More than 20 years ago, the Posse Foundation established a model in which it brought groups of historically underrepresented students (the "posses" of its name) to selective colleges, where their strength in numbers and the attention of their institutions have helped them succeed where others like them might not have. Now the foundation is turning its attention to military veterans, launching a new program with its first branch at Vassar College.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Occupy Student Debt, an offshoot of the Occupy movement focusing on student debt and urging students to pledge not to repay their loans if other borrowers join them, is planning several events Wednesday to commemorate the total amount of student debt passing $1 trillion. "Demonstrations and creative actions" are planned for Union Square, in New York; the headquarters and regional offices of the student lender Sallie Mae; and at colleges across the country, including the University of Chicago, Brooklyn College, Cooper Union, Hampshire College, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Years of legal battles over Fisk University's famous collection of modern art may be about to come to an end with the university permitted to sell a share in the collection, The Tennessean reported. The Tennessee Supreme Court announced Monday that it would not hear an appeal in the case, clearing the way for the sale to take place. The dispute concerns works donated by Georgia O’Keeffe, who stipulated that Fisk not sell or break up the collection. Tennessee's attorney general has challenged the sale, saying it would violate the terms of the donation and not serve the public. Fisk, a historically black college, has argued that it needs money from the sale to support its educational mission. Under the current plan, Fisk would sell a share in the collection to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, in Arkansas, and the collection would appear for periods both there and at the university.
President Obama has taken his call for Congress to extend the 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized student loans to Iowa, North Carolina and Colorado -- all battleground states in this fall's election. But the presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney said during a press event Monday that he agrees with Obama, saying he supports an extension of the low interest rate, which would otherwise double for subsidized loans made after July 1.
"Particularly with the number of college graduates that can't find work and can only find work well beneath their skill level, I fully support the effort to extend the low interest rate on student loans," Romney said, according to the Huffington Post, which reported that Romney volunteered his position on the interest rate after no reporters asked about it during the news conference, his first since his path to the nomination became all but certain. "There was some concern that that would expire halfway through the year and I support extending the temporary relief on interest rates on students as a result of student loans obviously, in part because of the extraordinarily poor conditions in the job market."
Romney has said little about federal financial aid and other higher education issues so far, although he told college students in March to "shop around" on tuition prices and not expect the government to forgive their debt. He also endorsed Representative Paul Ryan's budget plan, which would have let the interest rate rise.
Some reports have suggested a modest improvement in the job market for new college graduates. But an Associated Press analysis of federal labor data suggests that the situation is far from encouraging. Half of young graduates are either unemployed or are employed in jobs that do not make appropriate use of their knowledge and skills. Many are working as waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist.
The University of Texas at Austin has hired a Los Angeles law firm, Latham & Watkins, to handle the university's defense of its affirmative action practices before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Associated Press reported. The law firm, with extensive Supreme Court expertise, will be paid a flat fee of $977,000, with up to another $10,000 for expenses.
Liberty University announced this week that Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, would be this year's commencement speaker. The university's announcement noted that Ronald Reagan spoke at Liberty's commencement in 1980, shortly before his election as president. Many students and some other supporters of the university are upset, arguing that they believe Romney -- as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- is not a Christian. Numerous comments have been posted on the Liberty Facebook page, and are attracting support. CNN reported. One student's comment: "Liberty University should have gotten a Christian to speak not someone who practices a cult. Shame on you Liberty University."
The number of low-income students offered admission to Australian universities has increased by 18.9 percent since 2009, according to government records obtained by The Canberra Times. With the gains, the share of low-income students enrolled in Australian universities is approaching a government goal of 20 percent.
The University of Illinois System may have bills of up to $250,000 for consultants and other advisers to try to save the presidency of Michael Hogan, The Chicago Tribune reported. Hogan resigned in March, after a 20-month tenure during which he repeatedly clashed with faculty leaders and some campus administrators. Among the expenses revealed by the Tribune: $4,000 for two meetings with an executive coach.