Sep 14, 2006
EdFed News Wire

America's Top Student Loan Consolidator
Thursday, September 14 , 2006
Terror Suspects Sought Through Financial Aid Records
by Judith Earley
In the wake of the September 11th attacks, a federal program was created that was designed to examine the financial aid records of selected college students. Project Strike Back was a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Education and the FBI; it was first disclosed by the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

USA TODAY was granted access to official documents through Freedom of Information Act requests. According to authorities, "fewer than 1,000" students were targeted by the FBI in terrorism investigations and their financial aid records subsequently examined.

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Pre-Paid Plan Expected To Gain In Popularity
By Teresa Cendreda

The Independent 529 Plan, a prepaid tuition plan for private colleges, celebrated its three-year anniversary last week; now a new law solidifies the plan's future.

The new federal pension law, passed last month, makes the 529 plan more appealing than ever to future college students. The law guarantees the plan's very existence and makes tax-free withdrawals permanent.

"The permanency [of the plan] was a big thing for us," Nancy Farmer, chief executive of the plan told the Los Angeles Times. "We had this cloud hanging over us."

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Report Card on Higher Education released

National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education has come out with "Measuring Up 2006: The National Report Card on Higher Education" a comprehensive report on the performance of higher education in the nation and the states. The findings of the report were presented on Sept. 7 at the National Press Club. The report grades the performance of the nation and all 50 states in five key areas: college preparation, college participation, college affordability, college completion, and benefits to the state. Categories, grades, and indicators are designed to stimulate state, national, and educational policy. In addition, the study includes international comparisons for the U.S. and all 50 states on several of these areas. The report also highlights 10-year trends in performance in the states. It is noteworthy that in previous report, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Utah states were assigned "A" grades. The current edition of the report will be fourth in the series of reports, which the organization has published since 2000.
U.S. News Rankings push Howard north

U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of 'America's Best Colleges' has moved Howard University to the 88th place-up five places, in its 2007 guidebook. The university, in recent years built the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library, the School of Law Library on its District of Columbia campuses, and has increased the number of student scholarships. Howard was also bestowed 22nd rank-up from 24th-in the 'Great Schools, Great Prices' rankings. This category compares the U.S. News ranking of universities with its need-based financial aid. Comparing more than 1,400 higher education institutions, U.S. News categorizes and then weighs the performance of every category. Along with 247 institutions, Howard is in the "National Universities," group which includes private, public, undergraduate and doctoral institutions.

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