Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 14, 2017

Academic cardiology remains a medical field in which women are a distinct minority, and a new study suggests this is a particular problem at the senior levels. Only 15.9 percent of women in the field are full professors, compared to 30.6 percent for men. Notably, the gender gap remains significant when data are adjusted for age, years of experience and research productivity. The study was conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and was published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.

February 14, 2017

A new report from the Association of Community College Trustees, the California Community Colleges' Chancellors Office and the Institute for College Access & Success finds that student success increases among two-year, low-income students if they receive more financial aid.

Nearly half of students with a zero expected family contribution who received more than $7,500 in financial aid graduated or transferred, compared to 17 percent of those who received between $1,001 and $2,500 in aid. Those students who received a combination of federal, state and institutional aid had the highest rates of success.

“Our research shows that state and federal grant aid is vital to the academic persistence and success of many community college students,” said Noah Brown, president and chief executive officer of ACCT. “When even students in the lowest-tuition state struggle to cover all the costs of being in college, it’s clear that community college students across the country are facing very real financial barriers.”

February 14, 2017

Today on the Academic Minute, Ryan Kelly, assistant professor in the school of marine and environmental sciences at the University of Washington, discusses why scientists need to get better at storytelling if they want to get their point across. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

February 13, 2017

The owner of a chain of four Los Angeles-area colleges accused of running a “pay-to-stay” scheme through which foreign nationals fraudulently obtained immigration documents allowing them to stay in the U.S. on student visas though they were not bona fide students pleaded guilty Thursday to federal immigration fraud charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced in a press release.

Hee Sun Shim, 53, of Beverly Hills, owned and managed three colleges in Los Angeles’s Koreatown -- Prodee University/Neo-America Language School; Walter Jay M.D. Institute, an Educational Center; and the American College of Forensic Studies -- and a fourth institution, Likie Fashion and Technology College, in Alhambra, Calif. Prosecutors say that the four schools collected tuition from and issued immigration documents to individuals who were not genuine students and had no intention of attending classes -- and who, in some cases, lived outside California. Prosecutors also say that Shim created fake student records, including transcripts, to deceive federal immigration authorities.

As part of his plea agreement, Shim agreed to forfeit $465,000 seized by investigators in 2015. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Shim’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 5. Two other defendants in the case have also pleaded guilty and are pending sentencing.

February 13, 2017

President Trump on Friday said he might sign a “brand-new order” on immigration as enforcement of his Jan. 27 executive order barring entry into the U.S. for nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries remains halted by the courts.

The New York Times reported that the president promised to continue the court battle over the original order but “indicated that he would not wait for the process to play out to take action.” Appearing on Sunday morning news shows, Stephen Miller, a White House senior policy adviser, said the Trump administration is considering various legal options, including the possibility of a new order, according to The Washington Post.

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday to keep in place a temporary restraining order preventing the Trump administration from enforcing the entry ban. Many college and university leaders condemned the ban, which prevented the travel of students and scholars from the seven countries to their campuses and barred those who were already in the U.S. from traveling internationally for professional or personal purposes.

February 13, 2017

A recent New Jersey appeals court decision may help parents navigate the legal requirements of contributing to their children’s college tuition payments, The Courier-Post reported.

Until the ruling last Thursday, a divorced couple in New Jersey had been required to help with their emancipated daughter’s college tuition. But the three-judge panel threw out a previous ruling and ordered a new hearing for the case.

When she was 21, the couple’s daughter, Caitlyn Ricci, was emancipated from her parents. At that point, she had not lived with either of her parents for more than two years -- Ricci had been staying with her grandparents instead.

New Jersey state law says parents don’t have to assist with college tuition if a child is emancipated, but in 2013, a few months after she became legally independent from her mother and father, a Superior Court judge allowed Ricci to challenge that order. Her parents were forced to pay about $2,000 for Ricci’s education at Gloucester County College.

Those required costs went up dramatically when Ricci transferred to Temple University in Philadelphia the following year.

The ruling last week said a new judge should examine the events that led up to Ricci’s emancipation from her parents before making a decision about the case. One of the attorneys said that if Ricci wants financial support from her parents, she should also be open to her parents' guidance and counseling. By accepting legal independence from her parents, she was accepting financial independence as well, the ruling said.

Ricci “demonstrated her desire to be independent of parental control, which obviated any obligation for support,” the 43-page decision said.

Although it ordered a new hearing, the three-judge panel also asked the family to consider ending the court battle now, as “the chasm between parents and child surely will widen whatever the outcome” of a continued legal fight.

February 13, 2017

An instructor at Galveston College in Texas resigned last week after a student claimed the instructor was trying to help him cheat on upcoming tests, Click2Houston.com reported.

Robert Shields, director of the electrical and electronics technology program at the community college, sent the student copies of tests and correct answers to those tests, the student said.

W. Myles Shelton, president of Galveston College, called the situation “very troubling” and said Shields resigned voluntarily.

The student, Josh Araujo, informed multiple people at the college that Shields had sent him test answers. “I just don’t think he was meant to be a teacher,” Araujo told Click2Houston.com. Araujo also said the instructor was disorganized and appeared unfamiliar with some of the material he was teaching.

Araujo was taking a three-semester course from Shields, which ultimately would have provided him with a necessary certification to continue in the construction industry. He said he had spent about $3,600 on the course, and neither he nor the president of the college could say whether Araujo would be refunded.

Administrators don’t yet know if other students received the test questions and answers.

Shields did not respond to requests for comment from Inside Higher Ed.

February 13, 2017

The College Fix, a conservative website that regularly criticizes what it sees as liberal bias in higher education, has announced it will start to disclose its ties to Betsy DeVos, the new U.S. education secretary. As reported by Inside Higher Ed, the site has been running supportive articles about DeVos without noting that Rick DeVos, her son, sits on the Board of Directors for the Student Free Press Association, a nonprofit group that runs the site and that has received a large portion of its funding from an anonymous conservative donor fund that the DeVos family has donated to heavily in the past.

John J. Miller, executive director of The College Fix, has now published a statement in which he says it was a mistake to publish articles about DeVos without noting the connection. Going forward, Miller said, articles on DeVos will include this statement: "Rick DeVos, the son of Betsy DeVos, serves on the board of the Student Free Press Association, the nonprofit parent organization of The College Fix."

February 13, 2017

Inside Higher Ed is pleased to release today our latest print-on-demand compilation, "Higher Ed Economics -- Beyond Tuition." You may download the booklet, free, here. And you may sign up here for a free webinar on the themes of the booklet, on Thursday, March 16, at 2 p.m. Eastern.

February 13, 2017

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is once again calling for the elimination of the Educational Approval Board by next year, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Walker's budget unveiled Wednesday would eliminate the board that regulates the state's for-profit colleges and transfer its duties to the Department of Safety and Professional Services. The governor originally made the proposal four years ago, saying that eliminating the board would remove unnecessary financial and regulatory burdens on for-profit institutions. His opponents, however, find that the board plays an important role in the state's higher education system.


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