Quick Takes: 10 Indicted in Cash-for-Grades Scheme, Scrutiny for Lender, Athletics Spending Questioned, Mugabe Loses Degree, Israel Renews Science Ties to Europe

July 17, 2007
  • The Manhattan district attorney on Monday announced the indictments of 10 people -- including the former admissions director and computer center director at Touro College -- in a "cash for grades" scheme to produce fraudulent transcripts. In some cases, the allegations involved students accused of bribing the officials to change grades; in other cases, people not enrolled at Touro are alleged to have purchased transcripts for programs in which they were never enrolled. Touro officials have said that they are cooperating fully and also looking for any additional cases of fraud. Those indicted could not be reached.
  • The Internal Revenue Service is reviewing EduCap, a major player in providing private loans to students -- in many cases with interest rates that aid experts would urge students to avoid, The Washington Post reported. EduCap is a nonprofit entity, but many of its critics question why it is eligible for that status when it makes enough money to be buying a Gulfstream jet for its founder.
  • Moody's Investors Service released a report Monday cautioning that spending on Division I athletics may or may not have a positive financial impact. While a "carefully managed, successful" program can have "a positive credit impact," the analysts warned that "most athletics programs typically require institutional subsidy from their universities in order to balance operations, making it difficult to determine over the long run if potential gains in institutional reputation are worth the financial outlay needed to support the programs." The report costs $550.
  • The University of Edinburgh, in Scotland, on Monday formally revoked an honorary degree it gave to Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, in 1984. Edinburgh is among several institutions that honored Mugabe in the early years of his rule, but where students and human rights groups have called for a new action in light of the dictatorship with which Mugabe runs his country. Edinburgh announced plans to withdraw the degree last month, but also said it would give Mugabe an opportunity to respond before any final action was taken. A spokesman for the university said via e-mail that the university received no response from Mugabe, and so withdrew the degree.
  • Israel and the European Union have renewed their science ties, meaning that Israel will contribute to an overall research fund and Israeli scientists will be eligible for grants from it. The renewal is seen as important in Israel as a sign that calls for a boycott of Israeli academe -- especially strong in Britain -- are not being adopted.
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