Jewish organizations are raising questions about a group at Rutgers University that is raising money for organizations that send supplies to Gaza in disregard of Israeli blockades, the Associated Press reported. Those organizing the effort say that they are trying to provide humanitarian aid, but critics say that there are questions over whether funds are being raised for illegal activities.
Higher Education Quick Takes
In comments that were widely characterized as solemn and full of contrition, after what he acknowledged was a "shellacking" for which he was largely responsible, President Obama reaffirmed his belief that further spending on education and research was necessary to assure an economic recovery. At the news conference after his party lost control of the House of Representatives and barely kept its grasp on the Senate, Obama conceded that he might have to compromise on health care and other key priorities, and that the need to control the deficit would require a contraction of federal spending. But "as we bring [the deficit] down, I want to make sure that we’re not cutting into education that is going to help define whether or not we can compete around the world. I don’t think we should be cutting back on research and development, because if we can develop new technologies in areas like clean energy, that could make all the difference in terms of job creation here at home." He added: “[I]n these budget discussions, the key is to be able to distinguish between stuff that isn’t adding to our growth, isn’t an investment in our future, and those things that are absolutely necessary for us to be able to increase job growth in the future as well."
Some universities in Texas do not give students appropriate credit for college courses they take from professors while in high school, the Dallas Morning News reported. The number of students taking such courses has more than doubled in the last five years, the newspaper reported, largely in response to changes in state law aimed at ensuring that colleges and universities give students credit for a set of core courses to make them college-ready. But some students are finding that the colleges count the credits as electives or require them to retake the classes in college, rather than as fulfilling requirements toward their degree.
The federal government's tax credit for higher education expenses should be made fully refundable and deposited into college savings accounts for Americans from low- and middle-income backgrounds when the students are in middle school, the New America Foundation argued in a report Tuesday. The report, "Enhancing Tax Credits to Encourage Saving for Higher Education," says that that change and others are necessary to make the federal college tax credits beneficial for students from less-wealthy backgrounds.
Arizona State University is considering a plan that would end state support for its law school, but allow the law school to be free of much state regulation, including that related to tuition rates, The Arizona Republic reported. The move follows a similar plan being considered for the business school of the University of California at Los Angeles.
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The Medical College of Georgia and a foundation created to support it have ended their rift, The Augusta Chronicle reported. The college cut ties to the foundation two years ago, but has now worked out an arrangement in which the foundation will focus on alumni fund-raising and a new fund-raising arm created by the college will focus on the institution's needs.
Some Chinese students are organizing a class action against the Educational Testing Service following its decision to cancel scores on the Graduate Record Examination given in China last month, People's Daily reported. Last week, ETS officials said that they were offering test-takers the option of retaking the test or getting a refund, but the People's Daily article says that many test-takers don't think that enough. ETS said it was forced to take this action because major portions of the test had already been given in previous administrations of the GRE. "Most candidates believe it is not fair for them to have to accept the consequences caused by the mistakes of ETS," the article says. "Some believe that since there were not many candidates who systematically reviewed the original questions, the number of re-examination questions should be reduced or the score of candidates should be counted by combining the scores of the re-examination and the previous examination." A spokesman for ETS told Inside Higher Ed that "students are understandably upset but we are really doing everything in our power to minimize the impact by offering students options, contacting them with information via e-mail and text messaging, establishing a toll-free number notifying universities, providing reimbursements for travel expenses from the 10/23 administration and so forth. We'll see what happens in the future."
The University of Texas at Austin has been boasting of late of its raids on the University of California's furlough-weary faculty. But The Contra Costa Times reports on how the University of California at Berkeley won back a couple that it lost to Austin just a year ago. Jennifer Johnson-Hanks and William Hanks, a sociologist and an anthropologist, respectively, cited family ties to the Bay Area and the effort by a Berkeley dean who lured them back.
Twenty-eight universities have signed a letter to President Obama from NAFSA: Association of International Education calling for an end to regulations imposed in 2004 that have effectively barred most study abroad programs in Cuba. Only about 250 students from the United States studied in Cuba in 2007-8, compared to 2,100 in the last year before the regulations were imposed. "Academic exchanges are often seen as a critical component of U.S. engagement in the world and have historically been a successful tool in building relations between nations," the letter says. "They also present students with an unparalleled educational opportunity. Both of these values of academic exchange hold true regardless of where in the world a student studies abroad, whether in China, Indonesia, England, or Cuba."