Grand Canyon University has agreed to pay $5.2 million to settle a whistle-blower lawsuit charging it with violating federal rules barring incentive compensation for recruiters based on enrollments, The Arizona Republic reported. Grand Canyon, like other for-profit colleges, has criticized the rules as unclear, but their defenders say that they protect potential students from inappropriate recruiting tactics.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has opened a new dormitory for students with significant physical disabilities and the facility may represent a new standard for services for such students, the Chicago Tribune reported. Among the features are a wireless pager system to allow a resident to call for assistance 24 hours a day, and a ceiling lift system that will help students who can't walk get from their beds to bathrooms. Students who need these and other services will live on the first floor of the facility while other students will live on other floors.
Students have sued Auburn University and two University of Alabama campuses over mandatory meal plans, The Opelika-Auburn News reported. While the university says that the meal plans represent a savings for students, the suit charges that students are being forced to pay more than they would like to for food -- and that they should not be required to pay anything for non-educational services.
Rev. Charles L. Currie announced Thursday that he will step down as president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in June, at which time he will have served 14 years in the position -- the longest tenure of any leader of the association. He will be succeeded by the Rev. Greg Lucey, former president of Spring Hill College, in Alabama.
Like many states, Texas gives car owners to option of paying extra for customized license plates honoring various colleges and universities. Some are even out-of-state institutions. But as The Dallas Morning News reported, a proposed additional option -- a plate saluting the University of Oklahoma, an arch-rival for the University of Texas at Austin -- is generating opposition. One critic posted a comment saying: "In no shape or form. ... Not ever."
New regulations proposed by the National Institutes of Health in May to restrict conflicts of interest in biomedical research sponsored by the agency would significantly increase universities' administrative burden and their costs of complying with federal research rules, four higher education groups argued in jointly submitted comments Tuesday. In their formal response to the proposed regulations, the groups -- the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of American Universities, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities -- recommended that the NIH alter several provisions that they argued would require excessive, unnecessary reporting. They also argued that to help institutions meet the costs of the rules, which will require them to "add personnel and expand their infrastructure to meet [their] unfunded federal mandates," the government should provide direct "implementation" grants and increase the rates at which institutions are reimbursed for the indirect costs of research awards.
The Obama administration is planning to ease travel restrictions to Cuba -- and specifically to make it easier for academic and research programs to take place, The New York Times reported. Many American education groups have argued for years that the limits are so severe that they inhibit programs that could benefit both countries.
A growing number of business schools are creating doctoral programs for business executives, Business Week reported. The programs are typically three years, non-residential and designed for business leaders who already have an advanced degree and considerable work experience.
King's University College, in Alberta, has found itself drawn into the military tribunal in Guantanamo considering murder and terrorism charges against Omar Khadr. The Globe and Mail reported that the defense has indicated that a college dean has offered admission for Khadr to the institution. While the dean acknowledges reaching out to him and offering to help, she and the university deny that any offer of admission has been made.
In the United States, public and private universities are trying to recruit in California, thinking that budget cuts and resulting enrollment limits there may create more interest in enrolling elsewhere. With British universities facing budget cuts that will limit spaces, a Dutch institution, Maastricht University, is recruiting those who will be rejected in the U.K., Times Higher Education reported.