Families are saving an average of $2,676 for college annually, according to the results of a new survey by Sallie Mae and Gallup. The survey also found that -- as a percentage of income -- those with incomes under $50,000 save more than wealthier families. Only 29 percent of families are on track to meet their college savings goals, the survey found. Details of "How America Saves for Colleges 2009" are available here.
Higher Education Quick Takes
A Hofstra University student has recanted allegations that she was forced into a dormitory men's room stall, tied up and gang raped by five men, Newsday reported. The allegation led to the arrests of four men, one of them another Hofstra student, who were released from jail Wednesday night after their accuser told prosecutors that the sex had been consensual, which is what the men had said when they were first questioned. The reports of a gang rape on their campus had scared many Hofstra students, and unsettled the campus. A university spokeswoman said Wednesday night: "This week has been a very difficult one for our entire community, and we will need time to heal and understand the events of the last few days."
What's a pig? A student with H1N1. A pig in a blanket? That's a sick student staying home in bed. And the farm is the pig's parents' home. These definitions are part of an unusual H1N1 glossary produced at Johns Hopkins University to promote discussion of H1N1 and to have a chuckle as well. Some of the other definitions:
- Sleeze: to sneeze properly (into one’s sleeve) when a tissue isn’t handy.
- Boar War: An all-out on-campus effort to prevent the spread of H1N1.
- Bacon: What a pig experiencing an H1N1 fever feels like, i.e., fried. (Usage: Doctor: “Pig, how are you feeling today?” Pig: “Like bacon, doc.”)
- Hog tide: Alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Hundreds of faculty members and others at University of California campuses say that they will not be in class next Thursday to protest the way the system is handling budget cuts, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. A turning point for many professors was the university's announcement that they could not take any of their furlough days on days that they have teaching assignments. Faculty leaders said that some of them should have come on such days to make it clear that severe budget cuts have an impact on teaching.
Fewer students are participating in study abroad programs and many colleges are cutting their budgets for study abroad because of the economic downturn, according to a survey conducted by the Forum on Education Abroad. The association surveyed its nearly 400 members, and 165 of them responded. About two-thirds said the economy had negatively affected their programs, with 59 percent reporting a decrease in the number of students enrolling (about half reporting declines of 10 percent or less) and 60 percent reporting that their institutions had cut their budgets. Most of the cuts came in operating budget support and staff travel. But the impact was clearly uneven, as 39 percent of respondents reported increased study abroad enrollments.
Barry Stern, former director of the Hillwood Museum at Long Island University, has been charged with stealing nine Egyptian artifacts from the collection and selling them through an auction house, Newsday reported. Stern's lawyer said he would not comment until his client surrenders to authorities today. Authorities say that Stern told Christie's, which sold eight of the artifacts, that he obtained them from his parents.
The White House did the unsurprising Tuesday: threw its weight behind House of Representatives legislation that would carry out several of President Obama's key higher education priorities. The Statement of Administration Policy issued by the Office of Management and Budget formally endorsed H.R. 3221, which would essentially end the lender-based guaranteed student loan program and use tens of billions of dollars in savings to increase funds for Pell Grants, a new community college initiative and other programs. The House could begin debating the legislation today. Education Secretary Arne Duncan had already backed the legislation when it was passed by the House Education and Labor Committee in July, and administration officials worked closely with House Democrats in crafting it. The White House statement takes issue with a few aspects of the measure, suggesting that it does not inject enough money into the Pell Grant Program and urging members of Congress to "strengthen accountability and transparency for institutions voluntarily choosing to participate in the College Access and Completion Innovation Fund," which would provide $3 billion to encourage states to invest in programs that improve college going and graduation. While some lenders still hold out hope that the Senate will challenge the administration's push for 100 percent direct lending, many observers believe that ship has sailed. The biggest fights going forward are likely to be over the college access fund -- whether the money flows through competitions or in block grants, whether it flows to state agencies or institutions, and whether private colleges can qualify for funds without sacrificing their independence.
Southeastern University, in Washington, D.C., has lost its accreditation and is not offering courses this fall, The Washington Post reported. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education found that the college lacked academic rigor and was losing its students and faculty members. Southeastern, with a history of serving international and low-income students, was founded in 1879. The university is hoping for a merger with another area college.
Five years into the process of moving its sports program into the National Collegiate Athletic Association's top competitive level, Winston-Salem State University has decided to remain in Division II, the university announced Friday. Winston-Salem began the process of reclassifying its athletics programs to Division I, with the hope of increased visibility and the prospect of attracting higher quality athletes with increased scholarship funds. But Winston-Salem's board backed a recommendation by President Donald J. Reaves to return to Division II after the 2009-10 season. “In the final analysis the resources to complete the reclassification simply were not available, currently nor prospectively, in sufficient amounts" to support the move, Reaves said.