Quick Takes: Higher Ed Price Index, Eastern Mich. Faulted on Murder, Assault by Coach Alleged, Gun Tragedy, No Overcharging Found on Grants, No SEC Charges Against Apollo, Lombardi May Move to LSU, Part-Timers' Raises, Transfer Policies, European Goals

July 5, 2007
  • The Higher Education Price Index increased by 3.4 percent this year, down from the previous year's increase of 5.0 percent, according to data released by the Commonfund Institute. Utility costs at colleges and universities, which have been rising sharply, fell during the last year, according to the report. The idea behind the price index is that colleges' cost increases (or decreases) are not necessarily reflected by national inflation rates, but some experts -- particularly critics of college costs -- have questioned the concept and said that it is used to justify tuition increases.
  • Eastern Michigan University violated federal law when it failed to tell students about a murder on campus, according to a draft report by the U.S. Department of Education, released by the university on Friday. The university also released a statement pledging to study the report in detail, but holding off on a response until then.
  • A women's basketball player is suing Trinity International University, in Illinois, charging that it punished her for reporting a sexual assault by her then coach, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. According to the suit, when the university found out about the coach's attention to her, she was told to write a statement that her relationship with him was consensual and she was to perform community service for violating university rules by having a relationship with him. A spokesman for the university declined to comment on the suit and said that the coach had only been employed for a short period.
  • A student at Kettering University, in Michigan, accidentally shot and killed a fraternity brother who was his close friend, The Detroit News reported. The shooter was playing with the loaded gun, which belonged to another fraternity brother.
  • The inspector general of the National Institutes of Health concluded in a report released Tuesday that universities did not overcharge the government in compensating graduate assistants who worked on research grants from the agency. The report came in response to allegations by two Congressmen that the University of California at Davis might have overpaid some graduate students using government funds. But the report concludes: "Universities and colleges limited graduate student compensation charges to the amount paid to a first-year, postdoctoral scientist performing comparable work at the same institution and to the National Research Service Award stipend in effect when NIH awarded the grants."
  • The Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, announced Tuesday that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had completed an investigation of the company and informed Apollo that no enforcement action would be taken. Apollo was among a number of companies being investigated for the way stock options were awarded.
  • John V. Lombardi, the outgoing chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, is the leading candidate to become president of the Louisiana State University System, and could be named to that position on Friday, The Baton Rouge Advocate reported. Lombardi is leaving UMass amid a governance overhaul he did not want, and that his faculty opposes. At UMass and at the University of Florida, where he previously served as president, Lombardi was a strong advocate for improving the quality of academic programs and for marshaling resources for the flagship. But in both states, he clashed with system officials (Lombardi is a blogger for Inside Higher Ed.)
  • A Washington State judge last week approved a settlement that will provide raises and back pay for part-time instructors at the University of Washington, The Seattle Times reported. The agreement was first announced in May and details are available on the University of Washington Web site.
  • Southern states have made substantial progress in adopting policies to make it easier for students to transfer from two-year to four-year institutions, but more progress remains to be made, according to a new report from the Southern Regional Education Board.
  • The French government on Tuesday announced plans to spend more than 5 billion euros ($6.8 billion) by 2012 to improve universities with a focus on their research capacity, The Financial Times reported. In Britain, meanwhile, Alison Richard, who is the head of the University of Cambridge, was warning Parliament that British excellence in higher education is in danger, in part because of too much emphasis on increasing enrollment as opposed to improving quality, the BBC reported.
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