institutionalfinance

Colorado-Boulder Ending Course Fees

The University of Colorado Boulder will eliminate course-related fees starting in the fall of 2018, Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano said Tuesday, announcing the move a year after the university started a tuition guarantee program locking many charges for in-state students over four years.

Students currently pay tuition, mandatory fees for services and course-related fees for certain classes. They will continue to pay tuition and mandatory fees, but the university is ending the practice of charging extra course-related fees.

CU Boulder currently has more than 60 course and program fees ranging from $1 per credit hour for German and Slavic languages to $1,255 per semester for its graduate clinical Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences program. The fees generate $8.4 million per year.

Charging course fees and allocating them to specific colleges and schools had grown complicated from an accounting standpoint, administrators said. They pledged that continuing students will not experience a tuition increase under their guarantees for four-year undergraduates.

The university started its tuition guarantee, which locks tuition and mandatory fees for four-years for in-state freshman, last year. It started a similar program for out-of-state students in 2005.

DiStefano said the university is trying to offer more cost transparency so that students can graduate with less debt. He also announced efforts to increase scholarships and reduce textbook costs.

Ad keywords: 
Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Disable left side advertisement?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Notre Dame de Namur Professors Say University Is Withholding Overload Pay

Faculty members at Notre Dame de Namur University field 15 wage claims against the institution with the California Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement, saying the university is keeping their overload pay from them. The professors say that Notre Dame de Namur has abruptly decided to withhold overload pay, or compensation for extra courses taught, until the end of the year, in violation of a state labor law saying that work must be paid as it is performed. 

“The university’s solution to its financial challenges is to dump ever more work for the same pay on faculty’s plates,” Jean Nyland, a professor of psychology, said in a statement Monday. “There’s a limit to how much faculty can be expected to sacrifice before student learning suffers. Delaying payment for our work means we are essentially loaning the university money for the year.”

Professors, including tenure-track and tenured professors, at Notre Dame de Namur are part of a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union. Nationwide, few tenure-line faculty members on private campuses are unionized, due to a longstanding legal precedent saying they are managers and therefore exempt from collective bargaining.

John Allen Lemmon, interim provost, said in a statement that the university and its faculty union are in the early stages of their new collective bargaining relationship. In the area of overload pay, he said, “We have made constructive compromise that I believe will lead to continued progress in this new venture.”

He did not elaborate.

Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Disable left side advertisement?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

BU and Wheelock Reach Merger Agreement

Wheelock College will merge into Boston University in June under an agreement announced Wednesday, bringing together the two institutions with campuses separated by about a mile.

All of Wheelock's assets and liabilities will be transferred to BU on June 1, 2018, provided regulators approve. The agreement comes several weeks after the two institutions announced in August that they had started merger talks. Wheelock, by far the smaller of the two institutions, was seeking a merger partner as it faced enrollment and financial challenges.

A new school of education, the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, will be created by the merger as BU's School of Education is combined with Wheelock's School of Education, Child Life and Family Studies. Income from Wheelock's endowment will go toward the new college.

Current Wheelock students in good standing will be able to finish their academic programs at BU. They will become students in existing BU programs, continue to study in Wheelock programs being incorporated into BU or enroll in transitional programs in which they will finish their Wheelock courses of study.

Tuition for current Wheelock students will remain at Wheelock levels but will be subject to annual percentage increases applied to BU students. Financial aid packages guaranteed by Wheelock will not be changed. All students seeking admission after the merger's completion will be subject to BU admissions requirements and tuition.

The two institutions have agreed on a process for transferring tenured Wheelock faculty members to positions at BU. Non-tenured Wheelock faculty will be considered individually for positions at BU based on program need, and Wheelock staff will be considered for positions at BU.

As soon as the merger is completed, Wheelock's campus will be used for BU academic programs.

“There is a great deal of work to be done,” Robert A. Brown, BU president, said, according to BU Today. “That work will include some difficult decisions about the scope and organization of the combined college and the integration of other programs of Wheelock College into Boston University; however, we are confident that the results will be worth the effort.”

David Chard, the president of Wheelock, will become interim dean of the new Wheelock College of Education and Human Development starting June. 1. He will be appointed to that position for at least two years.

“I believe this merger is our strongest option for preserving the mission of Wheelock College and the legacy of Lucy Wheelock long into the future, and I am pleased that we have reached this milestone,” Chard said in a statement. “President Brown and I have discussed our intent to support Wheelock students and alumni during this transition and welcome them as part of the Boston University community.”

Ad keywords: 
Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Disable left side advertisement?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Westminster Faculty Unhappy With Sale Details

Faculty members at Westminster Choir College are balking after they say they learned a proposed buyer of the college is in fact a for-profit company running K-12 schools in Asia that has no higher education experience. 

Rider University is seeking to sell Westminster as it faces budget difficulties, announcing in August that it had found a possible international buyer that would keep the choir college on its beloved campus in Princeton, N.J. But the university has not shared the name of that buyer. 

Westminster faculty are now demanding to know its identity. They also want to participate in decisions about the college's future. They worry that the choir college is accredited through Rider and would have to earn its own accreditation on a short timeline if sold. They plan a teach-in on Monday as a demonstration of solidarity. 

Rider faces a lawsuit from alumni, students, parents and former trustees arguing that Rider violated a merger agreement that brought Westminster into the university in the early 1990s. 

“We were asked to trust that [Rider] President [Gregory] Dell’Omo has Westminster’s best interest in mind,” said Joel Phillips, a Westminster professor, in a statement. “But how can we trust someone who's already violated his legal and moral obligation of stewardship by selling Westminster in the first place?” 

Rider cannot disclose specific details about the buyer "for reasons of confidentiality" and to allow the process to progress with integrity, according to a university spokeswoman, Kristine Brown. 

"It is dispiriting that certain individuals and parties are working to undermine the goal of successfully transitioning the college to a new partner committed to keeping the institution in Princeton as a world-class choir college and investing in its future," she said in a statement. "Actions contrary to this goal are harmful, and could potentially prevent achieving the objective of a strong and secure future for Westminster." 

Ad keywords: 
Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Disable left side advertisement?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

UNC to proceed with capital campaign launch, despite looming NCAA report

Could there be a worse day to be punished for athletic improprieties than the day you are announcing a mammoth fund-raising campaign? UNC almost found out.

Accreditor Wants Answers From Marygrove

The Higher Learning Commission has issued a show-cause order to Marygrove College in Detroit because of financial issues and the college’s plans to end its undergraduate program.

The order means HLC has determined Marygrove does not meet criteria for accreditation and is now asking the college to demonstrate why its accreditation should not be withdrawn. It comes after Marygrove announced in August that it plans to shut down its undergraduate programs and only offer master’s degree programs as of January. Budget shortfalls and dropping enrollment led to the move, college leaders said at the time.

But HLC outlined several areas in which it concluded the college does not meet accreditation criteria, laying its concerns out in an Oct. 2 letter and in a public disclosure effective as of Sept. 25. Those areas include mission, the way the college represents itself to students and the public, governing board autonomy, sufficient faculty and staff levels, retention and completion, the college’s resource base, governance and planning. HLC also flagged several other areas of concern.

“The college’s current approved mission, which describes a liberal arts college significantly focused on undergraduate education, is no longer guiding its current operations, and the impact of changes planned at the college on the mission is not broadly understood,” said the top bulleted point in the Oct. 2 letter, which was signed by Barbara Gellman-Danley, HLC president.

The college must file a report by Jan. 1 and host HLC reviewers on campus by February. In June, HLC will decide whether the show-cause order can be removed. Marygrove will remain accredited while the order is in effect.

Ad keywords: 
Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Disable left side advertisement?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

$140 Million Gift to 3 Private Universities in N.C.

Wake Forest University, Queens University of Charlotte and Wingate University will collectively receive more than $140 million under a wealthy donor’s bequest.

The three private universities in North Carolina will use the money for scholarships. About half of the gift, more than $70 million, will go to Wake Forest, the universities announced Monday. The remaining portion will be equally divided between Queens and Wingate, meaning each will receive over $35 million. The gifts are the largest made by an individual to each of the three universities.

Charlotte businessman and attorney Porter Byrum left the money to the universities. Byrum, who graduated from the Wake Forest University School of Law in 1942, served on the university's law Board of Visitors and served on the Board of Trustees at Wingate. He died in March at age 96.

His giving to the three universities now totals more than $235 million and includes a Charlotte shopping center. Several buildings on the universities' campuses bear his name, and Wingate’s school of business is also named after Byrum. (This paragraph has been updated to note that Byrum's giving to the universities, including his bequest, totals more than $235 million.)

Ad keywords: 
Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Disable left side advertisement?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Stevens Names Building After Gianforte Family

In June, Greg Gianforte pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge after he was accused of body slamming a reporter the night before the Republican won a House of Representatives seat in a Montana special election.

Now, Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. says it will no longer name a building directly for Gianforte, an alumnus who donated millions to its construction. The institute will instead name the building after the Gianforte family.

The institute’s first new academic building in over a decade had been slated to be named the Gianforte Academic Center after Greg Gianforte and his wife Susan gave $20 million toward the project through a charitable trust. But opponents criticized the name because of Greg Gianforte’s long history of controversial socially conservative views and actions, which includes funding a creationist museum in Montana, lobbying against an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance in Bozeman, Mont., and donating to organizations opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage.

Trustees appointed a committee to consider the building’s name in June. It was charged with evaluating feedback from various constituencies, including faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Trustees then decided this week that the building will be named the Gianforte Family Academic Center. Greg and Susan Gianforte agreed to the change.

“This name acknowledges the principal legacy of Mr. Gianforte from an institutional perspective as a successful technology entrepreneur and loyal and generous alumnus,” said a statement from trustees. “It also recognizes others in the Gianforte family including: Susan Gianforte, a Cornell engineer with an MBA from New York University, who has worked in partnership with Mr. Gianforte on RightNow Technologies and Brightwork Development Inc.; and Mr. Gianforte’s mother Dale and father Frank Gianforte ‘58, a mechanical engineer who worked in the aerospace industry before launching a career in real estate development and management.”

The president of the institute, Nariman Farvardin, praised the decision in another statement Thursday.

“I am extremely pleased that the Board of Trustees and Mr. Gianforte reached this alternative solution, as it demonstrates that both parties have kept the best interests of Stevens -- and, in particular, the best interests of our students and the education we deliver to them -- in mind in resolving an issue that has caused concern to members our campus,” he said “The Gianforte gifts will have a transformational impact for Stevens, providing support for our planned, state-of-the-art academic and research building scheduled to open in Fall 2019. This gift also comes to Stevens without any requirements or restrictions.  As a charitable organization, Stevens would never endorse or promote any political, religious, or other position by a donor or otherwise. Stevens’ only obligation in accepting this gift is to build the academic center.”

Ad keywords: 
Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Disable left side advertisement?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Report Looks at Mergers' Benefits and Costs

Mergers between colleges should be part of a long-term strategic plan and not driven solely by narrow goals like cost savings or growth for growth’s sake, according to a new report released Thursday by the TIAA Institute.

The report also looks at details needed for successful mergers. Its findings include the following:

  • The decision-making process around mergers is almost always costly and painful.
  • Mergers shouldn’t be considered only in difficult situations when institutions have low levels of resources or assets available.
  • Opportunities for financial savings, leveraging scale and re-energizing stakeholders exist with mergers.
  • Costs include branding, opportunity costs and the expenditures of political capital.
  • Costs are immediate in mergers, but gains are delayed.

Seven key elements for mergers are also listed: a compelling unifying vision, a committed and understanding governing body, the right leadership, an appropriate sense of urgency, a strong system of project management, a robust communication plan and sufficient dedicated resources.

The report comes at a time of high interest in merger-and-acquisition activity across the higher education spectrum. Several institutions have announced merger plans recently. Boston University and Wheelock College are in merger talks, they announced in August. In North Carolina, Piedmont International University and John Wesley University are planning a merger next year, they said this month.

Ad keywords: 
Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Disable left side advertisement?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

DeVos: Borrower-Defense Rule Offered ‘Free Money’

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's comments that Obama administration regulations written to protect student borrowers entitled anyone who sought relief to "free money" are drawing fire.

The so-called borrower-defense rule was set to take effect July 1. But DeVos in June said she would block the rule and pursue a rewrite through a bureaucratic process known as negotiated rule making.

Speaking at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference Friday, DeVos defended her actions and said the rule was "rushed" through without review by Congress, according to reporting on her remarks by The Detroit News. She also said the rule could have cost the federal government $17 billion -- a reference to estimated costs over 10 years. “While students should have protections from predatory practices, schools and taxpayers should also be treated fairly as well,” she said. “Under the previous rules, all one had to do was raise his or her hands to be entitled to so-called free money.”

Democratic attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia have sued DeVos, seeking to have the Obama-era rule enforced. Meanwhile, more than 65,000 borrower-defense claims made under previously existing regulations are pending review. But a Department of Education official told Democratic lawmakers in July that no claims had been reviewed since the beginning of the Trump administration.

Ben Miller, the senior director for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress, said the comments from the secretary showed an inability to express basic levels of empathy for suffering borrowers. "Even a cursory review of Obama policies on this matter would reveal a structured, lengthy process for forgiveness," he said.

Senator Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate education committee, said in a statement that it was telling that DeVos would blame students who were victims of fraud over for-profit colleges. "Secretary DeVos needs to stop listening to the for-profit and corporate executives she hired at the Department of Education and start providing the legally required relief to the students who have been cheated out of their education and savings," Murray said.

Is this diversity newsletter?: 
Disable left side advertisement?: 
Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - institutionalfinance
Back to Top