The College Buzz: Did your student loan debt just get canceled?

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This week Congress is making some significant changes to FAFSA®, helping out historically black colleges, and the FTC is punishing for-profit colleges for misleading their students.

The University of Phoenix is out $141 million in student loan payments

After a lengthy legal battle with the Federal Trade Commission, the University of Pheonix have agreed to cancel $141 million in student loan debt and pay $50 million in cash. Why you might ask? Because the Federal Trade Commission found that one of their ad campaigns from back in 2012 was incredibly misleading.

The campaign made it seem like the college had partnerships with companies like Adobe and Microsoft, and that those partnerships would help students find job opportunities upon graduation. Unfortunately, none of that proved to be true.

For students that attended the school from 2012 through the end of 2016 and had debt they paid directly to the school, the debt is fully canceled. You can read more here. 

Congress restores funding to historically black colleges

On Tuesday, Congress passed a bill that restores more than $250 million to historically black colleges and universities. As well as other schools that have a minority-heavy campus. The funding was set to expire at the end of September, but will now be permanent, making it possible for those colleges to avoid big budget cuts.

They also finalized plans to simplify the FAFSA®

“Finally,” students and parents cheered from the rafters (in our mind, anyway).

The Future Act will also make FAFSA® easier for families by allowing the IRS and the Department of Education to share tax information. That means your parents will no longer have to fill it out every year. It also means FAFSA® will be shorter by 22 questions.

Fewer questions, less family drama at FAFSA® time, what more could we ask for? Learn more here.

Lock in the cost of in-state schools with a 529 plan

For parents of children still years away from college, there’s something to be said for planning ahead. The rising cost of a college education puts a burden on families even years after their child graduates. So, why not get ahead of the game.

In this Washington Post piece, they make a case for why families should consider opening a 529 plan. It’s a prepaid tuition plan in which you lock in the cost of an in-state school. While it doesn’t include fees, school supplies, or room and board, getting locked into one of these contracts can be a huge help.

College costs are continuing to rise, but these plans can keep you at the rate they are today. Whether your child is going to college next year or years down the line, it’s worth a look.