Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 3:00am

Apollo Education Group, the publicly traded company that owns the University of Phoenix, announced continued enrollment and revenue declines in its third-quarter corporate filing, which Apollo released Monday

Phoenix saw its revenue decrease $379.3 million, or 18.8 percent, during the nine-month period that ended May 31. The university's enrollment of degree-seeking students declined to 206,900 students by the end of May, a nearly 15-percent dip from the same time last year. 

In the filing, Apollo also said it was laying off approximately 600 employees, "most of whom were enrollment counselors," as part of measures to reduce costs and to streamline services.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 3:00am

Education Affiliates, a for-profit chain with 50 campuses, has settled with the federal government over false-claim allegations, the U.S. Department of Justice said. The Maryland-based company agreed to pay $13 million in response to allegations that it received aid payments from unqualified students, some of whom the for-profit admitted by creating false or fraudulent high school diplomas. Education Affiliates also referred prospective students to diploma mills, according to the feds, and falsified students' federal aid applications.

“The various cases that were settled here include numerous allegations of predatory conduct that victimized students and bilked taxpayers,” said Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell, in a written statement. “In particular, the settlement provides for repayment of $1.9 million in liabilities ordered by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that resulted from EA awarding federal financial aid to students at its Fortis-Miami campus based on invalid high school credentials issued by a diploma mill. Secretary Duncan made clear that such abusive behavior would not be tolerated, and we will continue to work with the Justice Department and other federal agencies to ensure that postsecondary institutions face consequences when they violate the law.”

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 3:00am

The University of California System is adding optional questions to undergraduate applications concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. While several colleges have adopted such policies, the university system's adoption of this approach will significantly expand the number of applicants who see such questions. The idea behind such questions is to allow colleges and universities to track their success at attracting, enrolling and graduating students from a range of sexual orientations and gender identities. The new policy is the result of a review to identify ways the university could become more inclusive. The university also announced that, starting July 1, all new construction projects or major renovations will include gender-neutral restrooms.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 3:00am

Trenton Mays, one of the Steubenville High School football players convicted in 2013 of raping a girl, will be playing football again. Hocking College, an Ohio technical college, has enrolled him, The Athens Messenger reported. College policy bars Mays from living in the dormitories, which are off-limits to convicted sex offenders, but not from playing football. A statement from Betty Young, the president of the college, said: “Everyone deserves a second chance. Second chances do not excuse or defend previous behavior. There are a lot of ‘second chance’ stories at every community college, Trenton’s story is just one more.”

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 4:10am

Hawaii Governor David Ige, a Democrat, on Monday announced that he would veto legislation that would permit graduate students in the University of Hawaii System to unionize. In a statement, he said: “Our administration appreciates the contributions graduate students make throughout the university system. Their valid concerns can and should be addressed internally through Board of Regents policy followed by a commitment from the university administration to implement such policy. We strongly encourage this option rather than amending state collective bargaining laws that govern management and employee relations.”

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 4:22am

Northwestern University is seeking help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on offensive graffiti found on campus, The Chicago Tribune reported. In four incidents in recent months, anti-Semitic and racist graffiti has appeared in different campus locations.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Josh Packard, a sociologist at the University of Northern Colorado, explains his work on our relationship with religion. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, June 29, 2015 - 3:00am

The Nevada System of Higher Education last year, facing scrutiny over the state's community colleges, hired the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems to review the situation and write a report. But The Las Vegas Review-Journal, based on open-records requests, reported that the system didn't like the way the report raised criticisms, and so largely quashed the study. An email the newspaper obtained showed Constance Brooks, the system’s vice chancellor for government and community affairs, saying that the report cast the Board of Regents and the system in a "very negative light," adding, "I say we just take what we like out of the report and do away with the rest." The article suggests that's what the system did.

Monday, June 29, 2015 - 3:00am

Pennsylvania State University announced Friday that its College of Liberal Arts experienced two cyberattacks. These attacks took place after enhanced security measures were adopted in the wake of a May attack on Penn State's engineering college network. Penn State said that its investigation of the new incidents uncovered "no evidence that personally identifiable information or research data were compromised."

Monday, June 29, 2015 - 3:00am

Washington University in St. Louis has been widely criticized based on its relative lack of diversity compared to other colleges with highly competitive admissions and significant funds for financial aid. Many have suggested that the university's practice of offering generous scholarships to applicants with high SAT scores and grades, but not much real financial need, was responsible. The university announced on Friday that in part due to changes in admissions and aid strategy, the institution is seeking real gains in diversity of the freshman class, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Black students are expected to make up 9 percent of the freshman class, up from 5 percent a year ago. Latino freshman will make up 8 percent of the class, up from 6 percent. The percentage of low-income students is projected to be 11 percent, up from 8 percent.

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