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Quick Takes: Shift Proposed for Upward Bound, Federal Inquiry at Yale, Rules on New Grant Programs, More Surveillance of Student Groups

July 5, 2006
  • The Education Department has proposed shifting the emphasis of the Upward Bound Program, which helps prepare disadvantaged students for college, to place even more an emphasis on those most likely not to go to college: students from low-income families, students who would be the first in their families to enroll, and those with the "greatest academic need." The change would aim to focus the program's funds on students at "high academic risk for failure," defined as those who have performed poorly on state assessments in eighth grade or who have a grade point average below 2.5. Although many Upward Bound efforts report great progress in preparing students for college, the Bush administration has consistently tried to kill the program.
  • Yale University acknowledged in a statement Monday that its officials had received subpoenas from three federal agencies that are examining the university's management of research grants. Yale said that the Departments of Defense and of Health and Human Services, and the National Science Foundation -- which together provide 90 percent of Yale's federal research funds -- had requested documents "concerning the allocation of research expenses, the reporting of faculty effort devoted to grants, and numerous other matters relating to grant administration." The Associated Press reported that an audit by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services had discovered flaws in the university's grant administration procedures. 
  • The U.S. Education Department on Monday published interim final rules to carry out the two new student aid programs created as part of the Higher Education Reconciliation Act in February. The rules, which were published in the Federal Register, provide guidance for financial aid directors, high school counselors and others about the requirements for institutions and potential recipients alike for the Academic Competitiveness Grant and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART Grant) Programs.
  • In response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the Department of Defense has released documents confirming that its officials have conducted surveillance of student groups at universities nationwide, including the State University of New York at Albany, William Paterson University, Southern Connecticut State University and the University of California at Berkeley. The documents, which are available online,
    indicate that e-mails sent by various student groups -- including those opposed to the war in Iraq and those who oppose the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy -- were intercepted and monitored by the government. The reports do not indicate any terrorist activity by the monitored students. In December, a Pentagon spokesman told Inside Higher Ed that "there are intelligence analysts out there who make judgments based upon years of experience on whether or not they proceed with a threat as verified or non-verified" in response to investigations of 400-page Department of Defense document obtained by NBC News.
     
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