Higher ed's nuanced strategy gives it options for navigating tax reform debate

The higher ed lobby has singled out specific provisions of Republicans’ proposed tax overhaul instead of taking on the idea that loopholes should be closed to pay for lower corporate taxes. Leaders say that’s the right strategy, even though polling shows the bill is widely unpopular.

Drama and accusations grow over University of California audit

Two staffers have resigned, days ahead of a report expected to slam the University of California’s Office of the President for interfering in an audit of the institution.

Ashford Suspends Enrollment of Veteran Students

Ashford University announced this week that it has temporarily suspended new enrollment of veteran students who receive the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The action by the online for-profit university, which is owned by Bridgepoint Education, is the latest development in a long-running dispute between Ashford, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and a state regulator.

Last year Iowa's state approval agency moved to strip the university's GI Bill eligibility, citing a previous decision by Ashford to close its physical location in the state. Ashford sued to block the decision, and that lawsuit remains active. However, the university subsequently secured approval from Arizona regulators to shift its state-based eligibility for veterans' benefits from Iowa to that state. The federal VA in September backed the approval by the Arizona state agency.

Then, last week, the VA changed course and told Ashford that the Arizona agency had not provided sufficient evidence that it has jurisdictional approval over Ashford's online programs. The VA said that in 60 days it would suspend Ashford's GI Bill eligibility and approval of new student enrollments and re-enrollments unless "corrective action" is taken by the university.

While Ashford said in a corporate filing that it strongly disagrees with the VA's moves, the for-profit decided to voluntarily drop new enrollments of veterans. Veteran students account for roughly 10 percent of Ashford's total enrollment, the university said, and 7 percent of its revenue.

Ad keywords: 
Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Education Debt Held by Older Americans

Recently released federal data show that 17 percent of federal student debt holders are over the age of 50. This group of older borrowers collectively hold $247 billion in student debt, an amount that has roughly tripled since 2003.

Likewise, a 2016 report from the U.S. Government Accountability provoked alarm for showing that the federal government is withholding a portion of Social Security benefits from a growing number of older Americans to cover defaulted student loan debt.

Amid this context, the Urban Institute on Thursday released an analysis of federal survey data on older student debt holders. The group found that 3.5 percent of Americans over 50 hold student debt for their own education, compared to roughly 8 percent with debt for their children or grandchildren. 

Older borrowers with debt from their education tend to have more precarious finances, the report found. For example, 55 percent of this group reported struggles with money compared to 33 percent of those with student debt for their children. In addition, black adults over age 50 are roughly three times as likely to hold education debt for themselves as are their white peers.

Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Survey: Instructors support technology, but institutions lack implementation plans

That's one of the main takeaways from a newly released survey of chief academic officers. Another big one: OER will be major source of content for courses within five years.

National online learning database launched

As reported by Inside Higher Ed, Oregon State University Ecampus has created a database compiling research on the efficacy of online learning.

Supporting Undergraduate Teaching Improvement

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences this week released the fourth and final paper from its Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education, called “Policies and Practices to Support Undergraduate Teaching Improvement.” The paper says that institutions are increasingly under social, economic and political pressure — just not pressure to improve undergraduate teaching. Even public accountability systems, in the form outcomes-based accreditation processes, ignore the educational processes underlying those outcomes, it says. Good college teaching means subject-matter knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, but especially the latter, according to the report. It describes examples of teaching improvement initiatives, including teaching centers, mentoring programs, guided reflection programs and the Science Education Initiative, a recent effort to systematically improve the teaching of science at two North American research universities. While teaching centers

and faculty mentoring programs tend to be rooted in general pedagogical knowledge, the latter two programs focus — particularly helpfully — on teaching within a specific discipline, the commission found. To improve teaching across an institution, the paper concludes, leaders must share an idea of what good undergraduate teaching looks like and value to role of discipline-specific pedagogical knowledge. The commission also found that whether teaching improvement initiatives are on campus or off, improvement of teaching is most likely when there is “coordinated activity at multiple levels of the academic enterprise.” The report includes numerous policy recommendations, such as that campus ands system leaders analyze and realign the formal faculty incentive system and fund and fill tenure-track faculty positions that emphasize undergraduate teaching. 

Ad keywords: 
Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

U of Memphis Investigating Professor's Tweet

The University of Memphis is reportedly investigating Judy Cole, a professor of nursing, for comments she made on Twitter about Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary, according to WMC Action News 5. On Saturday, Cole responded to a tweet by Huckabee’s father, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, saying that a U.S. Army pilot had given his daughter a jacket to wear during her recent visit to the Demilitarized Zone between North Korea and South Korea. “@realDonaldTrump should promote him! Of course libs go nuts about it,” Mike Huckabee, a Republican, wrote in reference to the gesture. In response, Cole reportedly tweeted, “If she froze to death, she wouldn’t be missed.” A number of people criticized Cole on Twitter as uncaring before Huckabee responded.

Source: Twitter

Memphis later said in a statement that it was “aware of personal comments made on social media by a current faculty member of the Loewenberg College of Nursing. These statements do not represent the values of the [university] or the values of the Loewenberg College of Nursing. This matter is being fully investigated in accordance with [university] policies.” Cole’s Twitter account has since been deleted.

Ad keywords: 
Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Fordham Non-Tenure-Track Professors and Postdocs Vote to Form Union

Non-tenure-track faculty members — adjuncts, full-timers and postdoctoral fellows — at Fordham University voted 16-to-1 to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union, they announced Tuesday. The news comes weeks after administrators and faculty organizers signed a neutrality agreement allowing for a free and fair election at the Roman Catholic campus. Fordham in a statement called the election process “full and fair” and said it’s looking forward to “working with SEIU on behalf of our employees.”

Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Many Trustees See Faculty as Barrier to Change

College and university trustees widely agree that the public’s perception of higher education has been eroding and that higher education’s business model needs to change -- but many see significant barriers to putting changes in place.

More than half of trustees, 57 percent, agreed that the general public perception of higher education in the United States has declined in the last decade, according to a survey conducted for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges and released today. Forty-one percent of respondents agreed with the statements. Another 16 percent agreed strongly.

Nearly all respondents, 92 percent, said college and university business models need to change. More than half, 58 percent, called for moderate changes, and 34 percent said the business model should change drastically. Many trustees, 57 percent, said most colleges are able to change their business models. But only 38 percent said most colleges are willing to change.

Asked about the biggest barrier to changing higher education’s business model, 28 percent of respondents pointed to a lack of support from faculty members. The lack of faculty support was by far the most popular answer, followed by a lack of confidence among institutional leaders in making changes, cited by 19 percent of trustees, and a lack of consensus among leaders, cited by 16 percent.

The survey also asked trustees about their top three concerns for higher education’s future. More than two-thirds, 68 percent, pointed to the price of higher education for students and families. Other top concerns included student debt, named by 41 percent of trustees; the ability of higher education to respond to changing student and employer needs, named by 33 percent; and higher education institutions’ business model, named by 33 percent.

Just 22 percent of trustees said preparing graduates for the work force is the most important role higher education fills. A large majority agreed with the statement that liberal arts education should be included in all undergraduate programs -- 56 percent strongly agreed, and 29 percent agreed. Yet nearly all trustees, 92 percent, said the general public does not understand the notion of a liberal arts education very well.

AGB is in the middle of an effort to involve college and university trustees in public discussion about the value proposition of higher education. Where public policy is concerned, at least, there may be work to be done. Only 23 percent of surveyed trustees said they had personally contacted a member of Congress about a higher ed policy issue in the last year.

The new polling is the first in a set of three surveys AGB plans in order to gauge trustee perspectives. It includes responses from about 1,400 AGB members who participated in online surveys between March 20 and April 18.

“The story that they share in their responses is both candid and straightforward, but also, in some respects, it’s somewhat sobering,” said Rick Legon, AGB president, during a conference call to discuss the findings.

Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 


Subscribe to RSS - administrators
Back to Top