Stanley H. Kaplan, who founded his eponymous test-preparation business in 1938, died Sunday at the age of 90. Although Kaplan sold his then-nationwide business to The Washington Post Company in 1984, he served as president until he retired in 1994. A biography posted on the company's Web site notes that Kaplan's interest in testing dates to his rejection from medical schools in an era when Jewish, working class students had a hard time demonstrating their credentials. While Kaplan was a huge fan of the SAT, he fought for years with testing companies, which at the time denied the possibility that test prep improved scores.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Several more colleges and universities are reporting outbreaks of H1N1 virus, or students with flu symptoms that could indicate H1N1. Among the latest institutions affected so far: Anderson University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Kansas, and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. At Tulane University, those with flu symptoms (not yet shown to be H1N1) are on the football team, leading 27 players to miss a scrimmage, The Times-Picayune reported. Recent Inside Higher Ed articles on H1N1 and the campus response may be found here.
The University of Northern Iowa has frustrated many of its donors with an insurance program that turned out to violate federal tax laws, The Des Moines Register reported. The program -- a group insurance offering -- was supposed to be a benefit available to donors to an athletic scholarship fund. But the university spent years fighting with the insurance company over specifics, and only this year determined that the effort violated federal law. The university may now owe up to $170,000 in back taxes, and nearly 1,700 donors may have lost more than $6 million in accumulated insurance, the Register reported.
Beware the powerful legislator who feels ignored by higher education. In Indiana, Sen. Luke Kenley, chair of the Budget Committee, criticized Indiana and Purdue Universities over tuition increases, asking them to scale them back in light of the recession. Nothing happened. Senator Kenley's response? He's now threatening to use his committee's role to delay $53 million in construction projects at the universities, The Indianapolis Star reported. "This is a new, interesting situation that we've never had to deal with before," said Larry MacIntyre, a spokesman for Indiana University, told the newspaper. "If Senator Kenley withholds approval of these projects, it could be quite problematic for us, because some of them are time-sensitive, and work on some of them already has been bid, and those bids could expire."
While more college athletes who are gay have come out in recent years, they have not included big-time football players. But a survey of 85 football players in ESPN magazine found that just under half know a gay teammate, and that the number increases to 70 percent in the Pacific-10 conference.
Authorities in Germany are investigating about 100 professors involved in possible bribery to help students obtain their Ph.D.'s, the Associated Press reported. Hundreds of doctoral students may have been involved, although it is unclear whether they knew about the bribes. Authorities say that the students were paying money to a company that promised to help them with their doctorates, and that this company in turn paid the professors. Many of the professors were people hired to teach selected classes, not full-time faculty members.
The National Science Foundation on Thursday announced rules that would require colleges and universities receiving funds from some of its programs to certify that they have programs in place to promote "responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project.'' The rules do not set up a system for the NSF to review those programs, just a requirement that colleges and universities say they have the programs. However, the regulations say that "institutions are advised that they are subject to review upon request."
The University of Texas, which has been criticized for multi-million dollar bonuses for some endowment managers, has revised its system for paying the bonuses, Bloomberg reported. The new plan limits bonuses in good years and also cuts payouts when the endowment loses money.
Gov. Steve Beshear, Democrat from Kentucky, recently appointed a colleague with a rather checkered past to the Board of Directors of the West Kentucky Community and Technical College, in Paducah. Early last month – and hidden among a long list of appointments – Beshear tapped Larry Kelley, former member of the governor’s commerce cabinet transition team and now real estate agent in Wickcliffe, for board membership. Kelley, however, is a convicted felon and pleaded guilty to three counts of credit card fraud in 1994. At the time, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Kelley, then a lawyer, had “obtained nearly $5,800 in cash and goods” by “fraudulently obtaining, receiving and using a credit card” from a dead woman, of whose estate he was the executor. Following this, Kelley resigned his post as Ballard County Attorney, and he was disbarred by the Kentucky Supreme Court. Currently, the Kentucky Bar Association does not have his name listed as a member. The news of Kelley’s appointment to the community college board was reported yesterday by Page One, a news blog about politics in the state.
Despite the economic downturn, 67 percent of parents believe in their ability to meet the cost of their children's college education, according to a poll being released today by Sallie Mae and Gallup. However, there are less encouraging signs too. In the last year, the percentage of parents "extremely worried" that the value of their savings and investments would be low increased to 31 percent from 17 percent. Parents also remain worried about tuition increases, the poll found.