The latest entity to send undercover investigators to the University of Phoenix is ABC News, which on Thursday reported the results. They include a recording of a recruiter giving incorrect information about whether a program would enable a graduate to become a teacher, and encouragement to take out as large a student loan as possible -- even more than the fake student needed. William Pepicello, president of the University of Phoenix, appeared on camera to say that "absolutely" the university could do better in terms of the way it recruits but that the answer to whether Phoenix encourages recruiting like that shown in the segment is "absolutely not."
Higher Education Quick Takes
Christopher Newport University has announced that it is shutting down its bookstore and replacing it with a Website for students to order books they need for courses, The Daily Press reported. Officials said that most students already are buying their books and other materials online.
Students have sued Auburn University and two University of Alabama campuses over mandatory meal plans, The Opelika-Auburn News reported. While the university says that the meal plans represent a savings for students, the suit charges that students are being forced to pay more than they would like to for food -- and that they should not be required to pay anything for non-educational services.
Rev. Charles L. Currie announced Thursday that he will step down as president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in June, at which time he will have served 14 years in the position -- the longest tenure of any leader of the association. He will be succeeded by the Rev. Greg Lucey, former president of Spring Hill College, in Alabama.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Wednesday rejected as unconstitutional several parts of the code of conduct for students at the University of the Virgin Islands. Specifically, the court rejected bans on "offensive" speech and on language that causes "emotional distress," finding that such regulations were far too broad, and could easily limit legitimate freedom of expression. The ruling was consistent with other federal appeals courts rulings, which have generally barred public universities from regulating similar categories of speech.
Grand Canyon University has agreed to pay $5.2 million to settle a whistle-blower lawsuit charging it with violating federal rules barring incentive compensation for recruiters based on enrollments, The Arizona Republic reported. Grand Canyon, like other for-profit colleges, has criticized the rules as unclear, but their defenders say that they protect potential students from inappropriate recruiting tactics.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has opened a new dormitory for students with significant physical disabilities and the facility may represent a new standard for services for such students, the Chicago Tribune reported. Among the features are a wireless pager system to allow a resident to call for assistance 24 hours a day, and a ceiling lift system that will help students who can't walk get from their beds to bathrooms. Students who need these and other services will live on the first floor of the facility while other students will live on other floors.
New regulations proposed by the National Institutes of Health in May to restrict conflicts of interest in biomedical research sponsored by the agency would significantly increase universities' administrative burden and their costs of complying with federal research rules, four higher education groups argued in jointly submitted comments Tuesday. In their formal response to the proposed regulations, the groups -- the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of American Universities, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities -- recommended that the NIH alter several provisions that they argued would require excessive, unnecessary reporting. They also argued that to help institutions meet the costs of the rules, which will require them to "add personnel and expand their infrastructure to meet [their] unfunded federal mandates," the government should provide direct "implementation" grants and increase the rates at which institutions are reimbursed for the indirect costs of research awards.
The Obama administration is planning to ease travel restrictions to Cuba -- and specifically to make it easier for academic and research programs to take place, The New York Times reported. Many American education groups have argued for years that the limits are so severe that they inhibit programs that could benefit both countries.
Like many states, Texas gives car owners to option of paying extra for customized license plates honoring various colleges and universities. Some are even out-of-state institutions. But as The Dallas Morning News reported, a proposed additional option -- a plate saluting the University of Oklahoma, an arch-rival for the University of Texas at Austin -- is generating opposition. One critic posted a comment saying: "In no shape or form. ... Not ever."