PARENT PLUS. “This is a national crisis…” — Johnny Taylor, Thurgood Marshall College Fund
On October 22, the Department of Education announced the final regulations to strengthen the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program. In 2011, the Department made the requirements of Parent PLUS Loans more strict. Many HBCUs were adversely affected. Johnny Taylor, one of the first HBCU advocates to speak out publicly on the problem, issues at hotly worded statement today on the Department’s announcement.
On NewsOneNow with Roland Martin (Armstrong Williams filling in for Roland) on October 23rd, Taylor lit up the Obama Administration. HBCUs collectively lost $160 million as a result of the Administration’s change to Parent PLUS Loan standards in 2011.
Thurgood Marshall College Fund Outraged at Delayed Implementation of Parent PLUS Loan Regulations Impacting over 28,000 College Students
Low and Middle Income College Students Face Crisis as a Result
WASHINGTON, DC (October 21, 2014) – The U.S. Department of Education plans to issue a statement this week regarding the release of the new Parent PLUS Loan (PPL) Regulation, which will become effective July 2015.
“The delayed implementation of PPL regulations is as disturbing as the unlikely scenario of our government issuing a statement indicating they have a cure for Ebola and then announcing the cure will not be released until July 2015,” said TMCF President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. “While some may balk at the comparison of a potential global health epidemic to denied access to education for low to middle class students, the end result is the same – a national crisis.”
TMCF has been at the forefront on the PPL issues urging Secretary Arne Duncan and President Barack Obama to reconsider the new criteria implemented without warning in late September 2011, particularly for those students who were then-enrolled in school and whose families had received PLUS Loans before the change. Taylor and other higher education leaders have held several meetings with the Education Department and sent letters requesting students to be “grandfathered” so they could continue their education.
Just two months ago, TMCF called on HBCU leaders, advocates and alumni to speak out on the proposed federal PLUS Loan program changes as the Education Department published its proposed reform changes. Taylor cited that the changes were too little, too late as colleges were already in financial trouble – HBCUs in particular.
The 2011 change negatively impacted more than 28,000 HBCU students. Nearly three years later, the PPL negotiated rulemaking process was finally completed in May 2014. Waiting another year until July 2015 to implement this rule means thousands more students will continue to be negatively impacted by the PPL changes for yet another academic year. HBCUs continue to produce a disproportionate number of black STEM graduates. In addition, HBCUs educate a large pool of minority college graduates – growing the nation’s workforce pipeline.
“This is an American crisis, not just an African American crisis, affecting low and middle income students and their families!” said Taylor. “Students forced to remain at home with college debt, no degree, and no jobs are some of the outcomes of the Education Department’s decision to tighten credit standards on PPL with no warning. It’s unacceptable to now make them wait until July 2015. We call upon Secretary Duncan to make these changes effective immediately.”