LendEdu reports: UB student loan default rate 2% less than national average

A recent report by LendEdu finds that University of Baltimore’s student loan default rate was 7.6% in 2017, compared to the national average of 9.7%. According to Harvard Business Review, student loan debt will account for a whopping $3 trillion of national consumer debt by the end of the next decade, exceeding both car loans and credit card debt. Such staggering debt means students struggling post-grad to make loan repayments are less likely to take out home or auto loans — Scholarship America says up to 36 percent less likely.

This is to say nothing of the toll student loan debt has taken on the health and wellness of those transitioning to post-grad life

The student loan default rate has grown exponentially over the past decade, and economists don’t believe there are any signs of slowing. This rate refers to the percentage of secondary education graduates who fail to make a student loan repayment by more than 270 days. For local context, the default rate out of Johns Hopkins is a slim 1.3%, while Morgan State offers a whopping 16.7%, almost double the national average. St. John’s College has the lowest rate in Maryland at 0.8%, while Coppin State has the highest rate in the state for a four-year university at 17.4%.

These rates speak to a number of factors at these colleges and universities, including financial aid award efficacy, job and career placement after college, career readiness post-grad and, of course, admission costs.

University of Baltimore’s commitment to keeping education affordable coupled with generous merit and need based institutional aid, says associate vice president of financial planning and operations Barabara Aughenbugh, contributes significantly to these outcomes. 

 “The University’s award-winning Career & Internship Center (CIC) engages students throughout their academic experience starting in the first year to ensure that students are ‘career-ready, said Aughenbugh.  “As such, 94% of graduates from the class of spring 2019 were employed or enrolled in graduate school.”

Lawsuit seeking to merge UB, Morgan State dismissed

Judge calls proposal “neither educationally sound nor practical”

A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed a 2007 lawsuit over duplication of degree programs, brought by a group of current and former students of Maryland’s Historically Black Universities (HBUs), against the Maryland Higher Education Commission and the former state Secretary of Higher Education. While not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, the University of Baltimore was mentioned several times in the plaintiffs’ arguments.

The Coalition For Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, a group composed of current and former students from Maryland’s four HBUs – Bowie State University in Prince George’s County, Coppin State University and Morgan State University in Baltimore, and the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore in Princess Anne (Somerset County) – filed the lawsuit on Dec. 31, 2007 in the U.S. District Court for Maryland. Joining the coalition as plaintiffs in the suit was a group of nine students from Morgan State and UMES. The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) and then-Chairman Kevin O’Keefe, along with James Lyons, the Secretary of Higher Education under former Gov. Martin O’Malley, were named as the defendants in the class-action suit.

The suit alleges that certain degree programs referred to as Predominantly White Institutions are duplicating what is offered at the Historically Black Universities, in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the 1992 Supreme Court decision in United States v. Fordice out of Mississippi. The plaintiffs also accused the state of failing to live up to its obligations in a 2000 agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to “enhance Maryland’s historically Black colleges and universities.” On Feb. 2, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Blake dismissed the lawsuit, and ordered both sides to mediate out of court. Judge Blake ordered attorneys for each side to file proposals for remedies by Feb. 19. After that, she scheduled a conference call or a meeting in her chambers to discuss the schedule for a possible trial.

One of the remedies the Coalition proposed in its filing was for Morgan State to take over the University of Baltimore. UB President Kurt Schmoke says this proposal went beyond the focus of the lawsuit, which was the duplication of programs, in the view of Judge Blake.

“A proposal to merge two universities together, in her view, went beyond the narrow focus on program duplication. That was just an extreme response to the program duplication issue,” President Schmoke said. In her ruling, Judge Blake wrote that, “any numerical benefit as to the racial identifiability of the resulting student body would be outweighed by its academic and financial cost.”

“We were asked to submit an affidavit responding to the plaintiffs’ proposed remedies, and we showed how there would be a detrimental financial impact on the university by this merger,” President Schmoke said. “For example, the fact that we currently have a relationship with the UB Foundation, which is a separate nonprofit entity, which provides things like the Fund for Educational Excellence and it provides grants. If we were to merge into Morgan, the UB Foundation has no obligation to continue to support us. They are a separate entity, and so we would lose access to a foundation that has been working with us historically, providing substantial resources to faculty and students, and that would be a financial detriment to the university.”

Morgan State University has had a Master’s in Business Administration program since 1964. In 2005, the MHEC approved the UB/Towson MBA, which started in 2010. President Schmoke explained that the Morgan administrators’ argument wasn’t with UB, but instead with Towson getting an MBA. He said Morgan wanted business students who graduated from Towson to enroll at Morgan for its MBA program.

“The only way that the state allowed Towson to do that was to attach itself to the existing UB MBA program,” President Schmoke said. The plaintiffs cited the approval of the UB/Towson MBA as one of several examples going back to the late 1970s of the MHEC approving degree programs at PWI’s. These include the approval of the undergraduate marketing and exercise science programs in 2001, and the business program in 1978 at Salisbury University, which allegedly duplicated the programs offered at UMES. The graduate Public Health program at University of Maryland-Baltimore was approved in 2006, and the plaintiffs allege that program duplicates the program offered at Morgan State. However, President Schmoke described how UB has formed a partnership with Coppin State for a joint Master of Science program in Human Services Administration, a program that UB doesn’t offer on its own.

Accounting student look to start NABA chapter on campus

By Andrew Koch

Like many students at the UB, Denyse Webber is a nontraditional student. She’s a member of the UB chapter of Beta Alpha Psi (the honor society for accounting, finance and information systems majors), and is scheduled to graduate with her Master of Science Degree in Accounting and Business Advisory Services in December 2015. Webber is also trying to start a new group on campus geared specifically toward minority students.

Webber is trying to start a UB chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA). She explained that the association was started to help African Americans overcome the racial barriers that existed in the past and break into the accounting profession. Webber said the lack of African Americans in the accounting field is still an issue today. Now, NABA awards scholarships to African-American accounting majors, and provides them with networking opportunities. Webber said she wants to start at UB to help black accounting students capitalize on opportunities that are available to them in the field.

“I felt like a lot of students, especially African-American students, don’t really know how to take ad- vantage of the opportunities,” Web- ber said. “So I thought with NABA that, coming from someone who was just like them, would help them understand and guide them through the process of getting your degree in ac- counting, sitting for your CPA exam.”

However, Webber said she’s running into some challenges in trying to start a chapter on campus, including graduation at the end of each semester.

“It’s hard to get people to commit if they graduate every semester,” Webber said. She said she’s found that some people don’t want to take ad- vantage of networking opportunities, even though that could help them in the future.

“Some people just have an attitude that ‘I just want to get my degree, I really don’t want to participate in any networking or any organizations,’” Webber said. In addition, she said that because some people work full- time, they don’t have the time to devote to such organizations. She said she’s not really sure what to do to get students to make the commitment so a chapter can be started at UB.

While she’s run into difficulty trying to start a NABA chapter at UB, Webber said she’ll continue to promote NABA she has been able to get students to sign up for the asso- ciation’s Baltimore regional chapter. School chapters that are members of the regional chapter include Towson, Morgan State and the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore. The University of Maryland-College Park also has a sizable NABA chapter.

In addition to awarding scholarships to students and providing them with networking opportunities, Webber explained that NABA sets up organizations at different universities throughout the country and, as part of the association’s community outreach, goes into high schools and talk about the accounting profession in an effort to get high school students interested in a career in ac- counting. She added that NABA has conferences in June every year where attendees can go for interviews, and current accountants can go to get Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits. This year’s conference was held in Bethesda. Webber says in the spring, NABA holds regional career development days throughout the country.

During those career development days, Webber explains that members come together, critique student resumes, and go over how to dress and prepare for an interview. Accounting firms and other businesses come to the events. Students can then upload their resumes onto an e-resume book that’s accessible to employers, who can then review resumes and schedule interviews.