Changes in credit rules came unannounced:
This change in how loans are awarded by ED was not announced to students or education institutions, many of whom were shocked when what had been routine applications were rejected.
Taylor told theGrio that most members of the HBCU community became aware of changes to the program when record numbers of families were rejected for PLUS loans for the 2012 fall semester.
"We sniffed around and found out that the Department of Education chose to reinterpret their policies," Taylor said. In partnership with a consortium of HBCU-affiliated groups, the scholarship and mentoring program leader met regularly with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to make the negative impact of the new rule clear.
"His reply was that his office was concerned about default rates and, very paternalistically, parents taking on too much debt," Taylor said. "I asked for more information on the default rates to understand their concern. To this day, we have not received it."
The Department of Education did not respond to requests from theGrio for comment on these allegations.
In a report by The Washington Post, Education Department spokesman Daren Briscoe responded to these criticisms, relating that "about 80 percent of the students who were denied the PLUS loans ended up enrolling in school anyway. He said the department contacted thousands of borrowers who were denied the loans and reconsidered some cases."
According to Taylor, only 10 percent of loan denials have been overturned on appeal.