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Quick Takes: Report in Search of Crisis, Profanity and Losses at Sallie Mae, Nice Pay at Harvard, Bowl Tickets, Prof Admits Attempt to Hire Hit Man, Assumption Faculty Criticize President, New Leader for Aid Group

December 21, 2007
  • With Democrats and Republicans in Congress holding hearings and press conferences about the crisis of college costs, a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office was expected to provide critics of higher education with new ammunition. But when the report came out Thursday (during the pre-Christmas period that is not when lawmakers release things they want to get attention), it didn't find much of a crisis at all and devoted a lot of space to repeating previously reported minority enrollment trends. On college costs, the report found that more than 60 percent of students attend colleges where tuition and fees for a year are less than $4,750. And while private colleges are more expensive, the report found that spending on education-related expenses at private colleges is increasing at a faster rate than is tuition. Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president for government and public affairs at the American Council on Education, said of the report: "It says that the reality of the college cost crisis is a far different story than what is usually reported. This is going to get very little media attention because it is so inconsistent with the common assumptions about college tuition." On the findings of what colleges do spend on, Hartle said that they show that "it's not Jacuzzi U., it's Curriculum U."
  • Things are not going well for Sallie Mae, the student loan giant. Albert L. Lord, the chief executive, held a conference call this week to reassure investors and analysts that the company was doing just fine, even amid the collapse of a proposed sale. But The New York Times reported that Lord's answers led to the stock plunging, and many were mystified by Lord's use of the f-word, in comments he thought were private, at the end of the call. A transcript is available here.
  • The president and five other top officials of the Harvard Management Company, which handles the university's endowment, earned more than $23 million in salary and bonuses in the last fiscal year, the university announced. The high pay has been controversial in some quarters at Harvard, but is linked to the performance of the endowment, which at $35 billion is the largest in the country.
  • It's bowl season, so that means universities playing in the big games have prized tickets to distribute. The Chicago Tribune explored the way politicians and donors move to the top of the ticket list.
  • Jay Glosser, a former professor at Tidewater Community College, admitted Wednesday that he hired a hit man to threaten or kill another professor who had filed a sexual harassment complaint against Glosser, The Virginian-Pilot reported. Glosser was sentenced to eight and one half years in prison.
  • The faculty of Assumption College, in Massachusetts, voted this week to criticize the administration over the cancellation of a gay activist's speech in November, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported. A college spokesman said that the cancellation wasn't a violation of college principles because the speaker hadn't signed a contract. The scheduled speaker was Eric Alva, a veteran who opposes the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policies.
  • Philip R. Day, chancellor of City College of San Francisco, has been named as the next president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Day will succeed Dallas Martin, who is retiring after 32 years in the position.
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