Quick Takes: AAU Releases Principles on Loans, Congress Presses Education Dept. on Oversight, Community Colleges on California Ballot, New Adjunct Union, Violent Attacks on Education in Iraq, NCAA Bars Texting of Recruits

April 27, 2007
  • The Association of American Universities on Thursday issued a "statement of principles" on student loans, designed to respond to the growing scandal over allegations that some institutions encourage borrowing from lenders that provide certain payments to colleges or aid officials. The principles state that the "first priority" of institutions must be "the best interests of student borrowers." Specifically, the guidelines state that colleges should be sure that their arrangements with lenders do not raise questions about the integrity of their decisions, that students not be penalized for borrowing from a lender not recommended by the college, and that institutions disclose the criteria used to select recommended lenders.
  • Congressional Democrats continued to turn the heat up on the U.S. Education Department over its student loan oversight Thursday, as Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) asked the department's inspector general to undertake an independent investigation into possible conflicts of interest involving department officials with responsibility for the loan programs. Miller's request came a day after his counterpart as head of the Senate's education committee, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), asked Secretary Margaret Spellings for "complete personnel files, including financial disclosure forms," for 27 department employees. Kennedy said his request was prompted by concerns about a department official's ownership of stock in a student loan company.
  • A major community college referendum has qualified for placement on California's February 2008 ballot. The measure would change the funding formulas for community colleges to reflect enrollment growth, while also cutting and limiting tuition rates. The San Francisco Chronicle noted some concern from the California State University System that such pledges for the community college system could have an adverse affect on the rest of higher education.
  • Adjunct faculty members at Rhode Island College have voted 156-3 to organize as a union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. The AFT already represents full-time faculty members at the college.
  • Educators in Iraq and other violence-plagued countries are increasingly the subject of violent attacks, according to a report being released today by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Universities in Baghdad are reporting enrollment drops of 40 to 67 percent, the report said, and more than 3,000 academics have left the country.
  • The Division I Board of Directors of the National Collegiate Athletic Association has voted to ban text-messaging between coaches and recruits. A student advisory group told NACC leaders that text-messaging had become "instusive" and "overused."
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