Opening Up the 'Black Box' of Higher Ed Finances

Colleges and universities should embrace a new financial model in which campus financial data are linked to student outcomes information and shared much more transparently with key campus constituencies, a new report from the American Council on Education and the TIAA-CREF Institute argues. The paper, "Evolving Higher Education Business Models: Leading With Data to Deliver Results," asserts that giving faculty members and administrators better data about costs, revenues and outcomes at the program level will allow institutions to make better decisions, involving all key constituents, about which programs are effective and efficient.

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Kennesaw State Professor Arrested for Protesting Campus Carry Bill

Amy Donahue, an assistant professor of philosophy at Kennesaw State University, was arrested Friday in the Georgia Capitol for protesting the state’s proposed concealed campus carry law, similar to the one recently passed -- against faculty and administrative concerns -- in Texas. State troopers handcuffed and arrested Donahue for disruption of the General Assembly and obstruction of an officer for holding a 22-by-28-inch sign opposing the legislation, which later passed the Georgia Senate, the Savannah Morning News reported. (The bill next goes to Governor Nathan Deal, who could sign it into law.)

Donahue was allowed to enter the building with her sign and visited an additional floor before she was arrested, according to the Morning News. The paper reported that groups routinely bring signs into the building, and Donahue’s arrest angered the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, whose executive director, Hollie Manheimer, said in a statement, "It appears this citizen was trying to express herself, but instead was arrested. Law enforcement operated under a criminal statute, even though there seems to have been no evidence that the citizen was obstructing the hallway or any area at all, with the intent to cause disruption.”

But a spokesperson from Kennesaw State suggested otherwise. Tammy DeMel told the Morning News, “We have the utmost respect for the General Assembly, and while we support appropriate expressions of opinion, we do not condone the disruptive activities associated with this incident.” Donahue was charged with two misdemeanors and released on a $2,000 bond. Via email, Donahue declined immediate comment.

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Berkeley Law Dean, Accused of Harassment, Resigns

Sujit Choudhry resigned as dean of the law school at the University of California at Berkeley on Thursday, shortly after his former assistant filed a suit accusing him of sexual harassment, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Choudhry will continue to receive pay as a faculty member.

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Students demand free tampons on campus

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Students are demanding that colleges provide tampons and other menstruation products at no cost, and some institutions are starting to listen.

Obama adviser who shaped higher education policies is leaving White House

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James Kvaal helped shape the administration’s sweeping higher education policies.

Lumina Releases Papers on Performance-Based Funding

The Lumina Foundation on Thursday released a second batch of white papers on performance-based funding in higher education. This group of five papers focuses on lessons from states that have linked funding for state colleges to metrics such as on-time graduation and the number of at-risk students who graduate.

For example, two of the analyses look at results in Tennessee, which has the nation's most ambitious performance-based funding formula. Another examines an aggressive approach that Texas State Technical College System has used to voluntarily tie its state contribution to graduates' earnings.

The foundation eventually plans to release 13 of the papers.

“Lumina believes thoughtfully designed approaches to public financing must prioritize both college access and completion,” said Jamie Merisotis, the foundation's president and CEO, in a written statement. “A focus on equity in student outcomes is an essential objective of today’s outcomes-based funding models. In addition to increasing attainment, we must close the current achievement gaps for students of color and low-income students.”

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Survey: Most Americans Think Coaches Are Overpaid

In more than 40 states, college football and basketball coaches are the highest-paid public employees, often outearning the presidents who hired them. Despite the popularity of college football and basketball, more than half of Americans don't agree with paying coaches such high salaries, a new survey found. Nearly two-thirds of respondents to the survey, which was conducted by the research firm Finn Partners, said coaches should not make more than college presidents.

Opinions on the matter varied by age, however. Nearly half of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 said they supported college coaches earning more than presidents, while 35 percent of those between 30 and 44 said they opposed such a pay gap. About a quarter of those between 45 and 59 said they supported coaches earning more, as did about 10 percent of those who are 60 and older.

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NCAA to Distribute $200 million to Division I Programs

The National Collegiate Athletic Association will distribute more than $200 million to Division I members next year to help institutions pay for benefits and services for athletes. The money can be used to launch literacy and mental health programs or to expand academic advising services, as well as be used to help colleges cover athletes' full cost of attendance, pay for four-year guaranteed scholarships and provide unlimited meals and snacks for athletes.

“This is an important time for college athletics, in which our schools are finding new and innovative ways to support student-athletes,” said Kirk Schulz, the president at Kansas State University and chair of the NCAA's Board of Governors, the committee that approved the release of the funds. “But we are mindful that these programs come at a cost that can strain schools’ budgets. So the decision to provide this one-time funding to the Division I membership will help schools through this transition and shows our continued commitment to student success.”

The $200 million will come from assets that the NCAA holds in reserve as “financial protection against significant disruptions in the association's operations.” After the five wealthiest conferences began covering the full cost of attendance for athletes last year, the NCAA distributed $18.9 million to Division I institutions, or about $55,000 per institution. The NCAA estimated at the time that paying full cost of attendance would increase aid amounts by about $2,500 per athlete, or about $30 million a year across all programs. It soon became clear the NCAA’s estimates fell far short, with some estimates putting the total amount closer to $100 million.

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U of Texas Backs Professor in Dispute on Disrupted Event

The University of Texas at Austin announced Wednesday that it found no wrongdoing by a professor in his actions in November when a lecture he organized was disrupted by pro-Palestinian students. The students interrupted the start of the lecture, which was on the Israeli military, with speeches of their own in which they criticized the Israeli military. The professor, Ami Pedahzur, then attempted to regain order and criticized the protesters, some of whom filed complaints accusing him of violating their rights and discriminating against them.

The university's announcement Wednesday said that an investigation found the accusations against Pedahzur to be unsubstantiated. The university said policy bars it from releasing full reports on charges found to be unsubstantiated. (Supporters of the students are accusing the university of a biased investigation.)

Gregory L. Fenves, president at UT Austin, issued a statement that suggested the thinking behind the university's finding. "Free discourse is vital to the University of Texas," he said. "As a university committed to knowledge and discovery, UT is steadfast in its support of inquiry and debate. Yet free speech also carries with it responsibility. The expression of free speech is not a license to drown out the speech of others, or to shout down ideas one disagrees with."

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Norovirus Leads Lafayette to Halt Classes Until Monday

Lafayette College, facing an outbreak of norovirus, is calling off all classes and student activities until Monday. College officials said they hope this action will limit the spread of the virus, which is difficult to contain on campuses because so many students live in close quarters. Many colleges and universities this fall have seen norovirus outbreaks.

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