Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, July 1, 2016 - 4:18am

Some professors at Temple University are protesting the decision to remove Hai-Lung Dai as provost this week, without any public explanation, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Faculty members say that the university should explain its actions. A university spokesman said that Temple doesn't comment on personnel matters, but "we do not take these matters lightly." A petition organized by faculty members states that "actions of this magnitude must be explained and cannot seem to be made arbitrarily."

 

Friday, July 1, 2016 - 3:00am

The U.S. Departments of Labor and Education released the final rules Thursday for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in an effort to expand job growth.

The final rules affect more than a dozen programs that receive $10 billion in training and education funding and serve about 20 million people.

"I am especially pleased that these rules strengthen education and workforce partnerships to reinforce the importance of postsecondary education and training in promoting better jobs for students, as well as removing barriers to employment," said U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr.

The final five rules are related to state planning, performance accountability and Titles I, II and III, which regulate programs like the Job Corps and are connected to adult education.

Friday, July 1, 2016 - 3:00am

Blackboard's parent company, Providence Equity Partners, is acquiring the higher education financial company Higher One for $260 million. The acquisition is the latest move from Blackboard to expand its capacity to handle payments. The company has recently been boosting the capabilities of its own financial services provider, Transact. Providence Equity Partners is technically creating a subsidiary, Winchester Acquisition Corp., to complete the acquisition.

Friday, July 1, 2016 - 4:09am

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine urges the creation of an independent commission to examine federal regulations on research involving human subjects, and the rejection of proposed changes in those rules. The report says that the proposed rule extends regulations involving human subjects beyond reasonable protections. For example, the report says that the new proposed regulations cover biospecimens, such as tissue, blood, saliva, and urine, among others. Current rules allow research to be performed using previously collected biospecimens without informed consent as long as the specimens are not linked to an individual, and the report says that changing that rule would be disruptive to much important research.

 

 

Friday, July 1, 2016 - 3:00am

Today on the Academic Minute, Leanne ten Brinke, Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Haas School of Business and Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, describes how vices and virtues affect the political elite. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 3:00am

The University of Chicago has announced that it will allow applicants to self-report their SAT or ACT scores. Only accepted applicants who opt to enroll will be required to have an official score report sent to the university. James G. Nondorf, vice president for enrollment and student advancement and dean of college admissions and financial aid, said the policy has been suggested to the university by high school counselors and others as a way to help low-income students. The registration fees for both the SAT and the ACT cover four score reports to colleges, but students must pay more for additional deliveries. (The College Board allows those eligible for fee waivers to send out eight score reports free.)

Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 3:20am

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, a Republican who this month fired most members of the University of Louisville board, on Wednesday appointed new members. The university's president, James Ramsey, is promising to step down once the new board is in place. The prior board was divided over Ramsey's leadership. Some political leaders and many faculty members -- even some who are happy to see Ramsey go -- have opposed the governor's actions, saying that they constitute inappropriate interference with the university. Attorney General Andy Beshear on Thursday vowed to continue legal action to block the changes.

The Courier-Journal reported that one of the new trustees has used Twitter to question climate science and to state that being gay is not compatible with being a Christian.

Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 3:00am

HathiTrust, the book digitization consortium and digital library housed at the University of Michigan, is making more than 14 million books available to blind and print-disabled readers. HathiTrust already offers services for readers with disabilities, but the organization is working with the National Federation of the Blind to expand those services to nonmembers. HathiTrust was for years engaged in a legal battle with the Authors Guild, which argued that digitizing millions of books constituted violating copyright. The digital library was eventually found to be an example of fair use, in part because the courts agreed that the initiative benefited print-disabled readers. The NFB successful intervened in that case.

Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 3:00am

The Institute for College Access and Success released a new report Wednesday that finds nearly one in 10 community college students, or 9 percent, don't have access to federal student loans because their institutions don't offer them.

Most community college students don't take out loans, but more than a third, or 37 percent, of those who complete an associate's degree have borrowed.

"Despite relatively low tuition and fees, community college students still face average total costs of $15,000," said Debbie Cochrane, research director at TICAS and co-author of the report. "Federal loans are the lowest-cost option for students who need to borrow to stay in school, but too many schools take that option off the table."

Those colleges that don't provide federal loans cite concerns about loan defaults, which can prevent the institutions from offering other types of federal financial aid if the college's default rate is too high.

TICAS found at least 12 community colleges that don't offer federal loans but refer students to private lenders instead.

Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 3:00am

The "special master" hired by the U.S. Education Department to oversee the initial process of deciding which student loan borrowers should get relief from their debt because of institutional fraud issued his fourth and final report Wednesday. The report by Joseph A. Smith, whose position was set up to expire within a year, shows that thousands of students from the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges have been relieved of their debt, a combined total of about $170 million, among other findings.

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