Biden’s Education Dept. just hired Elizabeth Warren’s student-loans expert, who studied predatory lending at Harvard

elizabeth warren
Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

  • The Education Dept. just hired Toby Merrill, founder of the Predatory Student Loan Project.
  • Elizabeth Warren cited Merrill’s research saying the president can legally cancel $50,000 in student debt.
  • She was hired as deputy general counsel under Education Sec. Miguel Cardona.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A new hire at the Education Department is another in the growing number of experts who have fought alongside Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to reform the student-loan debt system.

Toby Merrill, founder of the Project of Predatory Student Lending at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, was hired as the Education Department’s Deputy General Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel on Tuesday, according to a press release.

The Project represents low-income student-loan borrowers in predatory lending cases against for-profit schools, and according to its website, Merrill has represented borrowers in cases that resulted in almost $1 billion in student-debt cancellation. Notably, her work has caught the eye of Warren, a prominent Democrat pushing for President Joe Biden to cancel more student debt.

Another Warren ally – Richard Cordray – joined in May as the head of the Federal Student Aid office, and while he has not publicly commented on cancelling student debt, he has, like Merrill, shared much of Warren’s agenda throughout his career.

During her presidential campaign, Warren proposed to direct the Secretary of Education to cancel $50,000 in student debt per person, and Merrill, along with Eileen Connor and Deanne Loonin from the Project, wrote a letter to Warren in 2020 affirming her legal ability to cancel student debt using executive action.

“In assessing your proposal, we have consulted the statutory and regulatory framework governing federal student loan programs administered by the Department of Education, as well as the framework and controlling interpretations of the budgetary structure of these programs,” Merrill, Connor and Loonin write. “We conclude that your proposal calls for a lawful and permissible exercise of the Secretary’s authority under existing law.”

They added that “the power to create debt is generally understood to include the power to cancel it.”

Under the Higher Education Act, as Merrill, Connor, and Loonin explained, Congress gave the Education Secretary the unrestricted authority to create and cancel or modify federal student debt, and although Warren did not win the presidency, she has been urging Biden to follow through on her proposal and provide borrowers with $50,000 of student debt relief.

Whether Biden will use the authority Warren and Merrill believe he has is unclear. Although he campaigned on cancelling $10,000 in student debt, he has said he does not think he has the authority to cancel $50,000 of it, but he has asked the Education and Justice Departments to review his ability to do so.

“It’s time for President Biden to #CancelStudentDebt,” Warren wrote on Twitter. “People need this. Our country needs this. And one of the best ways to create a 21st-century economy is by investing in people who have invested in their own education.”

Do you have a story about trying to cancel student debt? Reach out to Ayelet Sheffey at asheffey@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to get into 6 of the best law schools in the US, according to consultants, admissions officers, and students

student loan forbearance
Applicants should have a clear vision on why they want to be a lawyer and be able to communicate that.

  • Yale, Columbia, UChicago, and Harvard are some of the most prestigious law schools in the world.
  • Each school values high test scores, letters of recommendation, and an honest personal statement.
  • Insider regularly interviews experts on how to get into your ideal law program. You can read it all by subscribing to Insider.

Attending law school is time-consuming and expensive, but if you end up in the right program, it could lead to a fulfilling and successful career.

For example, according to Yale Law School’s website, over 13,000 YLS alumni are leaders in their organizations – and a decade after graduating they almost unanimously express job satisfaction.

But to get into a top school, you’ll need more than just high test scores. Here are some tips and best strategies on how to get accepted into one of the best law schools in the country, according to people who’ve done it.

Yale Law School

Yale Law School is the No. 1 law school in the US, according to US News & World Report, while the 2023 acceptance rate was a slim 7.3%.

Yale places high emphasis on obtaining letters of recommendation from professors who know you well and can personally evaluate aspects of your academic work. Something unique about the YLS admissions process is their faculty is heavily involved in selecting each class, so they might especially value strong academic letters.

Read more: How to get into Yale Law School, the No. 1 program in the US

Columbia Law School

Columbia Law School is currently recognized as the fourth best law school in the US, trailing only Yale, Stanford, and Harvard (and tied with the University of Chicago). Of the more than 7,000 students who applied for the class of 2020, only about 16% were accepted.

Applicants to Columbia Law should pay extra attention to their personal statements. Use this as an opportunity to reveal who you really are and what you’re passionate about. Having strong reasons to be in New York City helps as well since it’s an integral part of the school, Timothy Knox, a law school admissions counselor, told Insider.

Read more: Admissions consultants and recent graduates of Columbia Law share what it takes to get into the top 5 law school

UChicago Law School

UChicago Law School consistently ranks among the most prestigious graduate law programs in the world, with an acceptance rate of 18%. Unlike some of the other top schools, UChicago Law has an especially small class size, at just over 600 full-time students. (Columbia, which shares its No. 4 ranking, has double the number.)

The community prioritizes close faculty engagement and “the life of the mind.” Once you’ve taken your LSAT and applied, prepare for your interview by nailing your answer to the question, “Why UChicago?”

Read more: UChicago Law graduates make on average $190,000 a year. Here’s how to get in, according to admissions, students, and consultants.

Read more: UChicago Law students and a dean of admissions explain how to nail your interview and personal statement to land a spot at the elite law school

Harvard Law School

In 2018, Harvard Law School – currently third in the rankings – offered admission to just 12% of applicants. In 2019, it made the shift to rounds of admission.

Per law school admissions coaching consultant Anna Ivey, “HLS admissions officers are very conscientious about recruiting minorities of various kinds: They want a diversity of people and geographic areas,” including veterans and older applicants. This means there’s no standard profile for an HLS student. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t fit what you think to be their ideal type of candidate.

Read more: How to get into Harvard Law School, according to the chief admissions officer, students, and admissions consultants

New York University School of Law

US News and World Report ranks New York University (NYU) School of Law sixth in the nation in terms of best law programs. According to public database Law School Numbers, NYU accepts only about 34% of applicants.

NYU Law has a reputation for three specialties: an international focus, law and business offerings, and public-service opportunities.

Admissions consultant and former LSAT instructor Joseph Vijay Ingam suggests leveraging the fact that NYU uses rolling notification – in other words, applications are sent to admissions in the order in which they’re completed. Ingam has seen that it can be advantageous to apply early.

Read more: An NYU Law grad and an admissions consultant on how to get into the No. 6 law school in the US

Stanford Law School

US News & World Report ranks Stanford Law School (SLS) second in the nation, making it a prime target for aspiring attorneys. Katie Spielman, class of 2007, advised emphasizing your motivation for attending law school – and what you hope to do with a law degree in your personal statement.

“SLS has always, I think, favored admissions candidates who have a strong sense of purpose and a very clear vision of what they hope to do with their law degree and in their legal career,” Spielman told Insider.

Read more: 4 graduates of Stanford Law on how they made their applications stand out and landed spots at the No. 2 program in the US

Read the original article on Business Insider

30% of 18- to 29-year-olds say history will judge Trump as ‘the worst president ever’

women's march
50% more young people say they are politically active today than did in 2009, according to the Harvard poll.

  • Thirty percent of Americans between 18 and 29 years old believe history will judge Trump as the “worst president ever,” according to a new Harvard poll.
  • 56% of young people said history will judge Trump as “bad,” “terrible,” or the “worst president ever.”
  • Just 56% of young Republicans said they want Trump to “play a key role in the future of Republican politics.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Young Americans overwhelmingly dislike former President Donald Trump. And, according to a new Harvard Institute of Politics poll, 30% of Americans between 18 and 29 years old believe history will judge Trump as the “worst” president in US history.

Just about a quarter of young people – 26% – assessed the former president positively, while 56% said history will view him as “bad,” “terrible,” or the “worst president ever.” Eleven percent said he’ll be seen as an “average” president.

Even young Republicans are divided on whether Trump should play a central role in politics going forward. Just 56% said they want Trump to “play a key role in the future of Republican politics.” And when asked to choose between the GOP and Trump, 42% of young Republicans said they are supporters of the Republican Party over the former president. About a quarter said they’re primarily Trump supporters and another quarter said they support both the GOP and Trump.

The majority of these young conservatives are sympathetic or subscribe to Trump and his allies’ false claims about the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

Two-thirds of young people believe President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, but just about a quarter of young Republicans think Biden was legitimately elected. Twenty percent of young GOP-ers believe Trump won reelection against Biden – and this number leaps to 35% among young Republicans who live in rural areas.

At the same time, Biden has attracted historic support from young Americans. The 78-year-old former vice president has the highest approval rating among young people of any first-term US president since the poll was first conducted 20 years ago.

The Harvard poll surveyed 2,513 US residents between 18 and 29 years old from March 9 to March 22, 2021. The margin of error is 2.6%.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Gen Z is paying double what boomers paid for college – and the gap will only widen in the future

college students
Gen Z is staring down a pricey college experience.

  • College costs are more than double what they were in the 1970s, according to a GoBankingRates report.
  • Boomers paid $39,780 in today’s dollars for a four-year public university. Gen Z is paying $90,875.
  • It’s a bad sign for Gen Z, as college costs are expected to continue to climb.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

While US politicians continue to debate student-loan forgiveness, college tuition continues to soar.

Overall college costs are twice what they were in the 1970s, according to a recent GoBankingRates report that assessed generational differences among college expenses. It signals a rough road ahead for Gen Z, the first of whom just began to graduate college in 2019.

The report looked at the College Board’s estimates for average annual costs of tuition, fees, and room and board. It assumed that students attended a four-year institution between ages 18 and 22 for baby boomers, Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z, adjusting estimates for inflation.

The chart below shows just how much college costs have climbed.

From fall 1973 to spring 1977, boomers paid around $39,780 in today’s dollars for four years of public college. That’s a little more than half the cost for millennials attending public college from fall 2006 to spring 2010: $70,000. And what Gen Z is paying today is more than double that: $90,875.

The numbers are even starker for private tuition, which cost around $80,000 in inflation-adjusted dollars for boomers, compared to $165,000 for millennials and a whopping $210,000 for Gen Z.

Gen X experienced the beginning of this uphill battle, as tuition costs rose at a compounded annual growth rate of more than 7% a year from fall 1973 through the fall 1990 in real dollars. From fall 1990 to spring 1994, they would have paid $43,857 at a four-year public university and $115,000 for a private college, adjusted for inflation.

College has become so expensive, some question its value

College is expensive for many reasons, including an increase in financial aid, a lack of state funding, a need for more faculty members and money to pay them, and ballooning student services.

A surge in demand is also driving the price hike, Richard Vedder, an author and distinguished professor emeritus of economics at Ohio University, previously told Insider: “The rewards for college have expanded and grown from 1985 to a little after 2000 and sort of leveled off in the past decade.”

The “advantage of a degree today is less than it was 10 years ago, because of the rising cost,” he added. “The return on investment has fallen.”

Just ask the 49% of indebted millennials still paying off their student loans who said in an Insider and Morning Consult survey that college wasn’t worth the cost.

The pandemic scrambled this equation somewhat, with remote learning leading some to question the value proposition. Insider’s Bradley Saacks and Shana Lebowitz reported in summer 2020 that at least some colleges faced the prospect of students not returning for the upcoming school year, with potentially huge hits to revenue.

Harvard projected last spring that it would lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars during the current school year due to fewer students and no room-and-board revenue. NYU professor Scott Galloway said at a December Insider event that academia is ripe for disruption and likened Harvard to a “$50,000 streaming platform.” But even Galloway said tuition costs haven’t started coming down yet, and don’t seem likely to.

The overall increase in students attending college now compared with previous years indicates that the advantages college offers still outweigh its increasing costs for many, which will fuel costs further. And getting a degree has become increasingly important, according to Joel Anderson, author of the report.

As he wrote of Gen Z, “Not only will they need more money – comparably – than any previous generation, but the shift toward a service economy also means that a career without that pricey education is harder than ever.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

30 free Harvard courses you can take online, including the popular CS50 series

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Harvard data science courses 4x3
  • Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX offers thousands of free online courses and paid certificate programs.
  • Through the platform, Harvard University has over 140 online courses you can take for free.
  • Below, you can find 30 of the most interesting ones, from computer science to poetry.

edX, a main online learning platform and nonprofit founded by Harvard and MIT, aims to democratize learning by removing barriers like expensive tuition and location.

edX’s 2,500+ online courses are free to audit, with many from the world’s top universities – including MIT, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, the University of Michigan, NYU, and more. Of them, about 145 are from Harvard – spanning subjects from public health and history to programming and poetry.

You can audit these classes for free, or opt to pay $50-$200 for features like graded homework and certificates of completion that you can add to your resume or LinkedIn.

Below, find 30 of the most interesting Harvard courses you can take for free, with descriptions provided by edX.

CS50’s Understanding Technology

cs50

Enroll for free

This is CS50’s introduction to technology for students who don’t (yet) consider themselves computer persons.

CS50’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence with Python

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Enroll for free

Learn to use machine learning in Python in this introductory course on artificial intelligence.

Masterpieces of World Literature

National Novel Writing Month

Enroll for free

Embark on a global journey to explore the past, present, and future of World Literature.

Data Science: Inference and Modeling

DS

Enroll for free

Learn inference and modeling, two of the most widely used statistical tools in data analysis.

Improving Your Business Through a Culture of Health

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Enroll for free

Learn how a Culture of Health can transform your business to improve the well-being of your employees and company, while increasing revenue.

Using Python for Research

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Enroll for free

Take your introductory knowledge of Python programming to the next level and learn how to use Python 3 for your research.

CitiesX: The Past, Present, and Future of Urban Life

31 free Harvard courses pexels photo 373912

Enroll for free

Explore what makes cities energizing, amazing, challenging, and perhaps humanity’s greatest invention.

The Health Effects of Climate Change

31 free Harvard courses edX

Enroll for free

Learn how global warming impacts human health, and the ways we can diminish those impacts.

Justice

31 free Harvard courses edX

Enroll for free

This introduction to moral and political philosophy is one of the most popular courses taught at Harvard College.

The Opioid Crisis in America

31 free Harvard courses edX

Enroll for free

Learn about the opioid epidemic in the United States, including information about treatment and recovery from opioid addiction.

Prescription Drug Regulation, Cost, and Access: Current Controversies in Context

31 free Harvard courses edX

Enroll for free

Understand how the FDA regulates pharmaceuticals and explore debates on prescription drug costs, marketing, and testing.

Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster

31 free Harvard courses edX

Enroll for free

Learn the principles guiding humanitarian response to modern emergencies, and the challenges faced in the field today.

Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking

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Enroll for free

Gain critical communication skills in writing and public speaking with this introduction to American political rhetoric.

Introduction to Family Engagement in Education

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Enroll for free

Learn about successful collaborations between families and educators and why they lead to improved outcomes for students and schools.

Statistics and R

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Enroll for free

An introduction to basic statistical concepts and R programming skills necessary for analyzing data in the life sciences.

Introduction to Probability

Screen Shot 2018 07 16 at 3.16.24 PM

Enroll for free

Learn probability, an essential language and set of tools for understanding data, randomness, and uncertainty.

Fat Chance: Probability from the Ground Up

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Enroll for free

Increase your quantitative reasoning skills through a deeper understanding of probability and statistics.

Data Science: R Basics

edx facebook

Enroll for free

Build a foundation in R and learn how to wrangle, analyze, and visualize data.

Women Making History: Ten Objects, Many Stories

original (12)

Enroll for free

Learn how American women created, confronted, and embraced change in the 20th century while exploring ten objects from Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library.

MalariaX: Defeating Malaria from the Genes to the Globe

31 free Harvard courses edX

Enroll for free

How can we eradicate malaria? Explore cutting-edge science and technology, and examine policies needed, to control and eliminate malaria.

Lessons from Ebola: Preventing the Next Pandemic

31 free Harvard courses edX

Enroll for free

Understanding the context for the Ebola outbreak: What went right, what went wrong, and how we can all do better.

Pyramids of Giza: Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology

31 free Harvard courses edX

Enroll for free

Explore the archaeology, history, art, and hieroglyphs surrounding the famous Egyptian Pyramids at Giza. Learn about Old Kingdom pharaohs and elites, tombs, temples, the Sphinx, and how new technology is unlocking their secrets.

American Government: Constitutional Foundations

31 free Harvard courses edX

Enroll for free

Learn how early American politics informed the US Constitution and why its promise of liberty and equality has yet to be fully realized.

US Political Institutions: Congress, Presidency, Courts, and Bureaucracy

31 free Harvard courses edX

Enroll for free

Examine the inner workings of the three branches of the US Federal Government.

Citizen Politics in America: Public Opinion, Elections, Interest Groups, and the Media

31 free Harvard courses edX

Enroll for free

Learn about the forces in American politics that seek to influence the electorate and shift the political landscape.

Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science

31 free Harvard courses edX

Enroll for free

Top chefs and Harvard researchers explore how traditional and modernist cooking techniques can illuminate basic principles in chemistry, physics, and engineering. Learn about elasticity, viscosity, mayonnaise, baking, and more.

Practical Improvement Science in Health Care: A Roadmap for Getting Results

31 free Harvard courses edX

Enroll for free

Learn the skills and tools of improvement science to make positive changes in health, healthcare, and your daily life.

*This course is currently archived, but it is still available to audit.

CS50’s Mobile App Development with React Native

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Enroll for free

Learn about mobile app development with React Native, a popular framework maintained by Facebook that enables cross-platform native apps using JavaScript without Java or Swift.

*This course is currently archived, but it is still available to audit.

Saving Schools: Reforming the US Education System

31 free Harvard courses edX

Enroll for free

An overview of the past, present, and future of the United States public K-12 education system.

*This course is currently archived, but it is still available to audit.

Poetry in America: Modernism

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Enroll for free

Reading works by Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, and Wallace Stevens, among others, learn how American Modernist poetry departed from past traditions and past forms.

*This course is currently archived, but it is still available to audit.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to get into 4 of the best law schools in the US, according to consultants, admissions officers, and students

student loan forbearance
Applicants should have a clear vision on why they want to be a lawyer and be able to communicate that.

  • Yale, Columbia, UChicago, and Harvard are some of the most prestigious law schools in the world.
  • Each school values high test scores, letters of recommendation, and an honest personal statement.
  • Insider regularly interviews experts on how to get into your ideal law program. You can read it all by subscribing to Insider.

Attending law school is time-consuming and expensive, but if you end up in the right program, it could lead to a fulfilling and successful career.

For example, according to Yale Law School’s website, over 13,000 YLS alumni are leaders in their organizations – and a decade after graduating they almost unanimously express job satisfaction.

But to get into a top school, you’ll need more than just high test scores. Here are some tips and best strategies on how to get accepted into one of the best law schools in the country, according to people who’ve done it. 

Yale Law School

Yale Law School is the No. 1 law school in the US, according to US News & World Report, while the 2023 acceptance rate was a slim 7.3%.

Yale places high emphasis on obtaining letters of recommendation from professors who know you well and can personally evaluate aspects of your academic work. Something unique about the YLS admissions process is their faculty is heavily involved in selecting each class, so they might especially value strong academic letters. 

Read more: How to get into Yale Law School, the No. 1 program in the US

Columbia Law School

Columbia Law School is currently recognized as the fourth best law school in the US, trailing only Yale, Stanford, and Harvard (and tied with the University of Chicago). Of the more than 7,000 students who applied for the class of 2020, only about 16% were accepted.

Applicants to Columbia Law should pay extra attention to their personal statements. Use this as an opportunity to reveal who you really are and what you’re passionate about. Having strong reasons to be in New York City helps as well since it’s an integral part of the school, Timothy Knox, a law school admissions counselor, told Insider. 

Read more: Admissions consultants and recent graduates of Columbia Law share what it takes to get into the top 5 law school

UChicago Law School

UChicago Law School consistently ranks among the most prestigious graduate law programs in the world, with an acceptance rate of 18%. Unlike some of the other top schools, UChicago Law has an especially small class size, at just over 600 full-time students. (Columbia, which shares its No. 4 ranking, has double the number.)

The community prioritizes close faculty engagement and “the life of the mind.” Once you’ve taken your LSAT and applied, prepare for your interview by nailing your answer to the question, “Why UChicago?”

Read more: UChicago Law students and a dean of admissions explain how to nail your interview and personal statement to land a spot at the elite law school

Harvard Law School

In 2018, Harvard Law School – currently third in the rankings – offered admission to just 12% of applicants. In 2019, it made the shift to rounds of admission.

Per law school admissions coaching consultant Anna Ivey, “HLS admissions officers are very conscientious about recruiting minorities of various kinds: They want a diversity of people and geographic areas,” including veterans and older applicants. This means there’s no standard profile for an HLS student. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t fit what you think to be their ideal type of candidate.

Read more: How to get into Harvard Law School, according to the chief admissions officer, students, and admissions consultants

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Harvard professor has claimed in his new book that alien debris passed near Earth in 2017. It has attracted both skepticism and intrigue.

The OUMUAMUA object rendering Hawaii observatory aliens.JPG
This artist’s impression shows the first-known interstellar object to visit the solar system, “Oumuamua,” which was discovered on October 19, 2017, by the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii.

  • Scientists in 2017 detected the first sign of intelligent life outside Earth, according to a new book by Avi Loeb, a Harvard University professor. 
  • The “rocky, cigar-shaped object with a somewhat reddish hue,” was called “1I/2017 U1 ‘Oumuamua” by NASA.
  • “There was only one conceivable explanation: the object was a piece of advanced technology created by a distant alien civilization,” according to publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

An extraterrestrial object skimmed through space close to Earth in 2017, wrote a Harvard University astronomer, Avi Loeb, in a book to be published this month. 

It was the first sign of intelligent life outside Earth, according to Loeb. 

Scientists at a Hawaiian observatory saw “an object soaring through our inner solar system, moving so quickly that it could only have been from another star,” according to the marketing summary for the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt book, “Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth.”

The object wasn’t a natural occurrence, but a bit of space junk ejected by another galaxy, according to Loeb, a professor of science with a doctorate in physics. 

“There was only one conceivable explanation: the object was a piece of advanced technology created by a distant alien civilization,” according to HMH. 

Avi Loeb Stephen Hawking 2016.JPG
Physicist Avi Loeb, right, on stage with physicist Stephen Hawking and others.

In a review, Publishers Weekly called the book a “contentious manifesto.” 

But Loeb wasn’t alone in his excitement about the object, which was called “1I/2017 U1 ‘Oumuamua” by Nasa.

“The first confirmed object from another star to visit our solar system, this interstellar interloper appears to be a rocky, cigar-shaped object with a somewhat reddish hue,” NASA said in its description of the object. 

“For decades we’ve theorized that such interstellar objects are out there, and now – for the first time – we have direct evidence they exist,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, when it was originally discovered. 

He added: “This history-making discovery is opening a new window to study formation of solar systems beyond our own.” 

In the book-jacket blurb, Anne Wojcicki, CEO and cofounder of 23andMe, wrote that Loeb’s new book “convinces you that scientific curiosity is key to our future success.”

“An exciting and eloquent case that we might have seen a sign of intelligent life near Earth – and that we should search further,” she wrote. 

Fellow Harvard professor Eric Maskin, a Nobel laureate in Economics, added: “Is the hypothesis right? Who knows. But let’s try to find out!”

 

Read the original article on Business Insider