Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, July 20, 2009 - 3:00am

Baylor University has removed its alumni association from the university's Web site, e-mail service and toll-free phone lines, The Waco Tribune reported. The alumni association and the university have fought previously and have also previously agreed on financial independence for the alumni group. But while the university characterized its latest moves as related to that independence agreement, alumni leaders said that they weren't consulted and that they feared the changes would hurt fund-raising efforts.

Friday, July 17, 2009 - 3:00am

India, which has historically discouraged colleges from outside the country from setting up operations there, has been moving to change that policy and invite institutions in. But government officials are now saying that such operations would have to abide by strict quotas that specify the number of places for members of disadvantaged castes, The Times of India reported. Such requirements have been much debated in India, and have been questioned by leaders of the top universities, but the system is politically popular. The Times quoted a key official saying: ‘‘All institutions must be inclusive. If any institution has to set up in India then it has to ensure a place for backward castes. There is no compromise on it."

Friday, July 17, 2009 - 3:00am

Most colleges have emergency plans in place, a new survey has found. The survey, by the National Association of College and University Business Officers, found that 85 percent of colleges have an emergency preparedness plan that at least meets the standards set by the National Fire Protection Association; two-thirds of colleges and universities have a plan in place for communicating with students and employees during an emergency, and 77 percent of respondents have adopted an on-campus emergency committee involving officials from a range of departments.

Friday, July 17, 2009 - 3:00am

To meet demands for flexible course times for adult students with jobs, Bunker Hill Community College will offer two popular courses this fall with class times that begin at 11:45 p.m. Sections of the introductory course in psychology and another in writing will run until 2:30 a.m. “Many people finish work late at night and must be up with their children first thing in the morning,” said John P. Reeves, chair of behavioral science. “This is the only time they can come to school.”

Friday, July 17, 2009 - 3:00am

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has amended rules for the state's need-based scholarships for attending public institutions, so that home-schooled students can be eligible, The Washington Post reported. The standard requirement has been a 2.5 grade point average in high school, effectively excluded home-schooled students. Under the new rules, home-schooled students are eligible with at least a 900 on the SAT or 19 on the ACT.

Friday, July 17, 2009 - 3:00am

The battles over Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law requiring gender equity in education programs receiving federal funds, frequently focus on numbers. This week the College Sports Council, which argues that Title IX is encouraging colleges to eliminate men's teams, issued a new report to advance its cause. As reported by the Associated Press, the report analyzed 19 sports in which men and women both compete and found that women have more opportunities to earn college scholarships. As the article noted, that method of comparison manages to leave out one arguably significant sport in analyzing gender and athletic opportunities: football.

Friday, July 17, 2009 - 3:00am

The Education Department today released final regulations for several programs that provide funds for centers focused on international studies, area studies and foreign languages. The regulations carry out changes made by Congress in the Higher Education Act on a range of technical and financial rules.

Friday, July 17, 2009 - 3:00am

Thirty-four Nobel Laureates on Thursday issued a joint statement calling on Congress to adopt President Obama proposed $150 billion Clean Energy Technology Fund in the climate legislation it is considering. The climate bill approved by the House in June falls far short of this goal, endangering the goal of conducting research on a variety of topics related to climate change, according to the statement. "The stable support this Fund would provide is essential to pay for the research and development needed if the U.S., as well as the developing world, are to achieve their goals in reducing greenhouse gases at an affordable cost," they wrote.

Thursday, July 16, 2009 - 3:00am

Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives on Wednesday formally introduced legislation to restructure the federal student aid programs and signaled their intention to move with lightning speed to pass it. The Committee on Education and Labor announced that it would take up the $87 billion legislation next Tuesday, and given the strong Democratic majority on the panel, as well as in Congress, passage is assured. The legislation got a strong endorsement Wednesday from the Obama administration, whose student loan proposal the House legislation closely mirrors. On a telephone news conference with Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, Education Secretary Arne Duncan offered his "clear support" for the House bill despite some differences with President Obama's original plan, and said it was fully consistent with the administration's plan's "fundamental principles." While the House bill would not make the Pell Grant Program an entitlement, which would be too expensive, Duncan said the measure's plan to use mandatory funds to ensure that the size of the maximum grant keeps pace with inflation plus 1 percent was a "good compromise." Duncan and Miller also both went out of their way -- in discussing the money the House bill would make available to fund President Obama's proposed $12 billion community college initiative -- to emphasize how the legislation would turn up the pressure on colleges to ensure that they are not just admitting students, but getting them to degrees. Discussing community college graduation rates, Miller said that the "statistics are currently not acceptable to the administration or the Congress," and said the legislation was designed to ensure that "community colleges change and adapt to the needs of our society and our families. That test will be on the community colleges."

Thursday, July 16, 2009 - 3:00am

Colleges, universities and schools are expecting an average decline in gift value of 3.9 percent when the books are closed on the 2008-9 academic year, according to a survey of senior fund raisers being released today by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Looking to 2009-10, those surveyed project a modest increase of 2.5 percent. Over the last 20 years, the average annual rate of growth for giving to education has been 7.1 percent. “The steep decline confirms that we are in uncharted economic territory that may be having an equally uncharted impact on private philanthropy to education,” said John Lippincott, president of CASE.

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