For-Profit College Agrees to Forgive Almost Half a Billion in Student Debt

By Lucy Ren

Troubled for-profit college chain Corinthian Colleges Inc. agreed with the U.S. Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to forgive at least $480 million on private student loans, marking an “unprecedented debt relief,” according to CFPB Spokeswoman Moira Vahey.

The debt relief announced on Tuesday marks a 40 percent reduction in Corinthian’s principal balance on private loans, according to a Tuesday press release by CFPB.

The nonprofit education firm ECMC Group Inc. announced on Monday that it had finalized its acquisition for 56 of the 107 Everest and WyoTech campuses from Corinthian Colleges. Zenith Education Group, a new nonprofit subsidiary of ECMC is taking over the colleges. 

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Immigration, DHS bill stalls in Senate, divides Illinois senators

By Christine Smith

Illinois Sens. Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin split along party lines during a procedural Senate vote Tuesday about the Department of Homeland Security’s budget and President Barack Obama’s immigration executive order.

The bill, which would have created a new $40 billion budget for the DHS before its current one expires on Feb. 27, also included a controversial section that would undo Obama’s recent immigration actions. Senate Democrats, including Durbin, who were not onboard with the immigration component, voted against the bill, resulting in a 51-48 vote and its failure. The bill needed 60 votes to advance. Continue reading

Smartphones can cut your kid’s sleep, layer on the pounds

By Priyam Vora

Sleepy kids may have a hard time hitting the basketball court or focusing on their homework. And the source of their problems may radiate from the digital world of their smartphones!

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston recently reported that the “blue light” glow from using smartphones and other electronic devices too close to bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep.  But the same study shows that this lack of sleep in kids can result in increasing risks of obesity during  adolescence. Continue reading

Why did Chipotle plummet after a strong quarter?

By Alysha Khan

Despite a strong earnings report, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. stock surprisingly dropped seven percent to $676 amid concerns of slowing store sales and a possible hike in prices.

Stephen Anderson, senior restaurant analyst at Miller Tabak + Co., LLC, said the drop was driven by Chipotle executives lowering their 2015 forecast for sales for locations open more than 12 months.

Officials forecasted a low to mid-single digit increase for same-store sales but Anderson said investors were looking for a mid to high-single digit increase.

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Despite $10 million investment in arts education, experts say much work remains

By Taylor Mullaney and Phoebe Tollefson

When Jim Duignan began the Stockyard Institute in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood in 1995, he realized that the arts could enable kids to actually solve problems in their own communities.

“We could really be building work based on the young people’s questions,” Duignan said. “And whether it was spoken word, or whether it was building a radio station, or whether it was public art or whether it was doing walks….They came alive. They just came alive.” Continue reading

Chicago mourns the loss of Mr. Cub

By J’nelle Agee

Chicago has lost an icon. Ernie Banks, the first African-American to sign to the Chicago Cubs in 1953, has died.  The city honored the player affectionately known as Mr. Cub by bringing the bronze statue that usually sits outside of Wrigley Field to Daley Plaza.  Fans and officials gathered to  pay respect to a legend.

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Archer Daniels Midland beats 4Q profit estimate, misses sales forecast

By Yasufumi Saito

Archer Daniels Midland Co., a leading agricultural processer and food ingredient provider, reported Tuesday a mixed result for the fourth quarter. While profit beat Wall Street’s estimate, sales fell short of expectations. Continue reading

VIDEO: Chicago libraries to lend WiFi hotspots

By Beth Lawrence

Next month Chicago Public Library patrons will be able to check out WiFi hotspots the same way they check out books.  The city will be starting a free wifi pilot program at three locations before expanding to others.

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VIDEO: Homeless LGBTQ youth find unique home in Humboldt Park

By Rachel White

A free independent housing facility in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood offers a safe haven for the city’s homeless LGBTQ youth. One resident describes his life in foster care and on the streets before he found a home at a place called El Rescate.

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Rauner’s call for union reform stirs talk before state address

By Emily Hoerner

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner ignited conversation by sending a memo to the Illinois legislature, calling on lawmakers to prune union rights and government spending just two days before Wednesday’s State of the State address.

The memo prefaced the governor’s cost-saving measures, including state employee rule reforms that Rauner described in the memo as “fair to both state workers and taxpayers.” The note pointed out that federal workers are prohibited from striking and bargaining over wages, benefits and pensions. Illinois union workers are not.

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