For 21 percent of Americans, saving for college for a child or children was the top savings priority in the last year, second only to saving for retirement (22 percent) as the first priority, according to a poll conducted by Sallie Mae and Gallup. Generally, the poll found stable rates of saving for college, which Sallie Mae said was a positive sign given the economic pressures placed on many families in the last year. Of those who are not saving for college at all, 18 percent said that they do not know how, and 28 percent said that they were not sure of the best savings options.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Henry R. Kravis, co-founder of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., has donated $100 million to Columbia University's business school -- the largest gift in the school's history. The funds will support construction of the business school's new campus, north of Columbia's Morningside campus.
The 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded jointly this morning to Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki "for palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis." Heck is Willis F. Harrington Professor Emeritus at University of Delaware. Negishi is Herbert C. Brown Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue University. Suzuki is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Hokkaido University.
Privately held Keiser University on Monday filed a lawsuit against Florida State College at Jacksonville, alleging that two of the college's administrators “disseminated false information about proprietary schools, including Keiser, by working through advocacy groups and 'short sellers' who profit when the price of a publicly traded stock declines in value." Keiser, which is based in Florida, says its enrollment has declined and that companies and high schools are reluctant to set up partnerships since scrutiny of the for-profit sector, within the Obama administration and in Congress, has heightened in the last year.
Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, both of the University of Manchester, in Britain, were named Tuesday morning as winners of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. They were honored "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene."
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has sent the University of Virginia another demand for documents about the research of Michael Mann, a former professor who has studied climate change, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. In August, a state judge blocked an earlier request by the attorney general. The university and many faculty groups have accused Cuccinelli of intruding into scholarly disputes in a way that could hinder academic freedom, although he says he is engaged in legitimate oversight of activities at a state university. Mann issued a statement saying: "I find it extremely disturbing that Mr. Cuccinelli seeks to continue to abuse his power as the attorney general of Virginia in this way, pursuing what appears to be an endless smear campaign against the University of Virginia, me and other climate scientists."
Editors of The Eastern Echo, the student newspaper at Eastern Michigan University, are apologizing for and explaining a cartoon that ran last week. The cartoon, found here as cartoon #14, although the number will change as more cartoons are added, shows a couple wearing Klan-style hoods, standing near a tree with a noose hanging from a branch. The text: "Honey, this is the tree where we met." An editorial added Saturday states: "We apologize for the lack of sensitivity some felt we showed for publishing the piece. The cartoon points out the hypocrisy of hate-filled people. Its intent was to ask how can someone show affection for one person while at the same time hating someone else enough to commit such a heinous act as hanging." The Detroit News reported that the university responded to criticism of the cartoon by issuing a statement that said: "Students are responsible for planning, writing and editing the entire newspaper.... The university does not exercise any editorial control over the content of the newspaper. The university does not condone or support any actions that are racially offensive or insensitive."
Gay students at the University of Rhode Island have ended an eight-day library sit-in following an agreement with the university, The Providence Journal reported. The students said that the university was failing to assure a safe environment for them. Under the agreement, the university will add sensitivity programs to promote tolerance, give gay students "a voice" on several university committees, move up the schedule for adding a chief diversity officer and for a new staff member for the gay center on campus, and turn an existing building into the gay center's new home.
Cecilia Chang, already facing charges of embezzling about $1 million from St. John's University, in New York, is now facing additional charges, of forcing scholarship students to work as personal servants, The New York Times reported. Chang was charged with forced labor and bribery, in response to allegations that she told the students, most of them foreign students, that working 20 hours a week under her supervision was required for their scholarships. The duties included menial tasks at her home and such tasks as driving the dean's son to the airport. A lawyer for Chang said that the students' work was a normal part of work-study programs.
Both Harvard and Brown Universities have announced gifts for humanities research that, while not enormous in terms of the largest gifts to higher education, are notable for their emphasis. Harvard is today announcing a $10 million gift to support its humanities center with interdisciplinary research. The gift is the largest in Harvard's history for the study of the humanities. On Saturday, Brown announced a $3 million gift that will support the recruitment of senior scholars and the development of multiyear research seminars in the humanities.