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.”

UB Hires New VP of Enrollment, Roxie Shabazz

Roxie M. Shabbaz begins work at the University of Baltimore on October 12. Photo courtesy of the University of Baltimore

If you had a job in Hawaii, you probably wouldn’t want to come back east but Roxie Shabazz does. And more importantly, she is coming to University of Baltimore.

Roxie M. Shabazz has been hired to serve as the new Vice President of Enrollment Management for the University of Baltimore. 

Administration was attracted to Shabazz’s successful track record to include over two decades of higher education experience. She was selected after a nationwide search and a series of interviews with key figures in the faculty, staff, and administration. 

She has served in multiple admission and enrollment roles in public and private institutions in Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and most recently, Hawai’i. 

Since 2014, Shabazz has been the assistant vice chancellor at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa, where she instituted a holistic approach to enrollment management. As a result, the University of Hawai’i was able to welcome more students and increase their retention rate.

“After meeting the people of UB, from the staff to the President, I was convinced that there was a place for me here,” Shabazz said. “Higher education is facing and will continue to face transformative challenges such as enrollment declines and the pandemic for the next several years.”

Shabazz, herself, has expressed her admiration for UB’s long-standing commitment to adult learning, diversity, and student success.

Shabazz earned a master’s degree in social service from Bryn Mawr College in 1985, and a B.A. from Villanova University in 1981.

She begins as Vice President of Enrollment Management on October 12.

Kopper Boyd is a staff writer for The Sting.

UB Admin. Silent on Tuition Refund, says FOIA request

  Photo credit: Fourth View Media

A public information request to University of Baltimore officials ranging from President Kurt Schmoke, Provost Smith, and Chief Financial Officer Beth Amyot yielded no results. 

University of Baltimore is one of nearly a dozen universities to receive a public information request from Fourth View Media, a multimedia company. 

These requests have been a part of “Return My Semester”, a series of Fourth View Media, that maintains a public database showcasing actions taken by universities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions can range from refunding student fees and parking to providing tuition credits at a prorated rate. 

Return My Semester’s database is growing with only University of Baltimore and University of Maryland at College Park being the only schools with data in Maryland.   

Fourth View, in their press release, recognized the University of Baltimore as the first university among those who received FOIA requests to respond. 

“That request sought communications, including emails, of President Kurt Schmoke, Executive Vice President and Provost Darlene Brannigan Smith, and Director of Finance Karen Karmiol that contained the phrase “tuition reimbursement” or “tuition refund” during months of February and March of this year,” said the press release from Fourth View. “The Office of Government and Public Affairs informed Fourth View that “the University has no responsive information.”

“We will continue to shed light on the discussion around how the coronavirus has impacted education and the campus experience by acting as a central resource for not only students,” said Dylan Thomas, content strategist for Fourth View to the UB Post. “But also for the general public. ”

University of Baltimore students have organized a Change.org petition on a tuition refund which could be accessed here.

MICA Mondays: Dylan Jones

Dylan Jones is a senior at MICA studying painting. His art, inspired by his love for sports, draws on experiences from himself and other athletes to include perseverance, injury, defeat, and triumph.

MICA Mondays is a project of the UB Post (University of Baltimore) showcasing the talent and work of students and alumni of the nearby Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) released every Monday during the fall and spring semesters.

Produced by: Benjamin Kahn and Jeff Dominguez

Host: Benjamin Kahn

Edited by: Jeff Dominguez

UB Ethics Bowl Wins Regionals; Heads to Atlanta in Spring 2020

Dr. Fred Guy, UB Ethics bowl coach and philosophy professor (l), Daniel Gellasch, JC Lloyd, Jayla- Rae Foster, and Hugh Norko (r). Photo credit: University of Baltimore Office of Government and Public Affairs

UB Ethics Bowl team members will be packing their bags for Atlanta soon as they placed first in the regional ethics bowl contest in Jacksonville, Florida last month.

On November 9, 2019, students Jayla Rae Foster, J.C. Lloyd, Hugh Norko (who is also Baltimore editor for the UB Post), and Daniel Gellasch led the team to an upset victory over schools over schools like Seton Hall, Auburn, and Georgia State. Coming in first place, the four will proceed to nationals in Atlanta in February. 

“I had a big smile and was delighted and in disbelief that we won the whole thing,” said Dr. Fred Guy, the team’s coach for the past 16 years. With a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia and decades of ethics teaching experience, the former Auburn basketball player turned Australian Olympian brings unique skills to the UB Ethics Bowl Team. is almost made for the job of leading the team to victory. 

“Dr. Guy is a very hands off coach but he alwaysd gives constructive feedback,” said Hugh Norko. “He emphasizes authenticity on our team which I think carried the day during the competition.” 

Authenticity came a long way as students faced ethical dilemmas ranging from the student loan crisis to the legalization of marijuana. Initially, team members were concerned that the judges were biased in their selection of the 12 cases that they gave to students. The team, however, decided to remain calm and continue to work diligently.

What does a round in ethics bowl look like? Well, for starters, the match begins with the moderator asking an opening question to the teams with judges presenting follow-up questions. Winners are determined not by who won the argument, but rather by the clarity, thoughtfulness, and systematic nature to their answers while pointing out weaknesses in the opposing team’s analysis of the problem. 

Jayla Rae Foster believes that their decision to remain calm and employing a laid-back, conversational style was crucial to their success. 

“It was so surreal when we were sitting across from Seton Hall in the final round,” explained Foster. “UB is always seen as the underdog, and I think we were all just so proud of one another and so excited.”

Yet, both the team and Dr. Guy felt as if they had “won the Super Bowl” when the University of Baltimore was called as the winners of the regional competition. All of the contestants will know us now like they never did before. 

Kenneth Lyle is a contributing writer at the UB Post.

UB Hopes BPD Can Cure Financial Woes

Baltimore police officers at nearby Camden Yards. Wikimedia Commons.

UB students, this past September, learned that the university had agreed to a deal with the Baltimore Police Department to the tune of more than six million dollars over a five-year period. 

The deal was not without controversy. Supporters hailed the deal as a solution to the more than 6 million dollar (6.5 million to be exact) shortfall facing the university while critics bemoaned bringing an institution with a checkered history to a campus with a high concentration of marginalized students. The deal, nonetheless, would lease the gym, classrooms, select rooms in the Learning Commons, and the Maryland Avenue garage for roughly a million dollars per year with 2% annual increases. The Baltimore Police Department also will pay over two million dollars in gym renovations. 

Among many students, a question lingers:  What purpose did this 5-year leasing deal with the Baltimore City Police Department. 

The answer lies in the structural budget deficit that the university has faced for roughly 5 years primarily due to declining undergraduate enrollment over a period of five years. 

Many steps have been taken to close this budget gap over the past three years, including mandatory furlough days,hiring freezes, travel restrictions, and limits on spending by various academic departments and both the Merrick School of Business and University of Baltimore Law School. Later, this expanded to other services either being cut or eliminated. Shuttle bus service hours were reduced. Counseling services were eliminated on campus and outsourced to a third-party agency. 

Last semester, students pushed back against a major cut proposed by administration: shortening gym hours. The SGA took action by collecting student signatures in protest to keep the gym open. Those who were international students who were on work study and contractual employment primary employment came from campus recreation and wellness, would have to forfeit those positions. Campus morale has certainly taken a hit, especially after the partnership’s final details were announced with little input from faculty and students who are most impacted by the changes. 

Beth Aymot, chief financial officer for the University of Baltimore, stands by the method in which administration notified students of these changes. 

“Real estate and partnership agreements, by nature, typically require a small team from each party who evaluate and negotiate the terms to achieve the best possible outcome,” said Aymot. “UB was not in a position, and neither was the City, to share with our communities the details of this arrangement as it was being developed.”

Aymot referred students who were interested in finding out more information to visit the Baltimore Police Education and Training center website. More importantly, she stressed that this deal would have a direct impact on closing the budget shortfall.

However, the university is now focusing its resources on a smooth transition with a UB representative scheduling talks with students about changes in recreation and parking.

At this point, much of the changes that will impact students regarding this agreement has yet to be announced. Students, however, have another opportunity to make their concerns on this issue heard. 

On December 4th, UB President Kurt Schmoke and Baltimore Police Department commissioner Michael Harrison will host a town hall forum co-sponsored by the SGA allowing for students to ask questions and address their concerns about the partnership. 

Officers are expected to arrive on campus sometime early next year. 

Charles Rhem is a staff writer for the UB Post. 

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