U.S. House Bill Would Nix Year-Round Pell Grants

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday released a draft funding bill that would block implementation of federal gainful employment rules and would not back the U.S. Senate's attempt to restore year-round Pell Grant eligibility. The bill also includes $33.3 billion for the National Institutes of Health, which is $1.25 billion above this fiscal year's funding level.

The Obama administration's attempt to regulate vocational programs at colleges based on their graduates' labor-market standards went into effect last year. They apply to for-profit institutions and nondegree programs at community colleges and other nonprofit institutions. The draft House bill would prevent any of the proposed $162 billion for labor, health and human services from being used to "implement, administer or enforce" the final regulations.

Likewise, the bill does not include funding for year-round Pell, which would allow students to use the grants during summer sessions. Congress and the White House backed the elimination of that eligibility in 2011. The House proposal also would cut $1.3 billion from the Pell program, which has a roughly $7.8 billion surplus.

Consumer and higher education groups criticized the House bill, saying it would harm lower-income students. Some, however, also praised the proposed funding increase for biomedical research at the NIH.

"In addition to raiding Pell Grant funds, the draft House bill attempts again to block implementation of the commonsense gainful employment regulation designed to protect both students and taxpayers from career education programs that overcharge and underdeliver," said the Institute for College Access and Success, in a written statement.

The bill will be considered by a House subcommittee today. 

On Wednesday 120 House Democrats sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee in which they opposed cuts to the Pell program.

"Rescissions, cancelations or funding level cuts will worsen the funding outlook for Pell Grants and make it harder to strengthen the program through reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which Congress is expected to tackle in the coming months and years," they wrote. "Any current surplus balance reflects Congress’ intent and commitment to make college more affordable for millions of students through updating the Pell Grant program."

NCAA rules allow boosters to help athletes accused of sexual assault

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Many universities provide lists of friendly lawyers to athletes accused of sexual assault and other crimes but don't provide the same help to victims or nonathletes with legal troubles. U of Tennessee settlement raises questions about the practice, which the NCAA permits.

Provost change provokes debate at Temple U

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Temple makes a sudden change after $22 million in overspending on financial aid. But faculty members object to what they see as a lack of information and disrespect for an academic leader many respect.

Incoming Provost at Delaware State Withdraws

James Ammons, who was named the next provost of Delaware State University in May, has decided not to take the job, The News Journal reported. No reason was given, and Ammons did not respond to the newspaper's request for comment. Ammons resigned as president of Florida A&M University in 2012 amid a scandal over the hazing death of a student and questions about the finances of the institution.

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Overview of Colleges' Use of Emergency Aid

A growing number of colleges have created student aid programs that direct small amounts of money, sometimes as little as $300, to students who are struggling to pay for tuition or a financial emergency. NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education on Wednesday released a study on emergency aid programs at 523 institutions from various sectors of higher education.

Common forms of such aid include emergency loans, campus vouchers, food pantries and completion scholarships, according to the report. Most of the emergency aid programs (82 percent) have been in place for at least three years. But colleges tend not to advertise emergency aid beyond word of mouth, according to NASPA, and the need for such programs outstrips available funds. The study included five suggestions for improving the administration and impact of emergency aid:

  • A common language to describe and discuss emergency aid
  • More policy guidance for administering emergency grants and loans
  • Standardized procedures to guide the development of new and existing programs
  • Improved data usage to identify students who need aid and to assess the effect of programs on student success
  • More automated processing of the aid

U of Tennessee Settles Sex Assault Lawsuit for $2.48M

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville will pay $2.48 million to settle a federal lawsuit brought by eight women against the university's football program, The Tennessean reported Tuesday.

The women reported that they had been assaulted by six athletes -- including five football players -- and that the university and its athletic department largely ignored the behavior. University officials found five of the athletes to be responsible for sexual misconduct but allowed them to remain on campus, graduate or transfer to other colleges. Two of the players are currently awaiting trial but have pleaded not guilty to the rape charges. The lawsuit also accused Butch Jones, the university's head football coach, of calling a player a traitor after he helped one of the women who said she had been raped.

The university admitted to no wrongdoing in the settlement but will allow a special independent commission to review how it responds to sexual assaults, including the university's use of the Administrative Procedures Act, a disciplinary process criticized for favoring athletes. The university also agreed to no longer provide football players with a list of attorneys when they are accused of assault.

As part of the settlement, the women will withdraw two federal complaints over the university's handling of sexual assaults filed with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, though that does not mean the office will necessarily end its investigation.

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New presidents or provosts: Beaver County FDU Finger Lakes Maricopa Ouachita Rockefeller St. Catherine Santa Barbara TSTC

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  • Anthony Beebe, president of San Diego City College, has been named superintendent/president of Santa Barbara City College.
  • Roger W. Davis, associate vice president of instruction and academic services at Rockland Community College, has been appointed executive vice president and provost at Community College of Beaver County, in Pennsylvania.

U.S.: Kansas State Must Investigate Off-Campus Assaults

Kansas State University must investigate accusations of sexual assault at off-campus fraternity houses, the federal government stated in documents filed Friday in support of two students who are suing the university.

In their federal lawsuits, two female students said they were raped at two fraternity houses in 2014 and 2015 and that the university violated Title IX -- the gender discrimination law that instructs colleges how to handle accusations of sexual assault -- when officials did not investigate the claims. The university argued in court that the lawsuits should be dismissed because it is not responsible for reports of rape at off-campus locations.

But the U.S. Department of Education stated in a 2011 Dear Colleague letter that Title IX does require colleges and universities to investigate such cases, specifically citing university-recognized off-campus fraternity houses.

“The continuing effects of a student-on-student rape, including the constant fear of exposure to one’s assailant, can render a student’s educational environment hostile,” the government filings said, according to The New York Times. “Thus, a school must respond to allegations of sexual assault in fraternity activities to determine if a hostile environment exists there or in any other education program or activity.”

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WICHE's interstate passport seeks to help students transfer while preserving colleges' autonomy

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New interstate network seeks to help students transfer across state lines without losing credits, but also defers to faculty members at each college about how to measure learning.

Antioch University eliminates jobs of five presidents

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University eliminates jobs of presidents and duties of boards of its five regional campuses.


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