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Quick Takes: DeVry's $290M Purchase, Priorities of Business Philanthropists, Support for Higher Ed Act, Another Community College Tries Friday Program, Injunction Helps Christian Fraternity, Tough Rules for Foreign Students in UK

July 31, 2008
  • DeVry Inc., which runs a nationwide group of for-profit colleges and universities, on Wednesday announced the purchase of U.S. Education Corporation for $290 million. U.S. Education is the parent company of Apollo College and Western Career College, which provide certificate and associate degree programs in health-related fields.
  • Corporate interest in philanthropy related to higher education remains strong, according to "Corporate Investments in College Readiness and Access," a report released Wednesday by the Institute for Higher Education Policy. The report found that 90 members of the Fortune 100 have education among their priorities for corporate philanthropy, and that 68 of these companies support college readiness programs. There is a strong tendency to support such programs in the geographic vicinity of a company, the report found. The report was prepared for the Business-Higher Education Forum, with support from USA Funds.
  • As the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate prepare to vote today on legislation to renew the Higher Education Act, various higher education groups offered their two cents on the merits and drawbacks of the sweeping measure. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators endorsed the bill, especially its call to increase Pell Grant spending and a change to make the grants available to students year-round. "These increases in the Pell Grant program flexibility and authorization levels are a good first step; however the litmus test is at the appropriations level, when we put our legislative rhetoric into dollars," wrote Philip R. Day Jr., NASFAA's president. The Career College Association also praised the bill and urged Congress to pass it and President Bush to sign it. “The ball is at the goal line,” said Harris N. Miller, president of the group of for-profit colleges. “Time for Congress to light up the scoreboard for students, parents and higher education generally by passing this important bill.”
  • Many took note in June when Volunteer State Community College announced a program for the fall in which students will be able to take a full semester's courses with sessions meeting only on Fridays. Now a second college is trying the same approach, which some fear will result in far too much class time on one day, but which others hail as a novel approach to helping students stay on track for a degree without spending money on gas to travel to and from campus. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, which will offer the option this fall, estimates that some students will save $1,000 in gas payments over the semester.
  • A federal appeals court has issued an injunction ordering the University of Florida to recognize a Christian fraternity while the group's legal challenge to the university's rules on recognition continues, the Associated Press reported. The fraternity is among several Christian organizations that have been challenging the policies of many public universities against recognizing student groups that discriminate on the basis of religion. The Christian groups maintain that these rules deprive them of their First Amendment rights.
  • The British government, responding to reports of non-students obtaining student visas to come to Britain, has announced a series of tougher rules for foreign students and the institutions that enroll them. Reuters reported that visiting students will be required to demonstrate that they can support themselves and their families. In addition, colleges and universities will be required to report to authorities on any student who misses 10 consecutive lectures.
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