U.S. Department of Education to crack down on federal funding standards and what that means for you

 Graphic by Demi Blackmon, Managing Editor

Graphic by Demi Blackmon, Managing Editor

Abbi Webb, Assistant Editor 

For some college students, graduating college is the beginning of freedom. But for those students who manage to bury themselves in lots of debt during their college career it is the beginning of a long, dreaded journey: paying off student loans.

The excess of college students nationwide who graduate with ample amounts of student loan debt and no career to pay them off has propelled the U.S. Department of Education to action. New regulations for most for-profit institutions and private and public non-profit institutions were announced in October 2014 and are set to go into effect July 1, 2015, according to an article on the Department’s website. These new regulations will help ensure that all college and universities are equipping gainfully employed students, that is, students who are receiving some type of employment after they graduate and are actively paying off student loan debt.

 The federal government has the power to cut financial aid from any school programs that do not comply to the Dept. of Education's new regulations for preparing students for gainful employment. 

The federal government has the power to cut financial aid from any school programs that do not comply to the Dept. of Education's new regulations for preparing students for gainful employment. 

An October article from the U.S. Department of Education’s website laid out the new regulations that are said to be more rigorous than the 2011 program. All institutions receiving student federal aid money will have to comply to this new set of rules and meet certain accountability requirements. Some of the new regulations include: Preventing students from being buried in student debt, providing transparency about student success rates and improving student outcomes, as found on the Department’s website. If a program does not meet the standards required, it will be at risk of losing all federal funding.

The Department estimated that if the regulations were implemented in October 2014 about 1,400 programs would have failed and become ineligible for federal student aid.

Joshua Putnam, Coordinator of Career Services, said that North Greenville may see the effects of these new regulations.

One of the new requirements laid out by the U.S. Department of Education is providing more transparency in student success rates, an area that Putnam said North Greenville needs improvement.

“We need a better grasp on where our students are in the job field,” said Putnam. “We are trying to build the alumni department’s data on where our students are after they graduate,” he added.

Putnam did praise the university’s ability to ensure successful student outcomes and getting students to think long term.

“We ask students, ‘Where do you want to be in five to 10 years?’ Some students don’t know. So we help them figure out a goal and then we say, ‘Let’s get you to that goal,’” said Putnam.

One way to get students to their desired goal is to use a resource known as CCN, said Putnam.

CCN (College Central Network) is an online career center that provides students with an easy and free way to enhance their professional skills and search for job postings at both local and national levels. CCN can be used as a resource when students are developing their resumes, portfolios, or interview skills. Many employers looking to hire North Greenville graduates use CNN to scope out potential employees.

“Our goal is to help students polish their professional skills,” said Putnam.

Another way Career Services is furthering North Greenville students is through networking events and job fairs. On Feb. 9, a summer camp networking event will be held in the North Greenville dining hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Feb. 16, an employer networking event will be held at the same location from 11 a.m to 1 p.m.

Putnam said attending networking events and job fairs is essential for an upcoming graduate.

“It’s smart to start looking,” said Putnam. “If you wait and start looking for a job as soon as you walk across the stage, it’s going to be hard for you to compete in today’s job market.”