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2013 Best Online Business Programs Announced

U.S. News & World Report Announces the 2013 Best Online Education Programs Rankings

Introduces Numerical Rankings for the First Time

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2013,  U.S. News & World Report released today the second annual rankings edition of the Best Online Education Programs. For the first time, programs administered for distance learners that are 100 percent online will be ranked numerically, just like traditional colleges and graduate schools. Online bachelor’s degree programs as well as graduate online degree programs in business, engineering, nursing, education, and computer information technology were ranked. There will be no print component to the Best Online Education rankings; however, U.S. News plans to include highlights in both the Best Graduate Schools 2014 and Best Colleges 2014 printed guidebooks.

Online education allows people to attend school without having to quit their jobs or disrupt their lives. According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, people with a bachelor’s degree earn 84 percent more than those with only a high school diploma in their lifetimes—making online education, with its flexibility, an increasingly popular option.

And U.S. News is responding with data and rankings to help people sort out the best options for them.

“Online education is becoming an essential part of higher education,” said U.S. News & World Report Editor and Chief Content Officer Brian Kelly . “Our goal has always been to provide our consumers with the most accurate information so that they may make their best decision. Incorporating online education rankings and data is the next step in providing our consumers with the information they need.”

Greatly improved participation from schools and data collection enabled U.S. News to rank online education programs numerically this year. Factors used to compute the rankings this year include retention rates, graduation rates, and the indebtedness of students upon graduation.

Another difference with this year’s rankings is that a small percentage of schools that were evaluated in 2012 were not evaluated for the 2013 edition. This was due to U.S. News converting to the new, federal government definition of distance education programs, meaning that degree-granting programs must offer 100 percent of their courses needed for the degree online.

Online bachelor’s degree programs were ranked in three different categories: student engagement, faculty credentials and training, and student services and technology. All of the online master’s degree programs were ranked in admissions selectivity in addition to the bachelor’s degree categories. The engineering and business master’s programs were also ranked based on ratings of their academic reputation by top academics who run online programs at peer institutions.

Data was collected from both for-profit and not-for-profit schools. There is no distinction between the two in the rankings. For more information about the rankings methodology, please go to www.usnews.com/onlinemeth.

For more information on the Best Online Education Programs rankings, please visit www.usnews.com/education/online-education or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Best Online Education Program Rankings 2013
* For the full list of rankings, visit
www.usnews.com/education/online-education:

Best Bachelor’s Programs

Best Engineering Programs (Graduate)

1. Pace University (NY)

1. University of Southern California (Viterbi)

2. Daytona State College (FL)

2. Pennsylvania State University – World Campus

3. St. John’s University (NY)

3. Columbia University (Fu Foundation) (NY)

Best Business Programs (Graduate)

Best Nursing Programs (Graduate)

1. Washington State University

1. Ferris State University (MI)

2. Arizona State University (Carey)

2. Lamar University (TX)

3. Indiana University – Bloomington (Kelley)

3. University of Michigan – Flint

Best Education Programs (Graduate)

Best Computer Information Technology Programs (Graduate)

1. St. John’s University (NY)

1. University of Southern California (Viterbi)

2. Auburn University (AL)

2. Sam Houston State University (TX)

3. South Dakota State University

3. Virginia Tech

 

About U.S. News & World Report


U.S. News & World Report is a multi-platform, digital publisher of news and analysis, which includes the digital-only U.S. News Weekly magazine, www.usnews.com, and www.rankingsandreviews.com. Focusing on Health, Money, Education, Travel, Cars, and Public Service/Opinion, U.S. News has earned a reputation as the leading provider of service news and information that improves the quality of life of its readers. U.S. News & World Report‘s signature franchise includes its News You Can Use® brand of journalism and its “Best series of consumer guides that include rankings of colleges, graduate schools, hospitals, mutual funds, health plans, and more.

SOURCE: U.S. News & World Report

RELATED LINKS: http://www.usnews.com

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issues rules to strengthen protections for high-cost mortgages

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issues rules to strengthen protections for high-cost mortgages

Bureau Also Expands Time Frame for Required Escrow Accounts

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 10, 2013, Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued final rules to strengthen consumer protections for high-cost mortgages and to provide consumers with information about homeownership counseling. The Bureau also finalized a rule that requires escrow accounts be established for a minimum of five years for certain higher-priced mortgage loans.

“Addressing problems in the mortgage market is critical to helping our economy recover,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Today’s changes will better help consumers to understand the real costs of owning a home while protecting them from harmful practices that can trap them into high-cost mortgages.”

The Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) was enacted in 1994 to address abuses in home-equity lending and refinances. Since then, HOEPA has deterred high-rate and high-fee lending in those markets. In recent years, high-cost mortgages have made up only about 0.2 percent of those types of loans.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) expanded HOEPA to cover home purchase loans and home equity lines of credit (“HELOCs”); revised HOEPA’s rate- and fee-thresholds for coverage; added a new coverage test based on a transaction’s prepayment penalties; and provided new limitations on risky loan features, as well as other new protections for high-cost mortgages. The CFPB has finalized rules to implement the Dodd-Frank Act’s amendments to HOEPA.

For loans that are high-cost mortgages, today’s final rule:

  • Bans potentially risky features: For mortgages that qualify as high-cost, the rule      generally bans balloon payments (a large, lump sum payment usually due at      the end of the loan) with some exceptions, such as for certain types of      loans made by creditors serving rural or underserved areas, and bans      penalties for paying the loan early.
  • Bans and limits certain fees and practices: The CFPB’s rule bans fees for modifying loans, caps      late fees at four percent of the payment that is past due, generally      prohibits closing costs from being rolled into the loan amount, and      restricts the charging of fees when consumers ask for a payoff statement      (a document that tells borrowers how much they need to pay off the loan).      The rule also prohibits certain bad practices, such as encouraging a      consumer to default on an existing loan to be refinanced by a high-cost      mortgage.
  • Requires housing counseling: The rule requires consumers to receive housing      counseling before taking out a high-cost mortgage.

In addition to strengthening the protections for high-cost mortgages, the Bureau today is implementing a requirement of the Dodd-Frank Act that lenders provide a list of homeownership counseling organizations to consumers shortly after they apply for a mortgage so consumers know where to get help when deciding what loan is best for them.

The Bureau is also implementing other changes made by the Dodd-Frank Act concerning escrow accounts. An escrow account is an account that a lender may set up to pay certain recurring property-related expenses on a consumer’s behalf, such as property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Escrow accounts help to ensure that consumers have enough money to pay those bills when they come because the lender breaks the expenses down into monthly installments and adds them to the monthly mortgage payment. Through an escrow account, consumers can better see the true cost of owning a home with insurance and tax costs laid out with each mortgage payment and are better assured that those costs are paid in a timely manner.

Under current regulations, creditors are required to establish escrow accounts for certain higher-priced mortgage loans for a minimum of one year. Today’s final rule implements changes from the Dodd-Frank Act that generally extend the required duration of an escrow account on such mortgage loans from a minimum of one year to a minimum of five years. To preserve access to credit, the rule exempts loans made by certain creditors that operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas, as long as certain other criteria are met.

The rules will be available later today at: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/regulations

 

A consumer guide to the final HOEPA rule can be found at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201301_cfpb_high-cost-mortgage-rule_what-it-means-for-consumers.pdf

 

A consumer guide to the final Escrows rule can be found at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201301_cfpb_escrow-requirements-rule_what-it-means-for-consumers.pdf