Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 3:00am

Excelsior College and publisher Cengage Learning on Tuesday said they would partner to create self-paced online degree programs to give students an alternative pathway to college credit. The partnership will first produce an associate program in criminal justice and an M.B.A., but other courses and programs are in the works. Excelsior will be the first college to accept the courses as progress toward degree completion, and will also develop credit-bearing exams. Cengage will offer the courses on the Difference Engine learning platform, which it gained last year when it acquired the ed-tech company Learning Objects. The program will launch in March 2017 and cost between $400 and $550, Cengage said.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 3:00am

Today on the Academic Minute, Robin Kowalski, professor of psychology at Clemson University, explores how children with disabilities are especially vulnerable to internet attacks. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 3:00am

When St. Catharine College announced this month that it would be shutting down, officials of the small Roman Catholic college in Kentucky said that employees would be paid through July 31. Now it turns out employees will only be paid through June 30. For some faculty employees whose duties are 10 months a year but who are paid over 12 months, that means that they won't be paid for some work they performed.

Cindy Gnadinger, president of the college, said that a bank acting as a trustee for bondholders refused to allow the payments. "The college explained to the bond trustee that some faculty members were entitled to these funds, as they had already completed the work," she said via email. "Unfortunately, the bond trustee explained it viewed faculty who needed to be paid for the academic year as unsecured creditors, and they could not be paid from the bondholders’ collateral."

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 3:00am

Citizens of European Union countries who are currently enrolled in U.K. universities and those planning on entering in the fall will receive the loans and grants for which they are eligible for the duration of their courses of study, the Student Loans Company announced Monday. Last week’s vote in favor of Britain exiting the European Union has raised uncertainties about the status of current and future E.U. students, who currently pay domestic student tuition rates and are eligible for the same student loans as British students.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 3:00am

Slightly less than one-quarter of parents and 37 percent of students believe they will qualify for financial aid, according to the results of a survey released this week by Royall & Company, a division of the Education Advisory Board (EAB). The findings, which are based on a survey of 5,133 college-bound high school students and their parents, stand in contrast to federal data showing that 85 percent of all college-going students receive aid in the form of grants or low-interest loans from the federal government.

Among the survey's parent respondents from households with annual incomes of $60,000 or less, 66 percent said they expect to quality for need-based financial aid. But an EAB analysis of federal data found that 84 percent of students in that income bracket receive Pell Grants.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 4:26am

A year ago, an entire class of seven M.F.A. students quit their program at the University of Southern California. Now the only member of the next class has quit, the Los Angeles Times reported, renewing debate over whether USC is committed to the program. The students who have left -- last year and this year -- doubt that, but the university defends the program.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 3:00am

The University of Houston System on Monday sued the Houston College of Law, which is the new name of the private law school that has been known as the South Texas College of Law. The suit charges that the name -- along with use of a red-and-white color scheme similar to the university's -- creates “confusion in the marketplace and damage” to the university and its brand. One division of the University of Houston is the University of Houston Law Center.

“We’ve earned our standing as a nationally ranked law center, and we won’t allow someone else to change their name and colors and market themselves on our success,” said a statement from Tilman Fertitta, chairman of the university's Board of Regents. The university's announcement of the suit noted its law school's numerous honors and high rankings, which it said stand in contrast with the other law school.

A spokeswoman for the Houston College of Law said that it was policy not to respond to questions about litigation.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 4:20am

Michael Graves, the late noted architect, left three of his properties -- including his residence and studio -- to Princeton University. But as The New York Times reported, Princeton turned down the bequest. The university said it could not meet the conditions attached, which included preserving the houses and using them for educational purposes. So Kean University plans to buy the properties for $20. Kean, with a new architecture program named for Graves, agreed to the conditions.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 3:00am

A new paper (abstract available here) from the National Bureau of Economic Research asks what factors lead a larger share of undergraduates at some research universities than others to seek Ph.D.s in humanities fields. Among the factors: strong humanities Ph.D. programs, higher than typical levels of instructional spending per student and higher than typical standardized scores of entering students.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 4:12am

Today on the Academic Minute, Victor Sojo, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Melbourne, discusses how frequent low-intensity events of sexism can be just as harsh as more flagrant events. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


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