Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 3:00am

Dozens of students at Webster University's campus in London have lost their federal financial aid after the university violated U.S. Department of Education regulations, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Neither the university nor the government elaborated on the nature of the violation, the end result of which, the newspaper noted, is that some students "now find themselves without a way to pay for the courses needed to graduate." Webster has tried to assist the affected students in a number of ways, including by helping them apply for private loans, by directly offering its own interest-free loans and by giving students the opportunity to transfer to another Webster campus or take courses online.

Webster, a private university based in St. Louis, operates dozens of locations across the U.S. and internationally. The issues regarding financial aid access at the London campus come in the wake of wide-ranging problems reported at Webster's campus in Thailand, as documented in an Inside Higher Ed article and an internal Webster committee report.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 3:00am

Valencia Community College has banned the use of vaginal probes in its sonography program, the college’s president, Sandy Shugart, told the Orlando Sentinel Tuesday. The decision came after two students filed a lawsuit against the college, alleging that they underwent forced vaginal probing by other students as part of their training in the program. The students claimed that the program’s directors said the students would be retaliated against if they did not comply with the probing.

Shugart told the Sentinel in an emailed statement that the controversy surrounding the lawsuit was responsible for the end of the training and students would instead use simulators and time spent in clinical settings with professionals to learn techniques. Testicular ultrasound exams were also banned.

“Weighed down by the distraction of the current controversy, the value of voluntary peer-to-peer participation in transvaginal ultrasound scanning no longer rises above the benefit of using simulation technology, especially in light of recent advances in that technology,” Shugart said.

A third-party investigation into Valencia’s sonography program by the law firm Allen Norton & Blue found that “the learning environment in the program did not amount to an unlawfully discriminatory or otherwise abusive environment,” according to a letter sent by the firm to the Sentinel. All four faculty members in the investigation, three of whom were named in the lawsuit, remain employed at Valencia.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 3:00am

The Pennsylvania State University chapter of Kappa Delta Rho -- the fraternity that maintained a private Facebook page that featured photographs of nude, unconscious women -- will no longer be recognized by the university, Penn State announced Tuesday. The university's investigation, which began in March when reports of the Facebook page first surfaced, concluded that members of the chapter had also engaged in sexual harassment, underage drinking and hazing, including forcing pledges to box each other. The university's withdrawal of recognition will last three years.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 3:00am

The University of Texas at Austin may schedule a football game in Mexico City by 2020, as part of a plan to build the university's international brand, the Associated Press reported. The university's men's basketball team is already scheduled to play the University of Washington in China this November -- the first regular-season contest involving college teams in that country.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 4:15am

Just 24 of 230 public universities that play big-time athletics meet the National Collegiate Athletic Association's definition of financially self-sufficient, USA Today reported in its annual analysis of the economics of Division I sports programs. The NCAA defines sports departments as self-sufficient if the money they generate (excluding student fees and direct university and government subsidies) exceeds what they spend.

The USA Today analysis of the finances of Division I programs finds the gap between the five richest conferences and all others continuing to grow. When sports programs' payments to their institutions for scholarships and facilities are taken into account, about 50 programs qualify as self-sufficient, and all of those are in the five richest conferences.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 4:00am

A new report on youth employability from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development finds that 39 million 16- to 29-year-olds across the OECD countries were not employed and not in education or training in 2013 -- an increase of 5 million since before the economic crisis in 2008. The report, titled "Skills Outlook 2015," finds that young people are twice as likely to be unemployed as "prime-age" adults, and that even youths who find employment "often face institutionalized obstacles to developing their skills and advancing their careers. For example, one in four employed young people is on a temporary contract. These workers tend to use their skills less and have fewer training opportunities than workers on permanent contracts. Meanwhile, 12 percent of employed young people are overqualified for their job."

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 3:00am

A recent Yale University graduate allegedly stabbed a fellow student before jumping to his death from the ninth floor of an off-campus apartment on Tuesday. The stabbing victim, Alexander Micaud, is in stable condition, the New Haven Register reported. “In this difficult time, we extend our sympathies, thoughts and prayers to the families of these two members of our community and wish Alexander a complete recovery,” Jonathan Holloway, the dean of Yale College, said in a statement.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 4:07am

Under pressure from cancer prevention groups and members of Congress, some colleges are moving to bar their students from using their campus-provided debit cards to get a fake tan, The Boston Globe reported. The newspaper's report notes that tanning beds are popping up in some off-campus apartments, and that some colleges let students pay for the service with their campus cash cards. The melanoma risks (and a letter from members of Congress to 18 institutions) are leading some college to block that use.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 3:00am

Barry H. Corey wasn't just the president of Biola University at its commencement on Friday. He was the father of one of the graduates, Anders Corey. When it came time for father to present son with his diploma, they collaborated on a celebration inspired by The Parent Trap:


Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Sarah Johnson, a postdoc at Florida State University, discusses the benefits of consuming blueberries. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


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