Illinois Governor Vetoes Bill With Funds for Higher Ed

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, on Friday vetoed a bill that would have provided $721 million for community colleges and for the state scholarship program for low-income students, The Chicago Tribune reported. Public colleges and the state student aid program, which also helps students at private colleges, have not received state funds since July because of the failure of legislators and the governor to agree on a budget plan. The bill Rauner vetoed was intended to help community colleges and low-income students while efforts to adopt a state budget continue. Many colleges whose students have state grants (which were theoretically awarded but haven't been paid) have been covering the missing funds, but that is becoming increasingly difficult for some of them.

$750M Settlement for Carnegie Mellon in Patent Suit

Marvell Technology Group has agreed to pay Carnegie Mellon University $750 million to settle a patent lawsuit the university filed against the company in 2009, the university announced. A federal appeals court in August partially vacated a judge's earlier ruling that Marvell pay Carnegie Mellon $1.169 billion for willfully infringing two patents for a chip technology.

The university said it would probably receive about $250 million after the two researchers who developed the technology receive their share of the proceeds and legal expenses are paid. A "broad consensus" exists that much of that money should be used to make the university more affordable to students, said the university's president, Subra Suresh.

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Alabama Universities Defend Earmarks

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, a Republican, is facing four challengers in the GOP primary, and all are criticizing his earmarks to Alabama universities, reported. The article explores how the universities say the earmarks improved programs -- and led to naming buildings for Shelby.

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La. freezes payments to state grant program; colleges to pick up slack

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Louisiana won't fund its merit-based scholarship program for the rest of this academic year, requiring universities to make up the difference.

University of Akron, a struggling regional, hopes to expand worldwide

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University is struggling. At home, many are skeptical of President Scott Scarborough's plan to turn it around by expanding its reach.

New America's Plan for Higher Education Financing

In most states, public funding for higher education has not recovered in the wake of the last recession. And odds are that state disinvestment will get worse after the next economic downturn, according to New America. That, in turn, means more picking up slack by the federal government.

The think tank this week proposed a broad set of fixes to what it says is an "irreparably broken" financial and regulatory bargain between the federal government, states and colleges. New America's report, dubbed "Starting From Scratch," described the group's plan to change the current federal higher education funding structure from behaving like a voucher program, where aid follows students, to one based on formula-funded grants. It would eliminate federal student aid programs and replace them with grants to states.

To participate and receive federal funding, states would have to agree to maintain their higher education funding levels, to provide a 25 percent match for the federal grant and to play a more "active role" in holding colleges accountable for their performance. All types of colleges -- public, private and for-profit -- could participate. To receive grant money, institutions would need to have enrollments with at least 25 percent of students being low income, to meet student financial needs and to adhere to performance standards, such as graduation rates and labor-market outcomes for students.

"Imagine a world where all student financial need is met. There are no federal loans, no Pell Grants and no higher education tax credits," the report said. "Instead, states receive formula funds for colleges that enroll a substantial share of low-income students and serve all students well."

Some of the group's ideas only work in the context of the full plan, said Kevin Carey, who directs the education policy program at New America. Yet the funding structure of higher education has become a hot-ticket issue, he said. Presidential candidates, for example, are talking about their own ambitious plans -- like free college on the Democratic side. The plan would cost about $39 billion annually in additional federal funding, compared to current spending levels. That's a similar amount to the cost of the higher education plan proposed by Hillary Clinton.

"This is a proposal that's very much in the mainstream in 2016," Carey said.

Study: When Colleges Fall in Rankings, Tuition Goes Up

When colleges move down in the rankings, they respond by raising tuition, according to a new study.

Using data from U.S. News & World Report rankings between 2005 and 2012, researchers found that colleges are likely to set tuition higher after a sharp decline in status -- especially if their rivals are already charging higher tuition, and if they appeal widely to prospective students.

In higher education, status is a primary organizational goal, the authors write. For many universities, the higher price is strategic. Instead of reflecting the value of the institution, the price may be intended to send a message about the status a university aspires to.

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Layoffs and Furloughs at Eastern Illinois U

Eastern Illinois University on Monday announced the layoffs of 198 civil service employees, the Associated Press reported. The move is the latest in efforts by public colleges and universities to deal with the failure of the state to adopt a budget and provide funds. Others who work at Eastern Illinois will face one furlough day a week. If the university starts to receive state funds by March 12, the layoffs will be rescinded.

Kentucky State President Warns of Impact of Cuts

Raymond Burse, president of Kentucky State University, warned in a letter to students, faculty members and alumni that budget cuts being proposed by Governor Matt Bevin, a Republican, could force the historically black college to close, reported. The governor wants a 4.5 percent cut in the current fiscal year, followed by a 9 percent cut over the following two years. With enrollment falling, the university can't absorb such reductions, Burse said.

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Chicago State U Declares Financial Exigency

Chicago State University on Thursday declared that it was in a state of financial exigency due to the state failing to adopt a budget and provide funds, The Chicago Tribune reported. All public colleges and universities in the state have been voicing concerns about the impact of the state's inaction, but Chicago State has been warning that it may run out of money by next month. A state of financial exigency, under guidelines of the American Association of University Professors, means that a college's financial condition is so dire as to justify speedier elimination of faculty jobs, including tenured faculty jobs.


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