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Quick Takes: New Push by Cuomo on Loan Companies, Faculty Bonuses for College Performance, Concerns on Hookah Smoking, Palin's Many Colleges, Budget Mess Endangers California Grants, $400M for Biomedical Institute, Did Jokes Kill a Grad Student Handbook?

September 5, 2008
  • New York's attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, is moving to sue one student loan company -- Goal Financial -- and to conclude agreements on acceptable marketing practices with a number of other loan companies, The New York Times reported. Much of Cuomo's probe of the loan industry to date has focused on the relationships between loan companies and colleges. But the new focus of the suit and the agreements with other companies is on marketing: the gifts or other inducements students are offered, and the way loan terms are described. Goal Financial and its lawyers did not respond to the Times.
  • Kent State University's new contract with faculty members provides bonuses if the institution reaches certain goals in research funding, retention and fund raising, The Akron Beacon Journal reported. While this approach -- linking employee pay to institutional performance -- is unusual, it is not unheard of. In 2005, Daytona Beach Community College tied all employee raises to enrollment shifts -- and saw an enrollment increase.
  • About 40 percent of students in a recent study have smoked tobacco from a hookah, raising issues about their awareness of health risks, according to University of Pittsburgh researchers who have published their analysis in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine. Notably, one third of the students who engaged in waterpipe smoking had never smoked a cigarette, the researchers found.
  • Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, attended four colleges in six years (one of them twice) before earning her bachelor's degree. The Associated Press on Thursday tracked Palin's move from college to college. She attended (in order) Hawaii Pacific University, North Idaho College, the University of Idaho, and Matanuska-Susitna College, and then returned to the University of Idaho, where she earned a degree.
  • As California lawmakers remain unable to produce a state budget, community college students may suffer. The state may hold back checks for $1,551 that are owed to as many as 86,000 community college students, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
  • Eli and Edythe Broad on Thursday announced that they were donating $400 million to the endowment of a joint Harvard University-Massachusetts Institute of Technology program already named for them, the Broad Institute. The Broads had previously given $200 million to the institute, which focuses on biomedical research.
  • The Graduate Student Society at the University of British Columbia has recalled 7,000 copies of a new handbook for grad students, apparently because of an abundance of satire, The Globe and Mail reported. The handbook featured numerous references to cranes, praising the university for being "devoted to bringing you the most number of cranes per tuition dollar," for example, in reference to all the building projects on campus.
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