Department of Education Report Confirms Dire Warnings

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2015 — The recently released Department of Education report on the tightened credit standards for the Parent PLUS Loan, “Changes in Financial Aid and Student Enrollment at Historically Black Colleges and Universities after the Tightening of PLUS Credit Standards“, demonstrates a clear disproportionate impact on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) finds this report disturbing, although not surprising.

From the first day this unwarranted change was implemented in October 2011, TMCF warned everyone who would listen that this policy change would severely hurt; and, in some cases, destroy HBCUs. Unfortunately, we were correct.

According to the DOE’s own data, HBCU Parent PLUS Loan (PPL) recipients decreased by 45.7 percent in 2012-2013. The impact on non-HBCU campuses paled in comparison to HBCU campuses. Even more troubling is the finding that enrollment at HBCUs also declined following the heightened credit standards by 3.4 percent, resulting in an average loss of 97 students per HBCU.

While the Obama Administration is now publicly acknowledging the damaging impact of Parent PLUS Loan changes to HBCUs, and has adopted changes coming out of the negotiated rulemaking process, more must be done to address the losses experienced by HBCUs and their students, especially low-income and first generation college students. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund continues to stand ready to assist the Department in reducing the impact the PPL changes have had on HBCUs.

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt, charitable organization, is named for the U.S. Supreme Court’s first African-American Justice. Established in 1987, TMCF supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member-schools that include publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), medical schools and law schools nation-wide and in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Through its scholarships and programs, TMCF plays a key role in preparing the leaders of tomorrow. For more information about TMCF and its initiatives, visit