Quick Takes: Aid at Cornell and Northwestern, Impact of Travel Ban, Campaign Issues, Cost of Campus Health Care, Climate Pledge Vetoed at LSU, States vs. Feds, $80M for Ohio U., Lender Leaves U.S. Loan Program, Cyberbullies, Oxford Returns Maori Remains

February 1, 2008
  • Cornell University on Thursday announced a plan to eliminate loans in the financial aid packages of students from families earning up to $75,000 and to cap loans annually at $3,000 for those with family incomes up to $120,000. Also Thursday, Northwestern University announced that it would replace loans with grants for students with high need levels. Most of those students will be from families with incomes under $55,000, but Northwestern is basing eligibility on a calculation of need, not just an income level.
  • What happens when states bar public university professors from doing research in certain countries? They leave. The St. Petersburg Times reported that, due in large part to Florida's travel ban, Matt Childs is leaving a position at Florida State University for one at the University of South Carolina. "I have made my name now as a scholar of Cuban history, but I can no longer do my job here if I can't go to Cuba to do research," Childs told the newspaper.
  • For students, the war in Iraq is the top issue in the 2008 presidential election, according to a national survey released by the National Association of College Stores. Other issues of concern (in order): health care, the economy, immigration and gas prices.
  • Many college students are facing hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars in unexpected bills for health care, according to U.S. News & World Report. The magazine reported that many campus health centers are not registered "in network" by regional health insurers, and that many colleges are promoting plans that the magazine found to be "comparatively anemic" in coverage.
  • John V. Lombardi, president of Louisiana State University, has vetoed a plan by Sean O'Keefe, the departing chancellor of LSU's Baton Rouge flagship, to sign the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, The Advocate reported. Lombardi (a blogger for Inside Higher Ed) said that the commitment involved a significant commitment, which needed further study.
  • State legislators are objecting to legislation in Congress that would allow the Education Department to punish (by holding back some funds) states that cut appropriations for higher education. The provision is in a bill with measures to focus attention on colleges that increase tuition by percentages that are higher than average for their sector. Public college officials have said that the measure risks punishing their institutions for tuition increases that result from cuts in state funds -- and that complaint is at the root of the measure to punish states. But the National Conference of State Legislatures issued a statement Thursday saying that the measure would be "a dangerous precedent of federal intrusion into state budgeting decisions." The statement also warned that states might be hesitant to put lots of new money into higher education out of fear that they could be punished for not being able to do so in a tight budget year -- when they might face a federal sanction for a cut.
  • Ohio University on Thursday announced a bequest of securities and real estate worth at least $80 million, which is expected to be spent on the College of Engineering and Technology.
  • College Loan Corp., which is the eighth largest provider of student loans in the Family Federal Education Loan Program, announced Thursday that it would leave the federal loan program as of March, citing a combination of Congressionally mandated cuts to lender subsidies and the uncertainty in the credit market. Cary Katz, the company’s CEO, said that “recent Congressional action has decimated the Federal Family Education Loan Program, essentially making it impossible for midsized companies like College Loan Corporation to participate in the federal loan marketplace. In addition, continuing disruptions in the credit have compounded the impact of the legislation." Katz said the company would focus on the private loan market. College Loan is not the first lender to abandon the federal loan program since Congress enacted the subsidy cuts last fall, but it is the biggest.
  • The University of Manitoba has punished 34 students for engaging in bullying of other students -- by taking part in a Facebook group devoted to the bullying, Canadian Press reported.
  • The University of Oxford has announced that it is returning four sets of Maori and Moriori human remains to New Zealand in a move that is the first use of the British institution's new repatriation policy. Oxford said it considered numerous issues, including the ability to return the remains to appropriate groups and that they were not yielding major scholarly breakthroughs.
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