Quick Takes: Miami Fires Football Coach, Fees Drop for State Savings Plans, What They Learn in High School, 'Prenups' for Donors, Campaign Contributions by Academics, U. of Vt. Suspends Mexico Program, Laureate in Turkey, Bok Skips Presidential Pay

November 27, 2006
  • After a season that included a nationally televised brawl by some of his players and the murder of a player, the football coach at the University of Miami was fired Friday. Donna E. Shalala, president of the university, said in a statement that "we have suffered disappointments off and on the field" and "we can and will do better." She also praised Larry Coker, the fired coach, for "devotion to each and every student athlete." The Miami Herald reported that Coker will receive close to $3 million to buy out his contract and that his losses, as much as the controversies, led to his dismissal. The Hurricanes finished their season with a 6-6 record this year.
  • The financial companies that manage state college-savings plans for families are reducing their fees, in part because of increased regulatory scrutiny, USA Today  reported. The article noted fee drops by American Century, Fidelity, TIAA-CREF, T. Rowe Price and Vanguard.
  • The National Center for Education Statistics on Wednesday released its latest report on the courses students take in high school. Among the findings: About 30 percent of those who graduated in 2004 took at least one Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate course. Only 14 percent finished calculus in high school and 5 percent did not advance beyond pre-algebra
  • In the wake of some publicized cases of donors withdrawing pledged gifts to colleges and other nonprofit groups, more charitable organizations are pushing donors to sign legal documents related to their pledges, sort of like "prenups," The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • Employees of the University of California collectively were the largest academic donor group in the 2006 Congressional election cycle, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, with 87 percent of the $406,290 going to Democrats. Harvard University employees were next, with 90 percent of their $314,917 going to Democrats. Most of the top 20 academic employers of campaign donors had left-leaning contributors, but that wasn't always the case. Among for-profit employers, the opposite was true, with Apollo Group seeing 59 percent of its funds go to Republicans and Corinthian Colleges seeing 70 percent of its employee donations go to the GOP. Two public universities in the top 20 also had more employee donations to the Republicans: the University of Arizona and the State University of New York.
  • The University of Vermont has called off a study abroad program in Oaxaca, citing concerns about civil unrest in the Mexican city, the Associated Press reported.
  • Laureate Education Inc., an American company involved in higher education around the world, has announced its first partnership with a university in Turkey. Under the arrangement, Laureate will invest in a new company, which will provide some educational services to Istanbul Bilgi University, a nonprofit institution with 9,000 students.
  • Derek Bok came out of retirement to serve as acting president of Harvard University, and he's not taking a salary for it, The Boston Globe reported. "I have a nice retirement income, and that's really all I need," he told the newspaper.
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