Quick Takes: Nelnet Likes GOP, Report on Chancellor's Suicide, Price of Football, Aid Priorities at Tufts and Wash. State, Auburn Courses Were Easy for Everyone, Lock Haven Drug Bust, Is Oxford Selling Admissions Slots?, Apollo's Stock Option Woes

November 6, 2006
  • The National Education Loan Network, known as Nelnet, and its executives top the list of contributors to the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to an analysis in the blog of the New America Foundation. Nelnet has been facing scrutiny and criticism of late from the Education Department's auditors.
  • The San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office on Friday released details on the June suicide of Denice Denton, chancellor of the University of California at Santa Cruz. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the documents indicated that she had been hospitalized for severe depression for six days, and was released the day before she jumped to her death from an apartment building. According to the report, Denton's mother reported that her daughter had been acting irrationally after being picked up, and said that the police had been chasing her. Denton's suicide stunned the Santa Cruz campus. While she had been involved in a series of controversies there, she was also a national leader in efforts to attract more women to science.
  • While Rutgers University is enjoying football success this year, it is spending millions more on the team than it is taking in, The Bergen Record reported. Spending on the team's hotel rooms for home games alone exceeds spending on the tennis team, the newspaper found.
  • Tufts University on Friday announced a $1.2 billion fund raising drive -- a major goal of which will be to move the university to the small group of private institutions that have fully "need blind" admissions.
  • Washington State University is matching the University of Washington's pledge to provide free tuition for students with family incomes of up to 65 percent of the state's median income, The Seattle Times reported. The University of Washington program, announced last month, does not cover all expenses, but does reach a much larger share of the state population than some other approaches announced by leading public universities.
  • A panel at Auburn University has found that independent study courses that gave many athletes major boosts in their averages were apparently quite easy for non-athletes as well. While the report found key flaws in the way the courses were run, it didn't find special treatment for athletes.
  • Four Lock Haven University students -- including two members and one former member of the basketball team -- were arrested Friday on charges of buying large quantities of marijuana in Philadelphia and selling it in and around the university. The arrests were announced by Pennsylvania's attorney general, who earlier in the week announced the arrests of nine current or former Mansfield University students on drug charges.
  • Professors at the University of Oxford are furious over a deal in which the university took a 2 million pound ($3.8 million) gift for its art museum from a Saudi prince in return for agreeing to "expedite the application process" for 10 students from a Saudi university, The Times of London reported.
  • The Apollo Group, which owns the University of Phoenix, announced Friday that one top financial officer has resigned and another is on administrative leave as the for-profit higher education company continues to investigate its practices for awarding stock options to employees. The company's news release reiterated earlier statements that the investigation had uncovered "various deficiencies," and said that the failings would require the company to restate previous earnings statements "to record additional charges for compensation expenses relating to past stock option grants." In a conference call Friday, company officials said the findings would have no ill effects on the institutions' educational operations. Apollo officials said that the chief financial officer and treasurer, Kenda B. Gonzales, had resigned last week, citing personal reasons, and the the company's chief accountant, Dan Bachus, is on administrative leave.


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