institutionalfinance

Hatch: Endowments Will Be Part of Tax Review

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, the Republican chairman of the Senate Finance committee, said this week that university endowments would be part of a planned review of the tax code.

The tax-exempt status of mega endowments at elite colleges has come under repeated congressional scrutiny since 2015, and Republicans have proposed legislation to force institutions with large endowments to provide more tuition relief to students. In apparent preparation for a renewed push on endowments, several colleges and universities have added endowment issues to their federal agendas in lobbying disclosure forms.

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University System of Georgia announces new administrative review

As consolidation efforts continue, the public university system sets its sights on assessing campus and systemwide administrative costs and performance.

Louisiana Lawmaker Opposes University Beers

Controversy is brewing in Louisiana after a state legislator took exception to public universities designating “official” beers.

Now, Democratic Representative Cedric Glover has introduced legislation that would prevent public universities in the state from licensing official alcoholic beverages. His bill would also ban the two universities that prompted his action, Louisiana State University and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, from renewing current contracts they have with local breweries when those contracts expire.

LSU has a deal for Bayou Bengal Lager, made by Tin Roof Brewing Co., located about a mile away from its campus in Baton Rouge. UL Lafayette has one for Ragin’ Cajuns Genuine Louisiana Ale, produced by Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville, which is located about 20 miles to the north of its campus.

The practice of colleges and universities officially licensing alcoholic beverages is controversial, given that binge drinking and underage drinking are major issues on college campuses, where many students are below the legal drinking age of 21. But supporters of licensing adult beverages contend that it allows colleges and universities to tap a valuable revenue source at a time when state governments are pulling back from public funding -- Louisiana officials are considering cutting LSU’s state appropriation for the 17th time in nine years. Some have also argued that the beers licensed to Louisiana’s universities have flavor profiles that appeal to older drinkers instead of college students.

Glover is stout in his stance against the licensing practice.

“Deep in my heart, I just know it’s wrong for us as a state to allow a public university to put our official stamp of approval on an alcoholic beverage,” Glover told The Advocate of Baton Rouge.

But LSU President King Alexander said the university licenses many products. He said they should be able to include a beer from a local business that started in the university’s business incubator and now pays the university 15 percent of the proceeds from a licensed product it sells.

“It’s nonsense. Glover likes to throw stones,” Alexander said, according to The Advocate. “He’s never been a fan of LSU.”

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N.M. Governor Vetoes All Higher Education Funding

New Mexico's governor has vetoed all public higher education funding in a standoff with the state's Legislature over tax increases and spending, The Washington Post reported.

The move by Governor Susana Martinez, a Republican, to eliminate $745 million in planned state contributions to the state's colleges and universities appears to be a game of chicken, where one side will blink eventually. But it's unclear how the situation will resolve or how much damage New Mexico's institutions may sustain during the fracas. The fiscal year in question begins in July.

Higher education leaders at the state's seven public four-year universities last week wrote to Martinez to urge her to reinstate the funding, the Albuquerque Journal reported. They said the financial instability could hurt students, faculty, economic development and the universities' accreditation status.

“The message the veto sent to our 133,505 registered students and their families, while unintended, leaves them confused and wondering whether they should enroll in a New Mexico college, whether they’ll be able to finish their degree or whether they’ll be able to graduate," they wrote. "While we are trying to calm their fears, there is concern that many of our state’s brightest students will move to other states to pursue their higher education."

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design to Close

Days after negotiations over a possible sale collapsed, the board of Santa Fe University of Art and Design announced Wednesday that it would cease operations after the 2017-18 academic year. The regionally accredited for-profit university, which is affiliated with but not owned by Laureate Education, had been in discussions with Singapore-based Raffles Education Corp. about a possible purchase. Regulatory hurdles reportedly held up that deal.

In its statement, the Santa Fe University Board of Directors said that it would continue to explore "viable options for the future" of the institution, collaborating with city officials in the New Mexico enclave to "further the educational and arts mission of the campus." In the meantime, though, citing students' need for clarity about its future, the board said "significant ongoing financial challenges" led to its conclusion that the "university cannot continue to operate" after next academic year. The university plans to help students transfer and to teach-out those who are within reach of graduating by next spring.

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TICAS President to Step Down

Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access and Success, said Tuesday she will step down as head of the organization after June.

Asher has spent 12 years at the nonprofit organization, serving as president since 2009, when the TICAS board named her to replace Bob Shireman.

She said the group had grown "from a scrappy start-up to a central voice" on issues such as student loan and financial aid policy and access to college.

"I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished together and the organization TICAS has become," she said in a message announcing her departure. "And our student-centered, data-driven and outcomes-oriented approach to financial aid policy and practice is needed now more than ever. I know TICAS will continue to have a major impact: fighting to make education and training more affordable and successful, not less, and standing up for the most economically vulnerable students and borrowers."

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Medicaid funding changes pressure state higher ed funding

Experts worry drawdown of federal funding for Medicaid expansion puts pressure on public higher ed funding.

DeVos to Meet With Higher Ed Groups Wednesday

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will meet Wednesday with the presidents of four higher ed associations, according to her public schedule. Only one, Molly Corbett Broad of the American Council on Education, represents both public and private institutions.

The others are Shirley Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities; David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; and Michael Galligan-Stierle, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

DeVos in February met with Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, along with 11 presidents of four-year, public universities. She also met with leaders of historically black colleges and universities that month.

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Kean Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit for $375K

Kean University has settled an age discrimination lawsuit filed by one of its former administrators, NJ.com reported. The New Jersey institution did not admit any wrongdoing in the suit but agreed to fork out $375,000 in the settlement.

William DeGarcia filed the age discrimination lawsuit after Kean overlooked him for a promotion in January 2013 and instead offered the position to a less experienced woman under the age of 40. In the suit, DeGarcia, who was 55 at the time, said the university was looking for “new blood.”

DeGarcia had held multiple positions at the university, including three years as interim director of the Exceptional Educational Opportunities and Educational Opportunity Fund Program. His contributions as director were noticed by Governor Chris Christie and Senator Robert Menendez.

Kean settled the suit in December for $375,000, with $260,000 to be paid directly to DeGarcia.

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Oregon Cuts 21 Non-Tenure-Track Instructors

The University of Oregon announced Thursday that it is eliminating the positions of 21 non-tenure-track instructors, and 10 staff members, The Register-Guard reported. Most of the cuts are in foreign languages and other humanities programs. Officials said that the cuts would stabilize the budget of the College of Arts and Sciences.

 

 

 

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