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Published on February 13th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Benedict College President, Dr. David H. Swinton, Appointed to be a Negotiator by the US Department of Education

Columbia, SCThe US Department of Education recently announced the appointment of Dr. David H. Swinton, President and CEO of Benedict College, to be a primary negotiator for proposed regulations addressing Title IV Improvement and Integrity Issues. Dr. Swinton is the main negotiator selected to represent the interests of minority-serving institutions. In this role, he will be a part of the rule-making panel that will develop proposed regulations affecting the Parent PLUS Loans Program.

Swinton, who currently serves as the Chairman of the UNCF Member Colleges, noted that, “The panel will be responsible for reviewing the regulatory definition of ‘adverse credit history’ for the Parent PLUS Loan Program.” For the past few years, parents hoping to borrow money through the federal loan program on behalf of their college-aged students have found those loans were harder to obtain than they used to be.

In October 2011, The Education Department added new underwriting standards for the PLUS Loan. The changes made requirements more stringent and have caused a spike in denials, including some to parents who had been able to take out the loans in previous years. The denials have hit particularly hard at historically black colleges and universities, presidents of those colleges, as well as higher education associations, say.  Several Presidents warned the US Department of Education that some students might not return because their parents would not be able acquire the PLUS Loans to pay for college.

Fast forward to 2014, denials have led to some 17,000 fewer students at black colleges, receiving the PLUS Loans, costing the institutions more than $150 million in revenue, according to the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) “This is an important recognition of UNCF and one of our member presidents,” commented Cheryl L. Smith, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs for UNCF, “we congratulate President Swinton and we are confident that he will represent our member Colleges and other minority-serving institutions with distinction.”

The panel will convene February 19-21, 2014, and meet again during two additional sessions in March and April 2014.  

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