Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, July 10, 2015 - 3:00am

After 13 years, South Carolina will once again be allowed to host National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournaments and other championship games after state lawmakers voted Thursday to remove the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds.

Since 2001, the NCAA has barred any state that flies the Confederate flag from bidding to host NCAA championships where host sites are preselected. That includes sports like men's and women's basketball, but not baseball. South Carolina last hosted an NCAA men's basketball tournament in 2002, before the ban went into effect.

"We commend South Carolina lawmakers for taking this action to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds," Kirk Schulz, chair of the NCAA board of governors and president of Kansas State University, said in a statement. "For nearly 15 years we have specifically protested the flag by not allowing states like South Carolina to host preselected NCAA championships. With this impending change, and consistent with our policy, South Carolina may bid to host future NCAA championships once the flag no longer flies at the State House grounds."

The flag is expected to come down Friday. Mississippi is now the sole remaining state that cannot host NCAA championships under the rule.

Friday, July 10, 2015 - 3:00am

Moody's is considering changing the approach it uses to rate the financial health of more than 500 colleges and universities. The investors' service put out a call for comments on potential methodology changes on Wednesday.

If changes occur as proposed, Moody's predicts an updated formula will affect the ratings of about 5 percent of the postsecondary institutions it rates. The proposed changes include a scorecard that rates institutions based on their market profile, operating performance, wealth and liquidity, and the strength and diversity of their funding sources as well as their risk appetite.

Moody's rates 230 four-year public universities and university systems in the U.S., 275 nonprofit private colleges and universities, and 21 universities outside of the U.S. Combined, these organizations had approximately $235 billion of debt outstanding as of the end of the 2014 fiscal year.

Friday, July 10, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Catherine Le Gouis, a French professor at Mount Holyoke College, helps us appreciate the famed writer’s comedy. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 3:00am

Financial Times runs an advice column for people seeking guidance on management issues. An item this week may be of interest to readers who don't normally check out FT. The question: "Should I plot the downfall of our dean?"

The question comes from a business school faculty member who was part of a delegation that traveled to Tokyo on a plane in which the dean flew business class while everyone else was in coach. Noting that the dean was new, "Disgruntled Professor" wrote: "I should be giving him my support but cannot get rid of the image of his well-slept eyes on arrival. I feel this is all the evidence I need to plot his downfall. Do you agree?"

FT noted that higher-ups generally get "a cushier deal," and that this incident alone was unlikely to topple the dean. In a suggestion that FT may not fully embrace academic culture, the answer went on to suggest that a longer effort might yet run the dean out of a job. "Do not let the length of the likely campaign deter you, but see it as an advantage," the column advises. "Most of the academics I’ve ever come across find long-running feuds and resentments are vital for their well-being, as they provide them with a sense of purpose and emotional charge that is often sadly lacking in the day job."

Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 4:24am

The University of Minnesota, facing questions from its Board of Regents, has postponed planned adoption of an "affirmative consent" rule for its campuses, The Star-Tribune reported. The rule, similar to state laws in California and New York and many campus policies, requires that both parties in a sexual act consent prior to it taking places. Several regents at a board meeting raised concerns about the policy, saying that they had received emails and calls suggesting that the rule could create legal problems and would result in unfair presumptions of guilt for students accused of sexual assault. University leaders defended the policy, but agreed to delay it so that the board could have more time to discuss the issue.

Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 3:00am

The availability of subsidized federal student loans play a role in increasing tuition, particularly at less-selective private nonprofit colleges with relatively affluent student bodies and for-profit colleges, a study by researchers for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York finds. The study adds to a body of studies -- frequently challenged by higher education leaders and some economists -- suggesting that federal financial aid contributes to tuition increases by easing constraints on students and families.

Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 4:34am

New evidence for the "completion agenda": finish college and you are likely to live longer. Researchers at New York University, the University of Colorado at Denver and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill released findings Wednesday that show consistent links between greater levels of education and longer lives. Mortality rates drop for higher levels of education, particularly at the bachelor's level -- and these drops could equal those achieved by behavioral changes involving unhealthy practices, such as smoking. In the 2010 population, for example, 110,068 deaths could be saved if adults who had some college but no degree went on to complete their bachelor’s degrees. The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 3:00am

Time to play Inside Higher Ed's Cartoon Caption Contest.

Get creative and craft a caption for this month's new cartoon.

Or click here to cast a vote for your favorite among the three captions for last month's cartoon, chosen by our panel of judges.

And join us in congratulating David Nemeth, a professor in the department of geography and planning at the University of Toledo, winner of our May contest. His caption for the cartoon at right -- "And who might have imagined that I, a humble slug from Chernobyl, would some day achieve this honor …" -- received the most votes from our readers.

He will receive an Amazon gift certificate and a copy of the cartoon signed by the artist, Matthew Henry Hall.

Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Chris Liu, a professor of strategic management at the University of Toronto, discusses his research on whether personal interaction with people who hold conflicting ideology influences your thinking. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 3:00am

New data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show that 37.2 percent of college students transfer at least once within six years. The research is based on the center's virtually comprehensive database of American college students. It tracked first-time students who enrolled in college in 2008.

Students often cross state lines (which means they don't necessarily show up in state databases of students or graduates). The clearinghouse said nearly a quarter of transfers from four-year institutions left the state. And community college was the top destination for transfer students from four-year institutions, with 53.7 moving to a two-year community college.

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