Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, May 1, 2015 - 4:13am

While there has been no official announcement, President Obama has selected the University of Chicago as the host of his presidential library, The Chicago Tribune and USA Today reported. Their reports followed other news reports that President Obama has picked a location in Chicago, but not necessarily one of those proposed by the University of Chicago. The University of Chicago has been the favorite from the start of the competition -- the Obamas lived in its neighborhood before he was elected president and both the president and first lady once worked at the university. But zoning disputes for a time appeared to be a major obstacle, leading to speculation that the library could end up at Columbia University.

 

Friday, May 1, 2015 - 4:23am

Evan Dobelle has agreed to pay $185,000 to settle claims of inappropriate spending while he was president of Westfield State University, The Berkshire Eagle reported. Dobelle has previously denied wrongdoing and sued the university. As part of the settlement, he has agreed to drop that suit. He left the presidency amid reports about billing the university for expensive travel, the purpose of which was questioned by many on campus. Another part of the settlement: Dobelle is barred from working at colleges and universities in Massachusetts.

 

Friday, May 1, 2015 - 3:00am

Rudolph Giuliani remains the planned graduation speaker at St. John Fisher College, despite faculty opposition to the invitation, The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported. Dozens of faculty members signed a letter saying that the invitation was inappropriate. "Given the college's mission, which places education in the service of 'intellectual inquiry, professional integrity and civic responsibility,' those of us delivering on these goals in our classrooms are struggling to understand how the board could offer this great honor to a political figure who has recently shown himself to be inflammatory and divisive in his commentary. His recent public arguments do not unite, inspire or challenge us to be our best community. Despite his past leadership record, in the last decade Mr. Giuliani has unfortunately shrunk to become a highly controversial, divisive ideologue."

Donald Bain, the college's president, said that the former New York City mayor would remain as the speaker. "Mr. Giuliani is expected to speak about his role in the Sept. 11 recovery. I believe this will be of interest and value to our students," Bain wrote.

Friday, May 1, 2015 - 3:00am

Widespread outrage followed two female researchers' comment on Twitter in which they shared a peer reviewer's response to their submission on a study of the path of male and female doctoral students to postdocs and later employment. The reviewer suggested that the researchers might improve their paper by adding one or two male co-authors. Reaction has been intense. Times Higher Education has identified the journal as PLOS ONE.

 

Friday, May 1, 2015 - 3:00am

The Texas Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would require public colleges to meet several performance standards in order to increase tuition rates beyond the rate of inflation. Performance-based funding formulas, while controversial, are becoming more popular among state legislatures. The bill in Texas, which now goes to the state House for consideration, likely will draw national attention.

The 11 performance requirements in the proposed legislation include measures of graduation rates, student completion milestones, the number of degrees earned by at-risk students and the institution's administrative costs. 

In 2003 the Texas Legislature ceded its ability to set tuition rates at the state's public institutions. That move was a response in part to deep budget cuts, The Dallas Morning News reported. But tuition has risen quickly since then, said lawmakers who support the bill.

“The cost of college education has skyrocketed to where students are being priced out of higher education altogether or required to take out exorbitant student loans to finance their education,” said State Senator Charles Schwertner, a Republican, according to the Dallas newspaper.

Friday, May 1, 2015 - 4:27am

For three years, Cheyney University failed to meet its requirements to track federal student aid awarded to its students, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Colleges and universities are required to do such tracking to make sure students are eligible, and Cheyney could have to repay funds for which it can't document student eligibility. Just under $50 million in aid awards was not tracked, and that process has now started. It is unclear how much the university could owe. Cheyney, a historically black college in Pennsylvania, is already facing significant financial problems.

 

Friday, May 1, 2015 - 3:00am

Fifty-seven percent of schools and colleges responding to a new survey reported that they use social media in fund-raising. That's up from 47 percent a year ago. The results are from a survey by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Huron Education and mStoner.

 

Friday, May 1, 2015 - 4:17am

A California jury has rejected a class action against the California State University System over a 2009 tuition increase, City News Service reported. Students challenged the increase as illegal since they had already paid tuition. But the university argued that it had warned repeatedly of the possibility of tuition increases as the state imposed deep cuts in appropriations for higher education.

 

Friday, May 1, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Kristen Ghodsee, a professor at Bowdoin College, presents a historical account meant to counteract a negative association. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 4:28am

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, last year sought leniency for Corinthian Colleges after the Education Department imposed tight limits on the for-profit provider's access to federal aid, Bloomberg reported. In a letter to senior department officials obtained by Bloomberg, Rubio argued that the department should show leniency to Corinthian while it was cooperating with the department's investigation. “It has been brought to my attention that the U.S. Department of Education has recently placed extreme financial constraints on Corinthian Colleges, Inc. by restricting the company's timely access to federal financial aid. It is my understanding the Department of Education has requested extensive documents be provided by Corinthian Colleges for review, and Corinthian has acted in good faith to try to provide these documents as expeditiously as possible,” Rubio wrote.

The Bloomberg article also noted that Corinthian Colleges contributed $5,000 to Rubio's political action committee during the 2014 election cycle.

A spokesperson for Rubio defended the letter, telling Bloomberg, “Senator Rubio felt it was important to protect the thousands of students in Florida from being punished and having their educations disrupted while the investigation was underway. His priority has always been to improve access to higher education options and increase transparency ‎in higher education.”

 

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