administrators

Former Recruit: Louisville Visit Was Like 'Strip Club'

For years, University of Louisville basketball recruits attended parties at a campus residence hall that included nude dancers and paid sex, five former and prospective players told ESPN, lending credence to claims made by a former escort in a book published this month.

The former escort, Katina Powell, said she was paid by Andre McGee, the team's former graduate assistant coach, to provide recruits with strip shows and sex during campus visits. Powell said she was paid about $10,000 by McGee for supplying dancers -- including her own daughters -- during a four-year period. In one instance, McGee allegedly offered the escort a bottle of whiskey signed by the team's head coach, Rick Pitino, as payment.

Pitino denies knowing about the parties, and the university is investigating the allegations. McGee has been placed on administrative leave at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, where he is now an assistant coach. ESPN confirmed that text messages sent to Powell arranging the parties came from McGee's phone, and confirmed that a wire transfer of $200 was sent to the escort by the assistant coach.

"It was crazy," one recruit, who ultimately chose not to attend Louisville, told ESPN. "It was like I was in a strip club."

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Education Department steps up its scrutiny of ITT Tech

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Education Department tightens its oversight of embattled ITT Tech, citing failures of financial responsibility and federal fraud charges.

Moody's: Boot Camp Experiment Is Revenue Opportunity

Moody's, the credit rating agency, this week weighed in on a recently announced U.S. Department of Education experiment to allow federal financial aid to flow to a handful of partnerships between colleges and nontraditional providers, including skills boot camps and those that offer online courses. The experiment is "credit positive," Moody's said, and "will enhance and diversify revenue opportunities for universities, with nondegree credentials attracting new participants and supplementing traditional degree programs."

The limited availability of federal financial aid will accelerate the spread of alternative credentials, said Moody's, while also magnifying the potential upside of those credentials.

Vanderbilt study again highlights what colleges view as burdensome federal regulations

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University follows its controversial study on regulatory burden on colleges with an expanded analysis, and estimates the costs to all of higher ed.

Cal State U System Expands E-Portfolio Option

The California State University System will make electronic portfolios -- e-portfolios -- available to all its students and graduates, via a three-year agreement the system has signed with Portfolium, a cloud-based platform. The tool will help Cal State students display their academic and professional accomplishments in a digital format, the company said, including ones that aren't easily captured on a traditional résumé or transcript.

The use of digital portfolios is becoming popular. And two higher education groups are exploring how to bulk up the college transcript with more information about student learning and "competencies." At Cal State, more than 80,000 students already have used Portfolium to begin creating digital profiles.

ITT Tech Suspends Enrollment at Several Campuses

ITT Educational Services will suspend new student enrollment at several of its 135 campus locations, including campuses in Wichita, Kans., and South Bend, Ind. The embattled for-profit chain, which is facing financial and legal challenges, has closed eight of its ITT Technical Institute locations during the last two years, according to ITT's national accreditor.

The company made the decision to temporarily supend a handful of locations based on its research about local market demands, said Nicole Elam, an ITT spokeswoman. The campus locations "undergoing market assessments" represent 3 percent of ITT's new student enrollment, she said. ITT enrolls roughly 50,000 students.

"There will not be any disruption to ongoing course work for continuously enrolled students as we will continue to teach classes for those students," Elam said via email. "Our primary focus is on our currently enrolled students at those campuses and providing them with the same level of service and education as they pursue their degrees."

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this year charged ITT and its top two executives with fraud for allegedly concealing massive losses in two student loan programs the company backed. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has also sued ITT, and the U.S. Department of Education has begun more tightly monitoring the company and its finances.

Ithaca College shifts marketing strategy to focus on the whole institution, not individual programs

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A new marketing drive at Ithaca College emphasizes the overall student experience rather than individual programs. Marketing experts say this is a smart move, but some faculty members fear it's too generic.

LinkedIn Study on Prospective Grad Students

LinkedIn, the career-focused networking site, this week released new research on the decision-making process of prospective master's and M.B.A. students. The study, which was based on survey responses from 1,627 LinkedIn members, found that respondents had an average short list of only three institutions. About three-quarters of prospective students developed their short list before reaching out to a representative at those institutions. And 93 percent ended up enrolling in a college on the list.

Peer groups and professional networks are significant influencers on prospective students' decision about where to enroll, the study found, second only to an institution's website.

USA Funds to Invest in Measuring Value

USA Funds, a large nonprofit student loan guarantor, this week announced $3.5 million in funding for four initiatives to measure the value of college. Recipients include the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, which has developed program-level return-on-investment reports, and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, which is comparing degree production to employer demand in specific regions. Projects from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the National Skills Coalition also received grants.

Common threads in the four efforts, USA Funds said in a written statement, are that they are based on the program level -- rather than institutionwide looks -- and they compare the costs of education with returns from employment and wages as well as measures like job satisfaction.

"By supporting these new models in 12 states, we are developing powerful new tools to help students find a more direct path through education and training to rewarding careers," said William Hansen, USA Funds president and CEO.

Southeastern Conference Asks Jeb Bush to Stop Selling Beer Accessories

Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, will make changes to how his presidential campaign aligns itself with the Southeastern Conference after the league complained to campaign officials. That includes no longer selling a foam drink sleeve that featured "JEB" in the shape of the SEC's logo.

“The Southeastern Conference does not endorse candidates for any political office,” Herb Vincent, SEC spokesman, told USA Today. “The SEC has spoken to the Bush campaign to ensure that their activities are within the bounds of our trademark requirements.”

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