Quick Takes: Cap on Indirect Research Costs, Cal State Faulted on Executive Pay, Call to Improve Training of Principals, Wireless Improvements, Drug Assault With Cookies, Grants for Mainers at Colby, New International Model

  • U.S.
  • November 7, 2007
  • U.S. House and Senate lawmakers have reached agreement on a compromise 2008 spending bill for the Department of Defense that would bar the Pentagon from entering into contracts or providing grants with universities or other entities in which more than 35 percent of the total cost of the agreement goes to cover "indirect costs." Although the provision included in the compromise bill is less restrictive than language in the House-passed bill that would have set a cap on repayment of indirect or "overhead" costs at 20 percent of the value of the original grant -- which the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Pentagon opposed, as did higher education groups -- college officials remain steadfastly critical of the compromise measure. "We strongly oppose the imposition of an arbitrary cap on reimbursement of indirect costs," the Association of American Universities, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, and the Council on Governmental Relations said in a prepared statement Tuesday. "These are real and necessary costs of conducting research on behalf of the federal government, including construction and maintenance of facilities, administration, and other expenditures. If they are not paid by the government, then universities must find other sources of revenue to pay for them. Moreover, these costs are regularly negotiated and rigorously audited by the federal government. Universities are not being compensated for anything beyond the reimbursement of their actual costs. "
  • The California state auditor on Tuesday released a report calling for the California State University to tighten control over executive compensation. The system lacks effective monitoring procedures and a clearly justified methodology for determining some salaries, adding that some employees had received "questionable compensation." The system issued a statement noting that the audit did not identify violations of policy. However, the system also pledged to try to carry out the recommendations of the audit.
  • University programs to train principals need "tremendous improvement" in their recruitment of potential school leaders and the education that the universities provide, according to a report issued today by the Southern Regional Education Board.
  • A survey of attendees at the fall seminars of the Association for Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education found that all of them have wireless networks on their campuses, but most also are planning significant improvements. The survey said that 69 percent are planning improvements within six months, and another 18 percent are planning upgrades within a year. The most common complaint about systems in place now: spotty or incomplete coverage.
  • Two students at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville have been charged by authorities with assaulting a teenager -- by spanking him with a wooden paddle, pouring urine on him, and burning him with hot cookies taken straight from the oven -- to settle a drug debt, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Authorities said that they got $6 out of the captive.
  • Just a week after Williams College eliminated loans and Wesleyan University curbed their use, Colby College is taking another approach. Colby is replacing loans with grants in the financial aid packages of Maine residents. The average financial aid package for a Maine resident at the college is more than $30,000, with just under $3,000 in loans that in the future will be replaced with larger grants. In recent years, between 10 and 12 percent of Colby's students have come from the college's state.
  • Britain's University of Surrey has announced plans to develop a new approach to international education in which students seeking an undergraduate degree might spend only one year on the Surrey campus, while spending on year at a university in China, one at a university in the United States, and one working for a business. In a key step toward that plan, Surrey announced an arrangement with Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, in China, in which Surrey will award its degrees in China, along with joint Surrey-Dongbei degrees. A Surrey spokesman said that the university isn't ready to announce a partner in the United States.
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