Education & Schools
Obama administration backtracks on student loan announcement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 15:55

Last year, Senator Grassley asked President Obama for clarification on the legal authority to implement the components of the President’s announcement that he was taking unilateral action to reduce select borrower’s student loan obligations.  Click here for Senator Grassley’s letter.  The inquiry was based on the implication in the President’s comments that he intended to go beyond the laws passed by Congress.

The subsequent response from the Secretary of Education indicated that, while the White House announcement had referred to changes to the Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan that go beyond a law passed by Congress in 2010, the Department of Education was actually beginning the process to change the regulations governing the Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan, an older program with a more flexible authorizing statute that gives greater discretion to the Secretary of Education.  Moreover, while the White House’s October announcement stated that this was part of a “series of executive actions” he was implementing and provided specific details about how the initiative would work, the Secretary of Education’s response to Senator Grassley explained that the Department of Education was actually initiating a negotiated rulemaking process by which various stakeholders will meet to negotiate the final details of the new regulations.  Click here to read Secretary Duncan’s letter.  In other words, the President’s announcement is just an initial proposal and the actual details have yet to be determined.

Here’s a comment from Senator Grassley about this revelation:

“I am glad to know that the Department of Education may not be flagrantly ignoring the law after all as President Obama’s announcement initially implied.  However, the misinformation in the White House announcement that erroneously steers interested students to the IBR plan is still a potential source of confusion for students and financial aid advisors.  I hope the White House will issue a correction.  I also continue to have concerns about the potential costs of this initiative given the Secretary’s refusal to answer my detailed questions about how the Administration’s cost estimate was calculated.”

For additional background, the October 25, 2011, press release issued by the White House cited the fact that, “Current law allows borrowers to limit their loan payments to 15 percent of their discretionary income and forgives all remaining debt after 25 years” and gives a website for more information about the Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan before going on to point out that, “…Congress enacted, a plan to further ease student loan debt payment by lowering the IBR loan payment to 10 percent of income, and the forgiveness timeline to 20 years. This change is set to go into effect for all new borrowers after 2014—mostly impacting future college students.”  The White House announcement then states, “Today, the Administration is proposing to offer even more immediate relief to many current college students by giving them the chance to limit loan payments to 10 percent of their discretionary income starting in 2012.”  Or, as the President said in his remarks at the University of Colorado the following day, “So today, I’m here to announce that we’re going to speed things up.  We’re going to make these changes work for students who are in college right now.”

News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Alvaro Macias   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 15:51

BETTENDORF, Iowa –Ascentra Credit Union was recently awarded $10,000 through two grants to help the organization’s financial education efforts in our community in 2012.  The funds will be used for real-world financial literacy programs like “Banzai!”  The grants were provided by the National Credit Union Foundation and the Iowa Credit Union Foundation.

“When 18 to 24 year olds are the fastest growing demographic declaring bankruptcy, it’s clear that there is a need for young people to be more financially savvy,” Ascentra Credit Union’s Community Development Coordinator Alvaro Macias said.  “For that reason financial education for young people is now more important than ever.”

Ascentra realizes teachers need resources for an often mandated, but also often underfunded curriculum of financial literacy.  As a not-for-profit financial institution that promotes financial education to its members, teachers can count on an organization that shares the same values to provide a free, comprehensive, quality financial education program.

Banzai has been requested by 19 in 2011 area teachers and Ascentra plans to at least double that to 35-42 teachers.  If you are a teacher, and interested in Banazai please visit to learn more and sign up to receive free materials for your classes.  You can even see how your state's financial literacy standards align with Banzai.

Some of the schools that have used Banzai include Davenport North High School, Assumption High School, Williams Intermediate School, Rock Island High School, Moline High School, Prince of Peace High School and many more.

“By preparing students with a solid understanding of how to manage their money, they will be better prepared when starting out in life and stepping out into the real world,” Macias added.

For more information about Ascentra Credit Union please visit  To learn more about the National Credit Union Foundation visit  To learn more about the Iowa Credit Union Foundation visit

Q&A on Admission to the U.S. Service Academies PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 15:40

with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley


Q:        How do young Americans get a place at the U.S. service academies?

A:         Starting more than 200 years ago, the U.S. service academies have educated and trained the best and the brightest to lead and command the Armed Forces in service to the nation.  The young Americans who want to serve our country and win places at the service academies are remarkable for their accomplishments and leadership.  A rigorous selection process ensures that candidates for officers’ training arrive with superior scholastic, athletic and leadership skills that will help preserve freedom and secure our American way of life for generations to come.


Admissions are highly competitive to the Military Academy in West Point, NY; the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD; the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO; the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT; and the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY.  Applicants to all of these service academies except the Coast Guard require a nomination to the school, and those can be made by U.S. senators, representatives, the President and the Vice President.  Coast Guard applicants compete without by-state quotas.


Q:        How does your nomination process work?

A:         As a U.S. senator representing Iowa, I select ten Iowa students to nominate for each vacancy at the Military, Naval and Air Force academies, in accordance with the number of vacancies made available each year.  I’m also able to nominate ten Iowans each year to the Merchant Marine Academy.  Appointments to this academy are allocated in proportion to the state’s representation in Congress.  Iowa currently has access to four vacancies each year for the Merchant Marine Academy.


I encourage students to begin the process of applying for a congressional nomination in the spring of their junior year of high school and to consider applying to all of the service academies.  Applicants also should apply directly to the academy and ask that a pre-candidate file be opened on their behalf.


Iowans can take pride in the 57 nominees whom I recommended at the end of last year for consideration of appointments to the U.S. service academies.  Their collective attributes and achievements are an impressive reflection on the state of Iowa.  Already, from this group, a Coralville student has been offered an appointment to West Point and a Boone student has earned a place at the Naval Academy.


The Army, Naval and Air Force academies are part of the Department of Defense.  The Merchant Marine Academy is part of the Department of Transportation.  And the Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security.  Students at the academies are on active duty in the armed services from the day they enter and are commissioned as officers upon graduation.  Graduates of the Merchant Marine Academy hold Coast Guard licenses for six years and are commissioned into the Navy Reserve.  They also may cross commission into any other branch of the service.


Q:        What are the basic criteria?

A:         Candidates should rank in the top half of their high school class in a college preparatory curriculum.  Candidates should have ACT scores of 25-36 in math and science and 22-36 in English.  They should have demonstrated leadership in and outside of school, with outstanding records of extracurricular activities and/or job experience.  Candidates need to have completed the physical requirements described by the academies.  Those seeking my support must be legal residents of Iowa or dependents of members of the military who are Iowa residents.  Applicants must be U.S. citizens, unmarried with no children or legal obligation for a child, and at least age 17 but not older than 23 years.  Go to the link posted in Info for Iowans at and send a copy of the completed material to:  The Office of Senator Chuck Grassley, 150 1st Avenue NE, Suite 325, Cedar Rapids, Iowa  52401.  Questions can be answered at (319) 363-6832.


Monday, January 9, 2012

News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by TheLink Delivery Service   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 14:57

(JANUARY 6, 2012) - Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, graduated 671 students during Fall Commencement Exercises December 17, 2011.
Among the area students receiving degrees were:

Kelsey R Lindholm of Davenport, Iowa, with a BA in Elementary Education.

Linnea E. Gallo of Moline, Illinois, with an MOT in Occupational Therapy.

Concordia's main campus is located on 200 acres of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. The University and its 10 educational centers and classrooms are home to 7,618 undergraduate and graduate students from 46 states and 28 foreign countries. The University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors, 14 master's degree programs, and doctoral degrees in Pharmacy, Physical Therapy and Nursing Practice.

News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by TheLink Delivery Service   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 14:54

Baldwin City, Kan. - More than 700 undergraduate, graduate and nursing students at Baker University received their degrees during commencement ceremonies Dec. 17-18 at the Collins Center.  Among the graduates is Kelsey Jurkowski of Bettendorf, Iowa with a Master of Business Administration.

Baker, the first university in Kansas, has been listed among the top schools in the Midwest in the annual college rankings by U.S. News & World Report, and selected as a top school in the Midwest by The Princeton Review. Baker has been named one of the top 100 Best Values in Private Universities by Kiplinger's Personal for combining outstanding quality with affordability.

The University serves nearly 4,000 students through the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Education undergraduate programs in Baldwin City; the School of Nursing in Topeka; the School of Professional and Graduate Studies in Overland Park, Kan.; Topeka, Kan.; Wichita, Kan.; and Kansas City, Mo.; Lee's Summit, Mo.; and the School of Education in Overland Park.

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