Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, October 12, 2012 - 4:17am

More than 40 percent of students and recent graduates with high levels of student debt report that they never received the loan counseling required by federal law, according to a new survey released by NERA Economic Consulting and Young Invincibles. The overwhelming majority of such students favor recent Education Department initiatives to standardize aid award letters so students have a better idea of college costs, and what they may need to borrow. Far too many student borrowers "lack adequate counseling and do not understand basic student loan terms," said Rory O’Sullivan, policy director at Young Invincibles and co-author of a report on the survey.

Friday, October 12, 2012 - 3:00am

The University of Phoenix on Thursday announced an immediate tuition freeze for all new and currently enrolled students. Tuition rates will be locked in for students as they work toward degrees, university officials said, as long as they meet eligibility requirements and stay enrolled. The university said the freeze was an effort to keep tuition levels affordable at Phoenix, which is the largest for-profit institution. Tuition rates vary at the university, but some bachelor's degree programs are $420 per credit.

Friday, October 12, 2012 - 4:22am

"Meatless Monday" is a program embraced at a number of colleges to encourage vegetarian dining one day a week. At California State University at Chico, officials agreed to offer more non-meat meal selections on Mondays, but have decided not to associate their effort with the "Meatless Monday" slogan, The Mercury Register reported. Chico State has an agriculture college and some of its officials and alumni objected to the university associating with an effort seen by some as denigrating the parts of the agriculture industry that produce meat.


Friday, October 12, 2012 - 3:00am

A small group of women in China are protesting discriminatory admissions policies by shaving their heads, ABC News reported. The women are protesting policies under which some universities are admitting men with lower scores on the national admissions test than the minimum required for women at their institutions.

Friday, October 12, 2012 - 3:01pm

William C. Friday, who led the University of North Carolina for three decades and was as close as anyone to being the prototypical college president who was also a national leader, died today at 92. Friday's long and storied career touched most of the major issues in higher education, from academic freedom to integration to big-time college sports, and his personal grace and political instincts proved formidable tools to enable him to handle them deftly. More on Friday's life and career will be published Monday.

In the meantime, here is an appreciation of Friday by a longtime aide and an expert on academic leadership, Art Padilla. And here are some of the news articles and tributes to Friday that have been published in his home state.

Friday, October 12, 2012 - 3:00am

Harvard Law School, which for the past six years has conducted phone interviews with applicants for admission, is switching to videoconferencing. The law school also said that it wants to expand the number of applicants interviewed. "The interviews will give applicants additional opportunities to present themselves, and also to engage with folks here and learn more about the school,” said a statement from Jessica Soban, chief admissions officer. "We expect that these face-to-face conversations will offer candidates a more personal and satisfying way to let the Admissions Office learn about their strengths."I sent harvard a buncg of questions, like how many applicants will get these, will they all have a shot, etc. and the law school is working on answers, so hope to add detail -sj

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 3:00am

Dozens of students at the University of South Alabama protested Wednesday over a recent deadly shooting by a police officer of a naked, unarmed student, the Associated Press reported. The police officer said that the student was charging at him. Since the death, authorities found that the student was on LSD at the time. Critics, including those at Wednesday's protest, said that the police should have used tasers or non-lethal force, and that the student -- by virtue of being naked -- was clearly unarmed. Others held a protest to back the police officer.


Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Susan Perry of the University of California Los Angeles explores how early stability can shape the adult lives of social creatures. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 4:25am

Much of the work of the HathiTrust (a consortium of universities) to make books in university collections more easily searchable and accessible to people with disabilities is protected by "fair use" and is not subject to a copyright suit brought by authors' groups, a federal judge has ruled.

"The totality of the fair-use factors suggest that copyright law’s 'goal of promoting the progress of science ... would be better served by allowing the use than by preventing it," said the ruling by Judge Harold Baer Jr. "The enhanced search capabilities that reveal non-copyright material, the protection of defendants’ fragile books, and, perhaps most importantly, the unprecedented ability of print-disabled individuals to have an equal opportunity to compete with their sighted peers in the ways imagined by the [Americans With Disabilities Act] protect the copies made by defendants as fair use...."

The judge added: "Although I recognize that the facts here may on some levels be without precedent, I am convinced that they fall safely within the protection of fair use such that there is no genuine issue of material fact. I cannot imagine a definition of fair use that would not encompass the transformative uses made by Defendants’ MDP and would require that I terminate this invaluable contribution to the progress of science and cultivation of the arts that at the same time effectuates the ideals espoused by the ADA."

A blog post by James Grimmelmann, a professor at the New York Law School who has followed the case, said that "on every substantive copyright issue, HathiTrust won."


Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 4:28am

In the last year, some politicians and pundits have been questioning the value of a college degree, but data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau are the latest in a long series of statistics to demonstrate that college degrees have strong value in terms of lifetime earnings of recipients. The statistics focus on field of study and also document that certain majors on average result in much higher lifetime earnings than do other majors. In terms of the impact of bachelor's degrees, engineering degrees had the most payoff, while undergraduate majors in visual and performing arts, communications, education and psychology had the smallest payoffs. (A key caveat is that in some of those fields, graduate study is common and becomes the likely determinant of income.)



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