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News and Announcements

Student Loan Interest Rates Drop for 2020-21 Year

Student loan interest rates have dropped for 2020-21. The rate for dependent students is 2.75%. Parents will pay 5.3% and graduate students will pay 4.3%.

Thank you College Board for Re-Thinking the Proposed Adversity Score

The Adversity Score proposed by the College Board and field tested at 100 colleges this year has been tabled. The College Board has considered that this is a complex condition to measure and educators have been concerned about the additional measure to consider in an already large data file for each applicant which already reflects much about student adversity.

Kudos to North Carolina System in 2019 for Standardizing AP Policy!

Students entering North Carolina system colleges can now easily predict the college credits they will be granted on the basis of their AP scores from high school. A score of 3 is universally accepted as credit for the corresponding course (see list on college websites).

Previously the score could differ between the 16 colleges in the system. Some required 3 or a score of 4 or 5 (5 is the max score). This policy change can save parents thousands...which may cause parents to be more willing to pay fees associated with AP tests and strongly encourage teens to take the AP test for every AP course they take. Many of my students have taken 5 or more AP classes. Sadly, not all of them are motivated to take the AP test for all of those courses. It is worth the fee to try. If they can earn a score that meets the score prescribed by their colleges, a student taking a total of 5 AP courses (who also take the AP exam) could earn up of 15 credits-a typical full time load for a semester. Imagine the advantages of getting to graduate one semester early and enter the job market ahead of peers!

Is College Board's New Adversity Score Helpful?

The College Board has been BETA Testing a new Adversity Score for colleges to use in making admission decisions since 2017. My first reaction is that it is redundant as colleges already have very detailed information on applicant circumstances from student applications, essays and the FAFSA. They also have information about the high schools students attend from the high school report.

This new score will add some new information about the communities in which students live including crime rates.

As much work as admissions offices have to do combing through a large data file on each student, I wonder if they feel they need more information? So far, I am not getting feedback that indicates that they do.

My second reaction is the lack of transparency of this new score data. Students and their families will not be allowed to have access to their score information and colleges using the new information have not been identified.


The college admission scandal perpetrated by an unethical businessman in California will affect everyone who participates in higher education. College admission offices will have to be more diligent. That will take time and more staff which translates to higher costs for them. Who will pay for that? Parents of students headed to college are already seeing rises in application fees. The scandal is not the only driving factor-but it is raising costs for colleges. The scandal will likely also drive up college exam fees for SAT and ACT because they too were compromised in the scam. Another sinister impact is that testing accommodations for students with learning differences may be harder to come by because that too was part of the scam. Parents already complain about the complexity of arranging for testing for students with dyslexia and other learning conditions.

Beware the "Prosper" Act!

The Prosper Act will cost you if passed. It is designed to return proprietary schools to their former status which allowed them to operate in unethical ways resulting in graduates without jobs and with huge student loan bills. And speaking of loans, there is proposed legislation to get rid of student loan subsidies. Stay tuned! 

Loan Interest Rates Change Annually:

The student loan rate for 2017-18 was 4.49% for undergraduates and 7% for their parents. Those rates rose for the 2018-19 school year as interest rates increased. The student loan interest rate is based on treasury bill rates as of July 1st. The 2018-19 rates were 5.05% for undergraduate student borrowers and 7.6% for parent PLUS loan borrowers. For 2019-20, students will pay an interest rate of 4.53% and parent borrowers will pay 7.08%.

In May, 2017 four student loan servicers previously barred from student loan collections were reinstated: 

  • Navient-owned Pioneer Credit Recovery
  • Enterprise Recovery System,
  • National Recoveries, and
  • Coast Professional 

When your student loan goes into repayment, if you see that 

one of these companies will be in charge of your account, you may want to do some research on your options. Contact them, ask questions and get answers in writing.

My Kid Got in...How Do I Pay?

In the summer and fall, parents worry about whether their kids will get into a good college. In the winter and spring, they have the mixed emotions of My Kid Got In! and How Do I Afford This? The good news is that there is a different strategy for each type of financial condition. Do let your son or daughter know your target budget for their college education. Don't make a final decision about where they can go until you have explored how college financing works. Work with a professional first to make sure you understand your options and how college financing processes work before you talk about which colleges on the list of acceptances your family can afford.

2020 Admissions Rush

Most parents think their rising high school junior has plenty of time to get ready for the 2020 college application process. The bad news is that they have only have 4-8 weeks to get it all done after Labor Day. Some college early application deadlines are October 1 and 15! If there is a rising high school senior at your house, it's time to get busy!

Who Got into College in 2019?

Admission officials continue to receive record numbers of applications from highly qualified students. An increase in the number of highly qualified students applying to in-state colleges has created an admissions challenge at both moderate and highly selective four-year public colleges. As a result of growing opportunities for students to achieve and distinguish themselves and parent concerns about economics, the students who are admitted to highly and moderately selective colleges have higher grades and standardized test scores than in prior years. Students who do not fit that profile who are also admitted are those who have distinguished themselves in other ways and who have amazing essays. Students who thought they could claim moderately selective colleges as "safety" schools have been shocked and disappointed by being wait-listed in some cases. This is the era of "packaging" what you have got going for you as you apply to college...and choosing colleges wisely.

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