Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - 3:00am

Parents and students are both having to dig deeper into their own resources -- with their own funds and with loans -- to finance higher education, according to an annual report on college financing released today by Sallie Mae and Gallup. The breakdown of who contributed how much for 2009-10:

  • Parent income and savings: 37 percent.
  • Parent borrowing: 10 percent.
  • Student income and savings: 9 percent.
  • Student borrowing: 14 percent.
  • Friends and relatives: 7 percent
  • Grants and scholarships: 23 percent.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - 3:00am

Westwood College said on Monday that it has begun a series of reforms aimed at cleaning up questionable, misleading and allegedly fraudulent recruitment practices made public last week in the findings of a Government Accountability Office investigation and in the testimony of a former Westwood recruiter before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. At a Texas campus of the for-profit institution, an undercover GAO investigator was encouraged to falsify information on his financial aid form to become eligible for Pell Grants.

The college, based in Denver, said it will implement a new recruiter pay structure on Aug. 21 that will no longer reward employees for reaching enrollment targets and will instead pay them a fixed salary. The college said it has begun an internal investigation into admissions and financial aid at all 17 of its campuses and plans to step up its "mystery shopping" efforts and other self-policing mechanisms. Westwood will also implement more stringent admissions standards.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - 3:00am

The number of Iranian students enrolling at colleges in the United States is up 50 percent since 2005, although still at levels far below the tens of thousands who enrolled before the fall of the Shah, The New York Times reported. The students say that they are attracted by the quality of education offered, which they see as a more important factor than the tensions between the governments of Iran and the United States.

Monday, August 9, 2010 - 3:00am

Rod Blagojevich is missing from the Hall of Governors at Governors State University. The Chicago Tribune reported that the university has held off on obtaining a portrait of the former governor (currently awaiting the jury's verdict in his trial), citing the cost. Even when the economy gets better, the university may have another challenge, the Tribune noted: a new state law that bars the state or any state agency from spending tax dollars on a portrait of Blagojevich.

Monday, August 9, 2010 - 3:00am

President Obama will travel to the University of Texas at Austin today to give a speech focused on higher education. No new policies or programs are expected to be announced. Aides said the speech will emphasize the importance of higher education as one of the "four pillars" of the country's new economic foundation, describe the president's "college completion" goal, and recap the "tremendous progress" the administration has made so far in implementing changes designed to reach that goal. The talk will be broadcast online by the university.

Monday, August 9, 2010 - 3:00am

An adjunct at Oklahoma City Community College has decided not to teach there anymore -- after 17 years of doing so -- following a student complaint that he taught creationism alongside evolution in a biology course, The Oklahoman reported. A college spokesman said that the complaint was handled informally, and that the instructor was urged to follow the syllabus. The adjunct, Michael Talkington, made the decision not to teach again, the spokesman said. Talkington told the newspaper that he had never taught creationism, but had told students that there are "other schools of thought" beyond evolution.

Monday, August 9, 2010 - 3:00am

The State University of New York at Buffalo's Jewish studies program is getting criticism for its failure to renew the contract of Rachel Lipsky, who taught Hebrew there for 23 years and whose supporters say that she lost her slot so it could be given to the wife of a new hire, The Buffalo News reported. Among those backing Lipsky are Elie Wiesel. An inquiry by SUNY found no wrongdoing and Buffalo officials note that adjuncts are not assured long-term employment.

Monday, August 9, 2010 - 3:00am

Under a new system for appealing admissions decisions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, few requests are granted, but the process is open, the Chicago Tribune reported. The university instituted the system after a scandal in which it was revealed that politically connected applicants were appealing their rejections -- even though most people didn't know they could appeal. Under the new system, appeals are based on a short essay offering "new and compelling information" about the candidate. According to the Tribune, 157 rejected applicants filed appeals and 13 had their rejections reversed. An additional 18 students asked to be admitted to a program different from the one to which they originally applied, and 3 won admission.

Monday, August 9, 2010 - 3:00am

Under a new rule, University of Virginia students will be required to report -- at the time they register for courses -- whether they have been arrested or convicted of a crime, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Students were previously required to report such run-ins with the law, but were not forced to disclose at a particular time. Answering dishonestly could be a violation of the university's honor code, and such violations can result in a student's being kicked out. The rules change follows the May 3 murder of a student, Yeardley Love. Her ex-boyfriend, George Huguely has been charged. After his arrest, it was revealed that he had been arrested two years before for threatening a police officer and university officials said that they never learned of that incident.

Friday, August 6, 2010 - 3:00am

Rep. Charles B. Rangel is not the only lawmaker with a university program financed in part by gifts from companies with business before Congress, The New York Times reported. It said that nearly a dozen current or former lawmakers have such endowments. Funding for a center honoring Rangel at City College of City University of New York is at the center of one of the ethics charges facing Rangel. The Times article, however, noted that the other lawmakers say that they were much less involved in raising funds for these centers than Rangel is alleged to have been.


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