Changes in Financial Aid and Student Enrollment of Historically Black Colleges and Universities After the Tightening of PLUS Credit Standards: An Update for the 2013/14 School Year

Publisher: Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Mid-Atlantic
Feb 09, 2017
Authors
Matthew Johnson, Julie Bruch, and Brian Gill

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education tightened the credit history standards for obtaining Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). Concerned about the possible effects of this change on historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), REL Mid-Atlantic's HBCU Research Alliance wanted to measure and understand changes in financial aid and student enrollment at HBCUs during the first full year after the new credit standards were imposed. The resulting report found declines in the number of PLUS recipients and enrollment at HBCUs (Johnson, Bruch, & Gill, 2015). This follow-up study looks at changes in financial aid and enrollment after the summer of 2013, when the Department of Education changed the appeals process for families denied PLUS loans. The study found that the number of PLUS recipients at HBCUs increased in 2013/14, though the number of recipients remained substantially below the level before PLUS credit standards were tightened in 2011. Enrollment at HBCUs continued to decline in 2013/14, as did the enrollment of Black students nationwide.