Salem State, Montserrat College of Art Rule Out Merger

After months of discussions of a possible merger, Salem State University and Montserrat College of Art announced Tuesday that they will remain independent. “Montserrat College of Art is an exceptional, small art college with an outstanding faculty and programs that Salem State would have been pleased to add to its curriculum, but the numbers just didn’t work at this time,” said a statement from Salem State's president, Patricia Maguire Meservey.

S&P: Negative Outlooks Outnumber Positive Ones

Standard & Poor's Rating Services released its annual reports on median ratios for public and nonprofit private institutions this week. The rating agency found that of the 163 public institutions it rates, the number with negative outlooks (10 percent) is more than the number of institutions with positive outlooks (7 percent), a trend continuing from last year. Meanwhile, 81 percent of all rated public institutions have stable outlooks.

Among the 263 private institutions the agency rates, the number of institutions with negative outlooks (11 percent) is more than double the number of institutions with positive outlooks (5 percent).

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U of Akron Will Eliminate 215 Jobs and Baseball Team

The University of Akron on Friday announced a three-year plan to save $60 million. The plan includes the elimination of 215 jobs (none of them faculty positions). In addition, the baseball team will be cut. Northeast Ohio Media Group reported that many students are outraged by the cuts, and that campaigns have been launched to reverse some of the cuts, especially of the baseball team.

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$60M Gift to U of Michigan for Entrepreneurial Education

The University of Michigan today announced a $60 million gift to support entrepreneurial education efforts at its business school. The gift, from the Zell Family Foundation, will support the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and also create a $10 million fund to invest in student businesses.

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U of Wisconsin Board Approves Deep Cuts

The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents on Thursday approved a budget based on a $125 million cut in state funds to the system over the next year, The Wisconsin State Journal reported. Legislators and Governor Scott Walker, a Republican, have already approved a budget plan that cuts $250 million over two years and also freezes in-state tuition rates. The largest cuts are planned for the flagship campus at Madison. Most board members said that they had no choice but to approve the cuts. But one, Charles Pruitt, voted against the budget, saying that he wanted to express “profound disagreement” with state legislators who voted for the cuts in the state budget.

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Moody's Considers Change in Rating Methodology

Moody's is considering changing the approach it uses to rate the financial health of more than 500 colleges and universities. The investors' service put out a call for comments on potential methodology changes on Wednesday.

If changes occur as proposed, Moody's predicts an updated formula will affect the ratings of about 5 percent of the postsecondary institutions it rates. The proposed changes include a scorecard that rates institutions based on their market profile, operating performance, wealth and liquidity, and the strength and diversity of their funding sources as well as their risk appetite.

Moody's rates 230 four-year public universities and university systems in the U.S., 275 nonprofit private colleges and universities, and 21 universities outside of the U.S. Combined, these organizations had approximately $235 billion of debt outstanding as of the end of the 2014 fiscal year.

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Study: Federal Loans Drive Up Private College Tuition

The availability of subsidized federal student loans play a role in increasing tuition, particularly at less-selective private nonprofit colleges with relatively affluent student bodies and for-profit colleges, a study by researchers for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York finds. The study adds to a body of studies -- frequently challenged by higher education leaders and some economists -- suggesting that federal financial aid contributes to tuition increases by easing constraints on students and families.

Moody's reports portray stabilizing higher ed finance picture

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Moody's reports find fiscal stress generally moderating for higher education institutions in 2014, but 1 in 5 colleges remain vulnerable. The have/have-not gap widens.

32 Layoffs at Point Park U

Point Park University is laying off 32 employees, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. Officials did not provide details on what they called a “strategic reorganization” that “better invests and aligns resources to support the evolving needs of students.”

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Survey finds higher expenses for colleges and employees on health benefits

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Survey on health benefits finds expenses going up for colleges, some of which are passing them on to employees. Another key finding is expansion of partner benefits.


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