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False Report: Loyola catches and corrects error given to U.S. News and World Report

Senior Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 15:01

Loyola has caught and corrected an error it made when reporting the average dollar amount borrowed by a four-year student at its university to the U.S. News and World Report.

The average student at Loyola graduates with $22,713.56 in students loans, according to Cathy Simoneaux, interim director of the office of financial aid and scholarships. In its original report, Loyola reported a drastically lowered dollar amount borrowed by the average four-year student.

The mistake ran in the Oct. 2012 issue of U.S. News and World Report and was caught by Loyola the next month.

“We then immediately reported it to U.S. News. They modified our information on their website and we have not heard back from them since that time,” Lydia Voigt, senior vice provost of academic affairs said.

Voigt added that they resolved their issue with U.S. News and World Report before reports of Tulane’s false data surfaced.

Cathy Simoneaux said the confusion was caused by a switch made in the 2010-2011 academic year to a new mainframe in the financial aid office.

“The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid migrated all operations from a legacy mainframe system to PowerFAIDS during the 2010-2011 academic year,” she said. “The original average aggregate loan calculations reported did not correctly reflect loans processed on the legacy system.”

Simoneaux said that another challenge to calculating the average amount borrowed is not including the loans taken out by students while attending other institutions.

“This means adjusting the aggregate loan amounts borrowed for all transfer students to pull out loans borrowed at their prior schools,” Simoneaux said.

Simoneaux also said that the average amount borrowed does not apply for students who take more than four years to get their undergraduate degree.

Despite having the reported number increase considerably after the error was corrected, Loyola students still don’t borrow as much as students at other universities, according to the Project on Student Loan Debt, cited in Simoneaux’s email. Two-thirds of college graduates in 2011 borrowed an average of $ 26,000 over four years, according to the Project on Student Loan Debt.

Kenna Ellis contributed to this report and can be reached at
kmellis@loyno.edu

Hasani Grayson can be reached at hkgrayso@loyno.edu 

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