The midterms elections brought more women, millennials, and people of color to Congress. As these groups are known to be disproportionately affected by student debt, we are hopeful that their personal experience will motivate them to fix America’s crippling student debt crisis. At the federal level, Democrats have gained a majority of the House of Representatives, which means that they will also be able to control the leadership of the committee that oversees higher education and student loan policies. This will give Democrats increased oversight over Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education’s policies that have systematically favored corporate interests at the expense of students. While it is unclear whether there will be enough bipartisan agreement to reauthorize The Higher Education Act, there are important opportunities for states to do more to regulate student loan industry, to protect struggling student borrowers, and more importantly to introduce initiatives to make college affordable. At HI, we look forward to working with our representatives on several promising higher education initiatives; to learn more about 2019 priorities, click here HERE.

Massachusetts Updates:

Former Mount Ida students suing their school for violations of privacy, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation

Students filed a lawsuit against their former school, its board of trustees, and five Mount Ida administrators after being faced with numerous challenges when the school abruptly announced it was closing in April 2018. The lawsuit alleges that Mount Ida, its board of trustees, and the school’s administrators committed fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract in their actions leading up to the school’s closure, and violated students privacy by sharing students’ sensitive and private student academic data with UMass Dartmouth without students’ authorization. Plaintiffs hope to have the claim certified as a class-action suit, which would then represent all students affected. We are proud of Bob Hildreth, our founder, for standing up for what is right and assuming the cost of this lawsuit on behalf of the affected students. Read Bob’s blog on why he funded this lawsuit HERE.

Other MA news:

Falling elevators, raw hamburger, lax security at UMass Boston dorms

UMass Boston promises swift improvements at new dorm

Hildreth Draws Attention to Student Debt Crisis

‘It’s okay to be white’ message added to posters at Tufts

Harvard Medical School receives record $200 million gift

Could Katherine Newman be the right fit to lead UMass Boston ?

Former Mount Ida students sue, accusing college leaders of fraud

Former students file suit against Mount Ida College alleging negligence, privacy violations

Former Mount Ida Students File Class Action Lawsuit

National updates:

Bittersweet News: Bloomberg Mega-Gift to John Hopkins

Bloomberg’s $1.8 billion donation to John Hopkins, the largest ever private gift to any college in the US, seeks to eliminate student loans from its students’ financial aid packages and replace them with scholarships. This news is bittersweet news for us: while we support the principle of replacing loans with grants and the proliferation of Zero-Debt campuses, we are disappointed that such a large gift would go exclusively to an already well-endowed elite school. In fact, according to our calculations, John Hopkins could already offer no loan degrees to all its undergraduate students by using only 0.2% of its existing endowment of $3.7 billion!

We need to break this elitist tradition of rich alma mater giftsto already well-endowed elite schools. While Bloomberg did at least aspire to increase diversity and access by dedicating his gift for scholarships, the sad reality is that most large gifts are for capital projects that inflate tuition and restrict access for low- to middle-income families. Read our founder’s article on this HERE.

Student Loan Watchdog continues his fight to protect student loan borrowers by establishing his own organization

After sounding the alarm on the Bureau’s abandonment of struggling student loan borrowers and standing up for what is right, former ombudsman, Seth Frotman, at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is launching his own organization to continue his fight to protect student loan borrowers. We are congratulating him and his deep knowledge on the subject matter will be critical in exposing where the system is failing our students. We are looking forward to working together with them! Visit Student Borrowers Protection Center’s website, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Other National News:

Forgiving All Student Loans: A Bold Idea, or Welfare for the Well-Off?

Student debt is on the rise. Some schools are doing away with the loans

One billionaire’s solution to the rising national debt: Raise my taxes

Many disabled veterans eligible for student loan forgiveness are still paying

Public universities seek to boost low-income enrollment, degree completion

The Benefits Of Taking Out Loans For College

Grace Period for Student Loans Is Ending, and Bills Are Coming Due

Student borrowers with cancer can now pause their payments

The 2018 Midterms Results Point To Your Student Loans Getting Some Attention From Lawmakers

Here’s how the midterm election results could affect student-loan borrowers

Borrowers Face Hazy Path as Program to Forgive Student Loans Stalls Under Betsy DeVos

New Congress could help alleviate student debt, says personal finance CEO

House Democrats pile on to scrutinize DeVos

Why Democrats Have Stopped Talking About Free College