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The pressure institutions are facing from the growing student loan debt crisis is felt by all departments, from financial aid to admissions. Schools are struggling to justify tuition costs to prospective students, as well as to ensure recent alumni leave pleased with the institution, despite having student loan debt. In this web seminar, originally broadcast on November 13, 2012, representatives from American Student Assistance (ASA), St.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, with students and teachers behind him, gestures during a news conference after voting Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 in Oakland, Calif. The governor talked about his support for Proposition 30 that will increase funding for schools and public safety. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

While voters across the nation were glued to their screens last night counting electoral votes, the higher education community was holding its breath awaiting the answers on a number of important ballot initiatives, proving this year’s election was truly about more than blue and red for higher ed.

With the 2012 election only weeks away, Pres. Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney are furiously campaigning for that segment of undecided voters that could make or break their efforts.

At the top of nearly every list of voter concerns this year, of course, is the economy. And because one of the keys to growing the economy is an educated workforce, voters are anxious to hear where each candidate stands on higher education. For the most part, the discussion centers on two issues—affordability and accountability—and the differences are stark.

  • Emphasize the cost savings. By paying even a portion of their tuition through an installment plan now, rather than amassing larger post-college debt, families can save big.
  • Make it multichannel. Communications about the option should ideally be on-paper (mailed and posted on campus), online, via email, and by phone. 
  • Reach out often. Students and parents should hear about the payment plan option several times during both the admissions process and after enrollment—and especially when financial aid programs are explained.

The cost of a college education continues to rise, despite declining consumer ability to pay for it. And with 70 percent of college students and parents agreeing that college is needed now more than ever, according to Sallie Mae’s “How America Pays for College 2012,” finding an affordable institution is key. The College Board’s annual report on “Trends in Pricing” states that the total cost of attending a four-year public university rose 6 percent in-state and, at four-year private universities, costs rose 4.4 percent in the last year.

In the world of federal student loan repayment, graduates have the upper hand. So do young adults well-schooled in the ways of money management.

Tusculum College in Tennessee understands that, particularly since working with the experts at Inceptia—leaders in financial education, default aversion and financial aid management services. Inceptia’s mission is to increase the financial aptitude of students, improve graduation rates and provide financial education and financial aid management services. Inceptia’s goal: 100 percent repayment of federal student loans. 

Higher One has achieved Oracle Validated Integration of its CASHNet payment processing suite 2012.2 with Oracle’s PeopleSoft Campus Solutions 9.0. With this integration, colleges and universities, as well as students and parents, are able to easily process payment anytime, anywhere using the CASHNet payment processing suite. To achieve Oracle Validated Integration, Oracle partners are required to meet a stringent set of requirements that are based on the needs and priorities of the customers.

Jack Gochenaur was hearing scary stories around campus. Some financial aid students didn't know whether they'd received loans or grants to pay for their education. Many had no idea what they'd need to earn to meet their monthly loan payments.

"I have students who reach their senior year and during exit counseling, it's the first time they know how much money they owe," said Gochenaur, Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer of Manchester College, a 1,300-student liberal arts college in North Manchester, Indiana.

Something, he realized, had to change.

As college acceptance letters began popping up in mailboxes across the country this year, incoming students were left once again with the daunting task of choosing the right school. While cost has always been a consideration, more students than ever before are now considering it as a key factor—not only in terms of which school to attend, but whether they go to college at all.

Mount Holyoke College (Mass.) announced that it will not raise tuition or room and board for the 2012-2013 academic year, holding prices at the 2011-2012 rate—and making next year the first since 1968 that Mount Holyoke has not experienced an increase in the cost of attendance.