By: April Ryan, aprildryan.com
The Department of Education was the venue Wednesday for a meeting with Education Secretary Arnie Duncan and the new Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and black journalists. The hour-long session focused on changes in the Parent Plus Loan approvals and the downgrading of the credit rating for Howard University among other pressing issues.
Dr. George Cooper the Director of the White House Initiative for HBCU’s says “all 106 HBCU’s need assistance.” That statement comes as Education officials acknowledge nationally, “enrollment is down for all colleges.” Dr Cooper says, “funding is a real challenge for public and private schools.”
One of the answers to this problem according to Dr. Cooper is federal “supplemental funding” with creative means through a “partnership with 34 federal agencies. He believes in partnerships with that can help bolster the HBCU’s that have taken a hit from the decrease in enrollment because of various reasons including denials of those receiving the Parent Plus Loans. HBCU’s from around the country are waiting for the release of date in late October on the impact of the change in the loan program.
During the conversations, Secretary Duncan emphasized Education Department facts that American students got more money in un-subsidized loans when the changes to Parent Plus Loan rules cut into the numbers of approvals for college funding program. Duncan says, ” We want HBCU’s to thrive.
The Education Department meeting took place on the same day of reports indicating Howard University’s credit rating was downgraded because of funding cuts, an alleged drain on the institution from the Howard University Hospital and other matters.
Secretary Arnie Duncan vows “I have every confidence Howard will be here.” But he recognizes “Howard is having some challenges.”