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HC Wake Up Call: USC Cracks Down on Students Linked to Admissions Scam, Trump Admin Wants to Limit Student Loans & NZ PM Vows to Never Say Gunman's Name


Good morning, Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

USC Cracks Down on Students Linked to Admissions Scandal

The University of Southern California (USC) on Monday announced that it had placed holds on the accounts of students who may have been involved with the college admissions scandal, effectively preventing them from registering for classes or obtaining transcripts.

“This prevents the students from registering for classes or acquiring transcripts while their cases are under review,” USC said in a statement posted on Twitter Monday evening. “These students have been notified that their status is under review. Following the review, we will take the proper action related to their status, up to revoking admission or expulsion.”

According to NBC News, the university did not disclose the number of students affected.

The admissions probe, dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues,” was revealed last week by federal prosecutors in Boston, and uncovered a network of parents who had paid thousands of dollars to Rick Singer, whose foundation promised to improve the children’s chances of gaining admission into elite colleges by paying others to take exams for them and bribing test administrators and college coaches to list them as recruits for sports teams.

Singer and more than 30 parents, including actress Lori Loughlin, were charged.

Last week, USC fired senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel and water polo coach Jovan Vavic, who were also charged in the case, ABC 10 San Diego reports.

Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, paid $500,000 to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Giannulli, into USC by having them designated as recruits for the crew team, despite the fact that they did not participate in the sport.

It has been reported that Olivia Jade and Isabella have opted not to return to USC.

The Trump Administration Wants to Put a Limit Student Loans

The White House urged Congress Monday to set a cap on student loan borrowing for loans designed for graduate students and parents of undergraduate students.

The loan limited proposed by the White House would apply to PLUS loans, which, according to the student aid website, are federal loans that are available to graduate or professional students or parents of dependent undergraduate students that can be used for college or career school.

According to CNN, an undergraduate student is capped at $57,500 over the student’s lifetime. For parents of undergraduates and graduate students, however, there is no cap on what they can borrow from the federal government.

“The principles, unveiled this afternoon at a meeting of the National Council for the American Worker, set forth concrete legislative actions that, if enacted into law, would provide more Americans access to affordable and quality education, improve institutional accountability, and help students and families make informed decisions regarding their educational options,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Monday.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the ranking member of the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said the proposal “would end up hurting students by reducing the amount of federal aid for students and taking billions out of the pockets of borrowers.”

The Trump administration has also laid out other priorities like expanding the Pell Grant to “include high-quality, short-term programs that provide students with a credential, certification, or license in a high-demand field,” as well as reform to the Federal Work Study program to include more opportunities for work in related fields to what the student is studying, ABC News reports.

The White House also urged Congress to simplify the student loan system, saying it “should consolidate the five income-driven repayment options into one simple plan that caps monthly payment at 12.5 percent of a borrower’s discretionary income,” and “should extend loan forgiveness to all undergraduate students (after 180 months of repayment through an income-driven repayment plan).”

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, has said he would like to report a piece of legislation out of committee this spring, as he would like to get something passed before he retires in 2020.

“I share the Administration’s goals to make a college education worth it and to make it simpler to apply for federal student aid and pay back student loans,” Alexander said in a statement Monday in support of the White House’s proposal. “It is helpful to have these suggestions as I work with Senator Patty Murray, the senior Democrat on the education committee, to develop bipartisan recommendations so that we can report legislation to the full Senate before summer.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Vows to Never Say Mosque Shooter’s Name

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in an impassioned speech Tuesday, said she wants to prevent the Christchurch mosque shooter from gaining notoriety, and vowed to never say the gunman’s name.

“He sought many things from his act of terror, but one was notoriety, and that is why you will never hear me mention his name,” Ardern said Tuesday. “He is a terrorist, he is a criminal, he is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless.”

The prime minister implored people to “speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them.”

“He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing, not even his name," she said.

Elements of the Friday shooting that resulted in the death of 50 people in two Christchurch mosques, including the release of a document espousing the gunman’s beliefs and his decision to livestream the attacks on social media, suggest that he sought attention for the attacks.

According to The Huffington Post, Ardern also criticized social media for hosting the shooter’s livestream of the attack.

“They are the publisher, not just the postman,” she said. “There cannot be a case of all profit, no responsibility.”

Facebook said it removed the 17-minute livestream video after it was reported, and removed the more than 1.5 million copies.

But Ardern’s decision to not use the shooter’s name has been praised online by many as the right approach, and the hashtag #NoNotoriety spread overnight, ABC News reports.

What to look out for...

The Sesame Street deserted island question has sparked quite the debate on Twitter. Who would you choose? In other news, happy first day of spring! 

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