WATER COOLER [POLITICS & POLICY]
The U.S. government’s $1.3 trillion student loan program has a dizzying array of repayment plans that can overwhelm borrowers. That’s one of the things loan servicers are supposed to help with.
Navient, the nation’s largest student loan servicer, handles accounts for more than 1 in 4 Americans who owe money for their higher education. The company sends borrowers their monthly bills, collects payments, and counsels them on their options. Government lawsuits filed on Jan. 18 accuse Navient of taking shortcuts that minimized its costs. They say that hurt some borrowers who could have paid off debt more quickly, while simultaneously putting distressed borrowers in more debt by steering some into plans that put off payments — leading to ballooning balances — instead of income-based repayment programs. Regulators estimate that households’ debt burden may have been inflated by billions of dollars.
Once again Google finds itself under fire for alleged student data privacy breaches. Mississippi Attorney General, Jim Hood, is suing (PDF) the tech giant for “unfair methods of competition and deceptive trade practices.” Specifically, Hood contests that the company tracks and stores student data for advertising purposes, even though Google’s contract says it does not do so once a student is logged into a G Suite for Education account and uses services like YouTube, Google News, or Google Maps.
Hood seeks to have Google disclose all data collection practices, to fully abide by the established contractual agreements with the state and pay a penalty of up to $10,000 for each student in the state. Hood claims that Google has already profited from the student data it collected. According to AP sources, with half of Mississippi students using, GSFE this fine could cost Google over $1 billion.
One area of agreement is that rankings are far too important in setting direction for America’s colleges and universities. To draw attention to this fact (and, cravenly, to draw rankings-obsessed readers), what follows is a ranking of what we all agree on as President Trump takes office.
Gearing up for their district’s password-reset day in October, teachers and school administrators in Raytown, Missouri, watched a spoof video “gym” tour by their tech-support staff, who offered tips for stronger passwords amidst “laptop lunges” and “cross-tech” training. Every few months in Raytown, there’s a new silly video with the serious purpose of safeguarding student information. Privacy and data-security themes are also woven into Raytown’s professional development workshops, curriculum planning sessions and even parent-teacher conferences.
“It’s become part of our school culture,” said Melissa Tebbenkamp, Raytown’s director of instructional technology. “If our student data is hacked, it might just be a test score, but it could also be their social security number, or their disability information,” she said. “It can impact them for the rest of their lives.”
LONDON: Oxford University has been directed to face trial after an Indian-origin student sued the varsity for "hopelessly bad" and "boring" teaching which allegedly resulted in him getting a second class degree and in turn led to loss of earnings in his career as a lawyer.
The world-famous university had applied to the High Court in London to dismiss the claim by Faiz Siddiqui but in an 18-page judgement by Justice Kerr last week the court ruled that Oxford does have a case to answer, 'The Sunday Times' reported.