Category Archives: Education

Alexander’s Loan-Repayment Overhaul

Source: Andrew Kreighbaum, Inside Higher Ed, February 19, 2019

Proposal to automatically deduct loan payments as a share of borrowers’ paychecks promises big improvements but raises questions over some new complications, too.

Student advocates have for years complained about the complex set of options borrowers must navigate to repay their student loans. Student loan borrowers are faced with a dizzying nine repayment plans based on their income, in addition to a standard 10-year loan-repayment plan.

There’s a growing consensus that Congress should reduce those options to one income-based option on top of the standard plan.

Senator Lamar Alexander, the chairman of the Senate education committee, would go one step further, calling for loan payments to be automatically deducted from borrowers’ paychecks. ….

…. While the proposal to reduce the myriad repayment options for borrowers already has broad support among higher ed interest groups, getting buy-in for making student loan payments work more like payroll taxes is more uncertain.

Jessica Thompson, director of policy and planning at the Institute for College Access and Success, said streamlining the repayment plans available to borrowers is “an overdue change.” But she said paycheck withholding for loan payments is “in reality a lot more complicated than it sounds.” ….

Emerging Iterations on State Free College Policy in the 2019 Legislative Sessions

Source: Sarah Pingel, Education Commission of the States, January 31, 2019

State legislatures are officially in full swing, with 44 states plus the District of Columbia in session. At Education Commission of the States, we’re cleaning our glasses and diving into the thousands of pieces of education-related legislation spilling into our inboxes. Not surprisingly, free college maintains its position on state legislators’ minds. We are already tracking 45 pieces of legislation in 19 states plus the District of Columbia…..

Higher education – US: Stronger state financial support benefits public universities

Source: Dan Fiori, Mary Kay Cooney, Susan I Fitzgerald, Moody’s, Sector Comment, February 7, 2019
(subscription required)

State funding for public colleges and universities is up in 43 states for fiscal year 2019 compared to increases in 32 states the previous year, according to the annual Grapevine report from Illinois State University’s Center for the Study of Education Policy. Additionally, state financial support in all 50 states increased by a median of 2.8% in fiscal 2019, more than double the 1.1% in the year before and the highest level since fiscal 2016. The increases are credit positive for the higher education sector, which is battling slower tuition revenue growth and rising expenses — both contributing factors to our negative outlook for the sector.

Related:
States Increase Higher Education Funding By 3.7%
Source: Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, February 5, 2019

The 50 states appropriated a total of $91.5 billion to support their public universities and financial aid programs in Fiscal Year 2018-19. That’s a 3.7% increase over 2017-18 and an 18.2% increase over Fiscal Year 2013-14, according to Grapevine, the annual report of state higher education spending published by Illinois State University’s Center for the Study of Education Policy in cooperation with the State Higher Education Executive Officers…..

Trends in Pre-K Education Funding in 2017-18

Source: Bruce Atchison, Emily Parker, Jill Mullen, Tom Keily, Education Commission of the States, Policy Report, February 6, 2019

From the abstract:
This Policy Brief begins by reviewing the educational and societal impacts of quality pre-K programs before revealing legislative changes to state pre-K funding in 2017-18. The brief highlights four states and breaks down total pre-K funding for all states, including year-over-year changes.

How Colleges Spend Money

Source: American Council of Trustees and Alumni, 2019

Two out of three college students now graduate with an average of over $28,000 in student debt, and the price of tuition continues to rise at an unsustainable rate, faster even than health care. So how do colleges spend that money?

Built specifically for college trustees, policymakers, and other higher education decision-makers, this site is designed to equip the people who oversee colleges and universities with the tools to perform their own analysis of higher education spending trends, and create benchmarks in comparison with other institutions.

Local government and higher education – US: Overview of state aid intercept programs

Source: Susanne Siebel, Dan Seymour, Orlie Prince, Leonard Jones, Alexandra S. Parker, Moody’s, Sector Profile, February 1, 2019
(subscription required)

State aid intercept programs require a state to divert funding, originally intended for operations, to bondholders for debt service when a local government or higher education institution is unable to make the payment. With that bondholder protection, programs help entities access the capital markets. While all programs share the same goal, they vary widely in structure, timing and state commitment….

When Medical Marijuana Meets School Drug Policy, What Can States Do?

Source: Tom Keily, Education Commission of the States, EdNote blog, January 29, 2019

States have historically prohibited the use or possession of marijuana on school grounds, but with the arrival of medical marijuana, policymakers have begun to explore the intersection between school drug policies and medical marijuana laws. ….

Related:
How States Use Recreational Marijuana Revenue to Fund K-12 Education
Source: Jill Mullen, Education Commission of the States, EdNote blog, January 30, 2019

Revenue from recreational marijuana sales can be a large influx of cash for a state and, in many cases, vitally needed cash. Currently, 10 states and the District of Columbia allow the use of recreational marijuana. Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize the green plant in 2012; other states have slowly followed. Each state deals with regulation and taxation differently, but a common use for marijuana tax revenue is spending on K-12 education….

Red State Strikes and the Roots of Teacher Militancy

Source: Jon Shelton, LAWCHA: The Labor and Working-Class History Association Newsletter, 2018

…. These strikes were among the most important victories in the US in recent history, a clear victory for communities decimated by years of Republican-led austerity. Further, the cross-district teacher strikes this past spring seemed especially shocking because of the right’s decades-long characterization of teacher unions as inimical to the interests of the nation’s children, there has actually been labor peace among teachers and school districts going back 30 years now. The strike wave surprised many observers, particularly since they took place in conservative, “right-to-work” states where public employee strikes are illegal. Yet this new era of teacher unionism builds on a long history of teacher militancy. ….

Not-for-profit healthcare and higher education – US – New accounting standard for operating leases is credit neutral

Source: Rita Sverdlik, Lisa Martin, Lisa Goldstein, Diane F. Viacava, Susan I Fitzgerald, Kendra M. Smith, Moody’s, Sector Comment, January 23, 2019
(subscription required)

New guidance from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) related to operating leases took effect January 1. Under the new standard, issuers will include the net present value (NPV) of operating leases on the balance sheet. This change does not affect issuers’ credit quality because our assessments already consider operating leases in a manner similar to the new FASB standard. However, in a few limited circumstances, the accounting change will affect issuers’ compliance with financial covenants in bond and bank agreements and temporarily elevate credit risk.

As Albany Debates a Permanent Property Tax Cap, How Is the Cap Affecting School Budgets?

Source: Jim Malatras, Nicholas Simons, Michelle Cummings, Rockefeller Institute of Government, January 23, 2019

This is the first in a series on property taxes in New York State by the Rockefeller Institute of Government. Collaborating with other organizations, the Rockefeller Institute will take an in-depth look into various issues surrounding property taxes including their impact on local governments, case studies of how the tax cap is working in school districts, the future of education financing and its reliance on local property taxes, and property tax assessments.

To Cap or Not to Cap, That Is the Question
As Albany Debates a Permanent Property Tax Cap, How Is the Cap Affecting School Budgets?

Newly minted Democratic Majority Leader and Temporary President of the State Senate, Andrea Stewart Cousins, said the Senate would take up a bill to make the local property tax cap permanent this week. New York State has some of the nation’s highest property taxes, be it in total dollars paid (in the downstate suburbs, like Nassau and Westchester Counties) or by home value (in many upstate counties, like Orleans and Wayne). In response, the state enacted in 2011 a local property tax cap law that restricted annual property tax increases to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. While the tax cap has limited local property taxes, it also has an effect on the distribution of school revenue (with more money coming from progressive state income taxes) and higher passage rates for school budgets.

The property tax cap was not made permanent. It was part of a larger horse-trading deal that included strengthening and extending rent regulations on housing, primarily in New York City. As part of the original deal, the local property tax cap was scheduled to sunset after four years unless reauthorized by the state legislature and signed by the governor. The tax cap was extended once in 2015 and is once again up for renewal in 2020…..