News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Direct-Loan Consolidations Halted

Because of a backlog of applicants seeking to combine their various college-loan payments into one monthly bill, the Department of Education has temporarily stopped accepting applications for its Federal Direct Loan Consolidation Program.

Although the department has stopped accepting new consolidation applications for an undetermined amount of time, it will continue to process its current backlog of 70,000 applications while it works to iron out the kinks in the consolidation program, said Elizabeth Hicks, the department's deputy assistant secretary for student financial assistance programs.

Direct student loan consolidation is available not only for direct loans, but for Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) and other federal student loans.

Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a Republican from Michigan who chairs the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, has requested that the department explain the circumstances leading to the backlog and how it plans to remedy the situation.

"Due to this shutdown, tens of thousands of students will be left in limbo," Mr. Hoekstra said in a written statement.

Students wishing to consolidate loans through FFEL, the department's largest financial aid program, may still do so.

Ed. Dept. Awards Star Schools Grant

The Department of Education has awarded nearly $2 million to a rural state consortium to help improve education through distance learning and other uses of technology.

The department issued the grant to the Pacific Star Schools Partnership, made up of schools in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington state, as well as several U.S. territories.

The money will be used to pay for classes in foreign languages, math, science, and adult literacy, as well as professional development for teachers.

"In rural areas like Montana, distance learning does a lot to level the educational playing field," said Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont.

The future of the Star Schools program--an Education Department initiative that finances instruction through distance learning technologies--is in doubt, however.

The House version of the fiscal 1998 education, labor, and health and human services appropriations bill would cancel funding for the program.

The Senate bill would hold the initiative to its current appropriation of $30 million. The two chambers were debating their appropriations bills late last week.

Created in 1988, the Star Schools program has worked with more than 5,000 schools in 48 states, according to the Education Department.

Web Only

Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >