Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Need Student Debtors to Provide Information about Low-Financial-Value Postsecondary Programs (Updated February 15, 2023)


[Editor's Note: The public comment period ended February 10, 2023.]  

The US Department of Education is accepting public comments as a Request for Information (RFI) about "Public Transparency for Low-Financial-Value Postsecondary Programs."  The announcement is available at the US Federal Register.  

The URL to make these comments is at 


As with most US government rules and policies, industry insiders have great influence in these decisions--and concerned citizens are often shut out of the process. When consumers do have a chance to speak, they may not even know of those opportunities.  That's why the Higher Education Inquirer is asking student loan debtors to contribute to this RFI while they can.   

Tell DC policymakers and technocrats about your unique struggles (and your family's struggles) tied to student debt--and what could be done to better inform consumers like you. 

There you can find public comments that have already been made.  As of February 15, only 129 comments were posted. 

According to the announcement: 

"a misalignment of prices charged to financial benefits received may cause particularly acute harm for student loan borrowers who may struggle to repay their debts after discovering too late that their postsecondary programs did not adequately prepare them for the workforce. Taxpayers also shoulder the costs when a substantial number and share of borrowers are unable to successfully repay their loans. The number of borrowers facing challenges related to the repayment of their student loans is significant."  

The Request for Information continues...

"Programs that result in students taking on excessive amounts of debt can make it challenging for students to reach significant life milestones like purchasing a home, starting a family, or saving enough for retirement, ultimately undermining their ability to climb the economic mobility ladder. Especially for borrowers who attended graduate programs, debt-to-income ratios often rise well above sustainable levels. IDR (Income-Driven Repayment) plans also cannot fully protect borrowers from the consequences of low financial-value programs. For instance, IDR plans cannot give students back the time they invested in such programs. For many programs, the cost of students' time may be at least as significant as direct program costs such as tuition, fees, and supplies. Loans will also still show up on borrowers' credit reports, including any periods of delinquency or default prior to enrollment in IDR."

"The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to improving accountability for institutions of higher education. One component of that work is to increase transparency and public accountability by drawing attention to the postsecondary programs that are most likely to leave students with unaffordable loans and provide the lowest financial returns for students and taxpayers."

CECU, an group representing for-profit colleges, has an organized effort to protect its interests. 
Meanwhile, Robert Kelchen has provided an EXCEL spreadsheet that provides many answers. The dataset covers 45,971 programs at 5,033 institutions with data on both student debt and earnings for those same cohorts. We found more than 12,200 programs where debt exceeds income. And more than 7200 programs resulted in median incomes of less than $25,000 a year with debt greater than $10,000.

While some of these high-debt programs in medicine and law may eventually be profitable, many more paint a picture of struggle with a lifetime of debt peonage. Cosmetology schools had a large number of low-income programs.  But the fine arts, humanities, social sciences, and education also produced low-value programs in terms of debt to income ratio. 

Some of subprime schools HEI has been investigating (Purdue University Global, University of Arizona Global, The Art Institutes) had a number of low-value majors. But elite and brand name schools like Duke, Drexel, Emory, Syracuse, Baylor, DePaul, New School, and University of Rochester even have high debt and low-income programs. 

Related link:  I Went on Strike to Cancel My Student Debt and Won. Every Debtor Deserves the Same. (Ann Bowers)

Related link: More Transparency About the Student Debt Portfolio Is Needed: Student Debt By Institution

Related link: The College Dream is Over (Gary Roth)

Related link: Even Elite Schools Have Subprime Majors (Keil Dumsch and Dahn Shaulis)

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Manhattanville College’s Administration Tries to Save School...by Removing its Heart (Bob Frank)

During the past two years, administrators at storied Manhattanville College have removed 46 full-time faculty--by paying then to retire or laying them off. Last month, for the first time in Manhattanville's history, tenured faculty in the arts and humanities were pushed away. 

Since the 1840s, Manhattanville College was famous for its caring faculty.  But now they will follow a CUNY/SUNY big school format, with most courses taught by adjunct faculty.

As much as the college claims on its front page to "put focus on the future," the reality is that of less caring, financially unstable institution.

To survive, Manhattanville College has chosen to cut full-time faculty, grow its administration, and create new interdisciplinary degrees. Unfortunately, no-one knows what those new interdisciplinary degrees will look like.

The Manhattanville faculty is the heart of the institution. To discard so many of them, points towards a lack of vision from its administration. 

Today, there are no more tenured faculty in many of the humanities and art disciplines and degrees such in Art History, Languages, Music, Technical Theatre, and many more, have been frozen. The future of this institution looks grim, following many years of catastrophic poor leadership and financial distress.

Students are also voicing opposition to these developments in this Change.org petition. 

One needs to ask "How can a small liberal arts college survive under the current financial climate?"

It appears Manhattanville’s administration, and its Board of Trustees, believe the answer is by freezing disciplines and replacing them with new degrees that have a proven history of being financially lucrative. But is that really the answer? 

In reality, after removing 50 percent of its full-time faculty, this college has lost its heart. The heart of Manhattanville College was its faculty and the only reason for students to choose this college. 

Compared to nearby, cheaper colleges, Manhattanville is small, with old dormitories, poor student activities, and not much to do during the weekends. Yet, it was a warm and wonderful campus, a place where students knew they were the center of attention, and faculty went far beyond their teaching duties to reach out to all students. 

When transforming a college by removing its heart, one wonders what the future holds, and how long it will take to regain an identity students can trust. 



End the Administration of Manhattanville College's Negligence Towards Students and Staff

Monday, December 26, 2022

How You Pick Your College Could Cost You Lots (Mark Salisbury, TuitionFit*)

[Editor's Note:  Mark Salisbury will be appearing at the Future Trends Forum on Thursday, January 12, 2023, from 2-3 PM EST.  To sign up as an audience member, visit the link at Students, families, colleges, and tuition - Shindig.comUpcoming Forum sessions – The Future Trends Forum (futureofeducation.us)

No matter if it’s cars or candy bars, every marketplace has one thing in common. The seller hopes to influence the buyer’s decision by appealing to their emotions. That’s the best way to get the buyer to pay more than they would otherwise. But the buyer knows that if they can keep their emotions in check and stick to a rational comparison of pros and cons, they have a better chance of paying less than they would otherwise. In every marketplace, underneath the layers of give and take, ebb and flow, sturm und drang, the battle between the rational and the emotional – the head and the heart – rages on.

There’s no better place to watch this epic struggle play out than college admissions. Colleges and universities spend billions every year trying to find just the right emotional trigger. The idea of the “dream” college experience has been stitched into our psyche by popular culture for more than a hundred years, and colleges and universities have no problem subtly (and sometimes overtly) pointing out how much their campus looks like that idyllic dream school. Mix in a healthy dose of FOMO (fear of missing out) by telling folks all the reasons why applying early makes everything better, and you have yourself a powerful cocktail of emotional allure.

But hold on a second! Why go to college? Isn’t going to college – surviving the inevitable ups and downs and making the financial sacrifices required to pay for it – about something more than just four years of fun?

Of course it is. The goal is to learn a lot, grow a lot, graduate on time, and head off into young adulthood with a job that pays well enough to live independently and plan for the future. To hit all of those milestones in order, the college decision has to be heavily influenced by rational considerations. Which college cultivates an environment that is most likely to foster success and growth? Which college provides the best “bang for the buck”? Which college offers the support systems necessary to help students when they struggle?

So here’s one way to push through the cacophony of marketing and angst-inducing urgency messaging that you’ll encounter throughout the college admissions process. Ask yourself the question: is this college’s marketing, and the way they are trying to communicate their message to me, designed to make me think more rationally or react more emotionally? Just knowing which trigger a college is trying to pull will help you keep calm when things get crazy, be confident when you feel overwhelmed, and keep your feet squarely on the ground when you need to make the right decision.

Related link: How TuitionFit Works

*Mark Salisbury is CEO of TuitionFit and Executive Director of My College Planning Team.  This article originally appeared at MCPT Blog.  

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR): Helping Professionals Deal With Religious Trauma


Christian Authoritarianism is a significant social issue in 21st century American culture, a throwback to the hypocrisy, intolerance, and abuse of yesteryear.  Along with this abuse comes a psychological price: religious trauma.  The problem is real, and the consequences can be severe. 

Darren M. Slade, President of the Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR), has organized an important resource for professionals working with religious trauma.  

The Global Center for Religious Research has established the world's first and most comprehensive psychiatric research group to study the causes, manifestations, and treatment options for those suffering from "religious trauma" (RT). Religious Trauma can look like:

*Deep or chronic shame about being personally responsible for Christ's death, being a sinner, or not living up to expectations​​
*Feelings of unworthiness, being unlovable, or bad in some way​​​
*Fear of rejection by God or the faith community
*Lack of self-compassion

*Lack of personal autonomy - an ingrained belief that one's life is for God's sole purpose, leading to challenges making decisions, creating personal boundaries and providing intentional consent
*Feeling that they can't trust themselves, their body or their emotions​​

*Growing up with chronic fear or anxiety around salvation, rapture, Hell, Satan, or demons
*Superstitious beliefs about what will lead to positive and negative outcomes in life
*Perfectionism or hyper-vigilance - fear of making mistakes
*Extreme dualistic thinking - judging every individual thought and action as "good" or "bad"
*Spiritual bypassing - denying the presence and validity of mental health issues due to a belief that those feelings come from Satan or a lack of faith and if they pray enough or are favored then God will take it away​​
*Difficulty with experiencing pleasure​​
*Feeling bad or wrong for having sexual thoughts or feelings, or having physical reactions to sexual situations such as crying or feeling a disconnection from the body
*Denying sexuality
*Lasting trauma from conversion therapy

GCRR has built an international team of licensed psychiatrists, therapists, sociologists, university professors, religion scholars, and Ph.D. candidates from around the world, all who specialize in the field of trauma research.

GCRR's Religious Trauma Studies certificate includes 30 lectures to learn about the effects of shame, perceived failure, and self-criticism, how religious trauma affects the nervous system, understanding developmental religious trauma, EMDR and entheogenic therapies in treating religious trauma, and best therapeutic techniques in supporting patients suffering from religious trauma.*

Lectures include: 

1. "How Religious Trauma Affects the Nervous System and Body" (Elizabeth Wilson, LPC, LAC) 

2. "A Twisting of the Sacred: The Lived Experience of Religious Abuse" (Paula Swindle, PhD & Craig Cashwell, PhD) 

3. "Power and Control Dynamics" (Gill Harvey, PhD) 

4. "Religious Abuse and the Trauma of Perceived Spiritual Failure" (Janyne McConnaughey, PhD) 

5. "Faith, Doubt, and Gatekeeper Trauma" (Brian D. McLaren) 

6. "Developmental Religious Trauma"(Gill Harvey, PhD) 

7. "Bereavement and Bad Theology: A Toxic Cocktail" (Teri Daniel, DMin, CT, CCTP) 

8. "Religious Shame, Self-Criticism, and Mitigating Effects of Self-Compassion" (Mark Karris, LMFT, PsyD) 

9. "The Effectiveness of Using EMDR in Trauma Treatment" (Arielle Sokoll-Ward, LCSW) 

10. "Entheogenic Therapies for Religious Trauma and Disaffiliation" (Kelby Bibler)

11. “What's the Harm: A Glimpse of My Life After Catholicism?” by Jenna Belk, host of Atheistasis Podcast

12. “Gay the Pray Away” by Rev. Erika Allison (Interfaith & LGBTQIA+ Minister and Conversion Therapy Survivor)

13. “Drama Trauma: How Contemporary American Playwrights Reveal Religious Trauma” by Pamela Monaco, PhD (Interim Vice President, Wilbur Wright College)

14. "“The Sacredness of Trauma: Equipping Congregations to Bear Witness” by Elizabeth Power, MEd (International Best-Selling Author and Expert in Trauma-Responsive Systems)

15. “Healing Hell Trauma: Pychological Treatment for Religious Indoctrination in Fear of Hell” by Andrew Jasko, MDiv (Religious Trauma Specialist and Coach)

16. “Healing Religious Trauma Through Psychedelics” by Andrew Jasko, MDiv (Religious Trauma Specialist and Coach)

17. “Religious Trauma and the Later in Life LGBTQIA+ Community” by Anne-Marie Zanzal MDiv (Coming Out Coach, Storyteller and Author)

18. “Religion-Induced Transient Childhood OCD: Two Case Studies” by Urte Laukaityte, M.Sc. (PhD Candidate, UC Berkeley)

19. “Fowler’s Stages of Faith Development and Their Relation to Post-Traumatic Growth” by Teri Daniel, DMin, CT, CCTP (Inter-spiritual Hospice Chaplain, Grief Counselor and Adjunct Instructor)

20.“Departing a Religion: Supporting Those in Grief” by Kara Bowman, MFT (Certified Grief Counselor, Certified Thanatologist, Certified Trauma Therapist)

21. “Cultivating a Uniquely LGBT Spirituality After Religious Trauma” by Tarrin Anderson, MA (Spiritual Director, MA Depth Psychology)

22.“Chewed Up Gum and Broken Rose Petals: Problematizing Purity Culture in Evangelical Christianity” by Katelynn Steinhauser (Graduate Student in English Writing and Rhetoric, Texas Woman's University)

23. “Developmental Religious Trauma: When the Personal Story and Research Topic Align” by Gill Harvey, DPsych (Therapeutic Counsellor/Psychotherapist, Supervisor and Trainer)

24.. “How Religious Trauma Hits Home” by Rebekah Drumsta, MA, CPLC (Spiritual Abuse Advocate, Author, Consultant, Coach)

25. “Five Spiritual Practices that Re-Traumatize the Traumatized” by Janyne McConnaughey, PhD (Attachment and Trauma Network, Board President)

26. “The Effect of Adverse Religious Experiences on Women’s Health: A Proposed Grounded Theory Study within the Theoretical Framework of the Roy Adaptation Model” by Beth Schwartz, MS (Professor of Nursing, UCLA )

27. “Understanding Religious Trauma through the Internal Family Systems Model” by Jenna Riemersma, LPC, CSAT-S, CMAT-S, NCC (#1 Best-Selling Author and Founder/Clinical Director of the Atlanta Center for Relational Healing)

28. "Religious Trauma and the LDS-Mormon Faith" by Melissa Walker

29. “Reclaiming Spirituality After Religious Trauma” by Andrew Jasco

30. "Christofascism and Religious Trauma" by Carolyn Baker

*EMDR is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy.  Entheogenic therapies refer to plant-derived psychoactive substances.  

 For more information, visit the Global Center for Religious Research at https://www.gcrr.org/