Education Affiliates, a for-profit chain with 50 campuses, has settled with the federal government over false-claim allegations, the U.S. Department of Justice said. The Maryland-based company agreed to pay $13 million in response to allegations that it received aid payments from unqualified students, some of whom the for-profit admitted by creating false or fraudulent high school diplomas. Education Affiliates also referred prospective students to diploma mills, according to the feds, and falsified students' federal aid applications.
“The various cases that were settled here include numerous allegations of predatory conduct that victimized students and bilked taxpayers,” said Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell, in a written statement. “In particular, the settlement provides for repayment of $1.9 million in liabilities ordered by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that resulted from EA awarding federal financial aid to students at its Fortis-Miami campus based on invalid high school credentials issued by a diploma mill. Secretary Duncan made clear that such abusive behavior would not be tolerated, and we will continue to work with the Justice Department and other federal agencies to ensure that postsecondary institutions face consequences when they violate the law.”
The Nevada System of Higher Education last year, facing scrutiny over the state's community colleges, hired the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems to review the situation and write a report. But The Las Vegas Review-Journal, based on open-records requests, reported that the system didn't like the way the report raised criticisms, and so largely quashed the study. An email the newspaper obtained showed Constance Brooks, the system’s vice chancellor for government and community affairs, saying that the report cast the Board of Regents and the system in a "very negative light," adding, "I say we just take what we like out of the report and do away with the rest." The article suggests that's what the system did.
Atlantic Union College, which suspended operations in 2011 due to a financial problems and a loss of accreditation, is planning to again admit students into some programs, The Worcester Telegramreported. The Seventh-day Adventist college in Massachusetts has received help from its church to deal with debt and is seeking accreditation again.
Albright College, in Pennsylvania, announced last week that it is suspending operations of its campus in Mesa, Ariz. Albright cited lower than projected enrollments. Mesa recruited five private colleges to start operating a higher education center there, on the theory that they could attract students to programs that were already doing well at home campus locations. But enrollments have lagged. Westminster College, in Missouri, last year announced that it was pulling out of Mesa.
Trustees at Benedictine University refused to let the monks who founded the university participate in a recent presidential search. Monks are suing, saying they're being improperly shut out of university affairs.
A new report from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics shows that the proportion of adults with a work credential typically increases with educational attainment, excluding those adults with a doctoral degree. The figures range from 6 percent for adults with a high school diploma having a work credential to 68 percent for people with a professional degree.
Over half of credentialed adults -- 53 percent -- have less than a bachelor's degree.
Work credentials are often used as an alternative or supplement to education credentials like diplomas and degrees. The credentials include occupational licenses and certifications. The most common work credentials are obtained in health care, education and the trades, according to the report.
A new report from ACT and the Council for Opportunity in Education found that the vast majority of first-generation students who take ACT's college entrance exam plan to attend college, but about half of them are academically unprepared to succeed.
The report found 52 percent of ACT-tested first-generation college students in the 2014 high school graduating class failed to meet the four college readiness benchmarks set by the nonprofit testing organization. Overall 31 percent of all ACT-tested graduates failed to meet benchmarks in English, math, reading and science. More than 9 in 10 first-generation students who took the ACT said they plan to attend college.
"The upside of these findings is that as more first-generation students take the ACT, their access and exposure to the college admissions process is increasing," said Jim Larimore, ACT's chief officer for the advancement of underserved learners, in a news release. "But our research also shows that students' likelihood of enrolling in college right after high school increases based on the number of readiness benchmarks they meet."
The minimum scores students must earn on each of the ACT's four subject tests indicate that students have about a 75 percent change of earning a grade of C or higher in a typical credit-bearing, first-year college course in the corresponding area.
Speaking at the Campus Safety Nation Forum on Thursday, Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, urged college law enforcement officers to more speedily and thoroughly collect evidence and interview witnesses when investigating claims of campus sexual assault. "That is where the truth reveals itself," McCaskill, a former sex crimes prosecutor, said. "Witnesses corroborate or they show lies. Evidence corroborates or it shows lies. And this can't be done weeks later or even months or years later."
McCaskill described Florida State University's handling of sexual assault allegations against former star quarterback Jameis Winston as "terribly unfair" to both the accuser and the accused, in part because the university waited so long to conduct an investigation. The alleged victim reported the assault three hours after she said it occurred. The first witness, McCaskill said, wasn't interviewed until 342 days later. The campus hearing did not take place until two years after the allegations were made.
Treating all claims of campus sexual assault as worthy of a thorough investigation, McCaskill said, could help later clarify who is telling the truth in "he said, she said" types of hearings. "All of these cases deserve to be investigated one way or another," she said.
The College of Charleston has been receiving scrutiny in recent days as its president has pointedly not joined other higher education leaders in calling for South Carolina to stop flying the Confederate flag on the State House grounds. On Wednesday, the board of the college announced it was endorsing such a change. On the college's website, President Glenn F. McConnell announced the vote and provided the board resolutions. But McConnell didn't indicate his position on the issue. On Monday, McConnell said via a spokesperson that it was “not appropriate to talk about the issue until after the families had a chance to mourn their losses and hold funerals for their loved ones.”