Quick Takes: Foundation Reveals Secret Scholarships, Education Statistics, Sallie Mae Buys Upromise, Fraudulent Grant Applications, More Scrutiny for Career Education, Biblical Literacy Urged, Who Should Run Oxford?

June 2, 2006
  • The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has been supporting 35 students in its "Young Scholars" program for five years now, but only revealed the program on Thursday. The students, currently graduating from high school, were picked as among the brightest low-income eighth graders. They were provided with a range of advice and educational enhancements for five years -- and that help will continue through college. The first group of students includes some who will make up this fall's freshman class at Harvard, Yale and Duke Universities. Foundation officials said that they had kept the program secret to protect the students' privacy.
  • The Education Department on Thursday released "The Condition of Education 2006," this year's version of an annual compilation of statistics on a range of issues at all levels of education. The report provides the latest data on enrollment trends, most of them consistent with previous projections about enrollment increases and about the growing gender gap in which more women than men enroll.
  • Sallie Mae announced Thursday that it is purchasing Upromise, a company that allows customers to earn contributions for college savings accounts by buying products or services from participating companies. Sallie Mae is the dominant company in student lending. More than 7 million people have created Upromise accounts. The companies did not disclose the purchase price.
  • The University of Wisconsin at Madison has found that three grant applications from a professor who quit this year were based in part on fabricated data, The Wisconsin State Journal reported. The newspaper reported that the professor admitted some of the fabrication, but denied other charges.
  • Career Education Corporation's rollercoaster ride continues. Company officials announced Thursday that the U.S. Justice Department had advised them that the agency was investigating charges that some of its schools had submitted false claims to the government, and requested information about job placement rates and compensation paid to recruiters. In addition, Jeffrey Silber, a financial analyst at Harris Nesbitt, cited an article from Bloomberg saying that Education Department scrutiny of Career Education has actually increased, rather than diminished as the company suggested in a statement last week.
  • English professors think college students need more knowledge of the Bible, according to a report issued by the John Templeton Foundation, which promotes the inclusion of religious topics in academe.
  • John Hood, who leads the central administration of the University of Oxford, issued a "white paper" Thursday that calls for more centralization of power in a council that would be much like the boards of colleges in the United States, where outside business leaders and others have ultimate control over governance. Many Oxford professors have opposed Hood's plans. The Guardian reported that the latest version contained concessions to the dons, but that opposition remained strong, with many seeing the proposed changes as a shift away from academic control of the institution.
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