomed coverage of their plight, certain that the national media’s attention would amplify their calls and put more pressure on the institution.

There are many reasons for this. The students already accomplished their landmark goal — these tweets were sent after university president Tim Wolfe announced his resignation on Monday. The campus has seen dozens, if not hundreds, of reporters descend, most of them, like the national media, overwhelmingly white. And these students have come of age after the rise of digital organizing. The national media is just another institution they don’t need, as the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery points out:

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The standoff appears to have caught many members of the national media, as well as student journalists at the university, off guard.

Article continues:

http://www.vox.com/2015/11/9/9701376/missouri-protests-media

University of Missouri president resigns amid race row – By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Updated 12:54 PM ET, Mon November 9, 2015 | Video Source: CNN


VIDEO

VIDEO

(CNN)Several University of Missouri organizations, including the football team and the student association, saw their demands met Monday when university system President Tim Wolfe announced he was stepping down amid a controversy over race relations at the school’s main campus.

Saying he takes “full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred,” he asked that the university community listen to each other’s problems and “stop intimidating each other.”

“This is not — I repeat, not — the way change should come about. Change comes from listening, learning, caring and conversation,” he said. “Use my resignation to heal and start talking again.”

His decision, he said, “came out of love, not hate,” and he urged the university to “focus on what we can change” in the future, not what’s happened in the past.

His decision came after black football players at the University of Missouri — with their coach’s support — threatened not to practice or play again until graduate student Jonathan Butler ended his hunger strike. Butler, who was protesting the state of race relations on the main campus and had demanded Wolfe’s removal, tweeted Monday morning, “My body is tired but my heart is strong. This fight for justice is necessary.”

He tweeted after Wolfe’s news conference that he had ended his hunger strike and said, “More change is to come!! #TheStruggleContinues.”

Article continues:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/09/us/missouri-football-players-protest-president-resigns/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

Colleges Flex Lobbying Muscle – By BRODY MULLINS, DOUGLAS BELKIN and ANDREA FULLER Nov. 8, 2015 9:51 p.m. ET


Lynchburg College President Kenneth Garren worried that under a proposed federal college-ratings system, smaller private schools like his, which draw average-performing students from rural Virginia, would be compared with Ivy League schools and large state universities catering to different types of students.

Lynchburg College President Kenneth Garren worried that under a proposed federal college-ratings system, smaller private schools like his, which draw average-performing students from rural Virginia, would be compared with Ivy League schools and large state universities catering to different types of students. PHOTO: JEREMY M. LANGE FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Lynchburg College President Kenneth Garren was sipping wine at a reception before Virginia’s gubernatorial inauguration last year when he spotted a familiar face: Sen. Mark Warner.

Mr. Garren had known the senator for years and had met with the lawmaker’s daughter on campus when she was considering applying to the small Christian college. At the inauguration party, Mr. Garren says, he buttonholed the senator and urged him to oppose a plan from President Barack Obama to create a ratings system for colleges.

Mr. Warner (D., Va.) announced two months later that he opposed Mr. Obama’s plan, saying he had been persuaded by Mr. Garren and other Virginia college presidents. Scores of other members of Congress did the same, and this summer, Mr. Obama announced that he was backing off key elements. The Education Department released a searchable database about colleges in September, but left the ratings possibilities to others.

ENLARGE

Colleges and universities have become one of the most effective lobbying forces in Washington, employing more lobbyists last year than any other industries except drug manufacturing and technology. There are colleges in every congressional district, and 1 in 40 U.S. workers draw a paycheck from a college or university.

Over the last two decades, the higher-education industry has beaten back dozens of government proposals to measure its successes and failures. It has killed efforts to tighten rules for accrediting schools, defeated a proposed requirement to divulge more information about graduation rates and eliminated funding for state agencies that could have closed bad schools. The proposals had support from both sides of the political aisle.

The political pressure on higher education is rooted in a simple but vexing question: Is the government getting a good return on the money it is pouring into the U.S. college system? The government’s goal is to enable nearly every American who wants to go to college to do so. Federal spending on loans and grants, on an inflation-adjusted basis, has jumped more than 50% over the past decade to $134 billion last year, and total federal student-loan debt has hit $1.2 trillion.

Article continues:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/colleges-flex-lobbying-muscle-1447037474

Yale’s big fight over sensitivity and free speech, explained – Updated by Libby Nelson on November 7, 2015, 5:50 p.m. ET


Yale University has been plunged into campus-wide debate and protest over issues of racial sensitivity and free speech so tense it’s turning into a national news story, and it all began with two emails about Halloween costumes.

On October 28, a university committee on intercultural affairs sent a campus-wide email urging students to reconsider Halloween costumes that might be racially insensitive. In response a few days later, a lecturer in early childhood development sent an email to the few hundred students in her residential college questioning whether the first email had been necessary and worrying that universities had become “places of censure and prohibition.”

Within a week’s time, the two emails had led to protests, dramatic confrontations between students and faculty members, and a statement from the university’s president that he was “deeply troubled” by students’ concerns.

The dispute that started it all might seem trivial. But the uproar is tapping into deeper issues of racism and free speech at the Ivy League university, issues similar to those faced by many American colleges that have come to the forefront this year.

Here’s what happened and why it’s become such a controversy at Yale and nationally.

How dueling e-mails about Halloween costumes led to protests at Yale

Every year, without fail, some college students somewhere take Halloween as an opportunity to wear something breathtakingly offensive, including students at Yalewho wore blackface in 2007. So, this year, Yale’s Intercultural Affairs Committee sent an email urging students to consider whether their “funny” costumes might not be so funny:

Halloween is also unfortunately a time when the normal thoughtfulness and sensitivity of most Yale students can sometimes be forgotten and some poor decisions can be made including wearing feathered headdresses, turbans, wearing ‘war paint’ or modifying skin tone or wearing blackface or redface. These same issues and examples of cultural appropriation and/or misrepresentation are increasingly surfacing with representations of Asians and Latinos.

Such emails are becoming an annual ritual on some campuses. The University of Colorado, the University of Minnesota, and Ohio University all urged their students to wear culturally sensitive costumes in 2013. One of the administrators who signed the Yale email, Burgwell Howard, sent an almost identical note to Northwestern students in 2010, the year after a blackface scandal at that university.

Erika Christakis, a lecturer at Yale in early childhood education, objected to all this. She sent an email to the few hundred students in Sillman College, one of Yale’s 12 residential colleges, saying she applauded the goal but questioned whether the e-mail was really necessary.

“I don’t, actually, trust myself to foist my Halloweenish standards and motives on others,” she wrote, adding:

I wonder, and I am not trying to be provocative: Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious… a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive? American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition.

She also passed along a message from her husband Nicholas Christakis, a Yale professor of psychology and Sillman College’s master, saying that, rather than having the university tell students what to wear and not wear, students should deal with it themselves.

Nicholas says, if you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended. Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offence are the hallmarks of a free and open society.

The email infuriated a number of students who saw it as downplaying important racial sensitivity issues. More than 740 Yale students signed an open lettercriticizing Christakis’ email for minimizing the concerns of students of color. On Thursday, some were reportedly drafting a letter calling for both Christakises to resign as masters of Sillman College.

Nicholas Christakis apologized Friday, though saying he thought his wife’s email was well-intended: “We understand that it was hurtful to you, and we are truly sorry,” he wrote in an email to Sillman students, according to the Yale Daily News. “We understand that many students feel voiceless in diverse ways and we want you to know that we hear you and we will support you.”

Article continues:

http://www.vox.com/2015/11/7/9689330/yale-halloween-email

The Most Militarized Universities in America: A VICE News Investigation – Vice News Published on Nov 5, 2015


While a tap on the shoulder by a campus recruiter at Princeton or Yale may have once led students down the path to joining the clandestine services, and a law degree may once have been a prerequisite to becoming a government special agent, those days, if they ever existed, are gone.

That’s just one of the findings from a VICE News investigation to determine the most militarized universities and colleges in America. These schools have the closest — and most profitable — relationships with the national security apparatus, producing the greatest number of alumni employed by the Intelligence Community.

Read “These Are the 100 Most Militarized Universities in America” – http://bit.ly/1GNa349

Ben Carson accidentally stumbled on a great idea for improving education – Updated by Dylan Matthews on October 30, 2015, 12:00 p.m. ET


Ben Carson accidentally stumbled on a great idea for improving education

Last year, Ben Carson appeared to endorse a massive change in the way the US funds schools, asking reporter James Hamblin, “Wouldn’t it make more sense to put the money in a pot and redistribute it throughout the country so that public schools are equal, whether you’re in a poor area or a wealthy area?” The implicit idea here, of federalizing education funding and trying to eliminate the budget gap between rich and poor schools, is way more progressive than anything even Bernie Sanders has proposed. So CNN’s Jake Tapper pressed Carson further, and he stuck to his guns:

Republican presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson joined CNN’s Jake Tapper on The Lead.

http://www.vox.com/2015/10/30/9643636/ben-carson-education-funding

Jeb Bush Says Psych Majors End Up “Working at Chick-fil-A” – By Darby Saxbe OCT. 29 2015 2:41 PM


Let’s count all the ways he is so, so wrong.

Chick-fil-A: the future of psychology majors—and failed GOP presidential candidates? Photo illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo. Photos by Sean Rayford/Getty Images and Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images.

Chick-fil-A: the future of psychology majors—and failed GOP presidential candidates?
Photo illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo. Photos by Sean Rayford/Getty Images and Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images.

Only a few months into primary season and the GOP has already identified plenty of scapegoats. Immigrants. Planned Parenthood. Psychology majors.

As Jeb Bush said at a recent town hall, “Universities ought to have skin in the game. … When a student shows up, they ought to say, ‘Hey, that psych major deal … that’s great … but realize you’re going to be working at Chick-fil-A.”

After bemoaning that “the No. 1 degree program in the country is psychology,” Bush concluded, “I just don’t think people are getting jobs as psych majors.”

This is rich coming from the candidate who responded to the Oregon shootings with “Stuff happens” before pivoting to the party line that mass violence is a mental health problem, not a gun problem. So who is going to solve those mental health problems if not psychology majors?

As a psychology professor, I’m biased, but I think psychology majors have more to offer than fast food prep skills. We live in a complex society with challenging problems. The social sciences offer tools to solve these problems.

Take the rising cost of health care. We can debate how it’s funded, but one fact is indisputable: Americans today die from different diseases than our great-grandparents did. Every semester, I show my undergraduates a chart juxtaposing the leading causes of death in 1900 and in 2010. A century ago, we were struck down by infectious illnesses like pneumonia and the flu. Today, our top killers are chronic diseases. Cancer. Heart disease. Diabetes. What these diseases have in common is that they’re lifestyle-related, which means that behavior matters. Until we develop a wonder drug to cure addiction and eliminate obesity, our most costly health problems are linked with everyday choices. Guess who can understand these choices and figure out how to help people quit smoking, start exercising, and put on sunscreen? Psychology majors.

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