Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON -- As the days tick down until the rates on subsidized student loans will double to 6.8 percent on June 1, Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, proposed a bill that would set the interest rate for federally subsidized student loans at the same rate as the Federal Reserve's discount rate to banks -- currently 0.75 percent. The rate would be good for one year, to give Congress time to come up with a long-term fix. The loans would be funded by the Federal Reserve.

Congressional Republicans and President Obama have called for a market-based interest rate based on the government's cost to borrow, but the interest rate from those solutions would be a few percentage points higher than Warren's proposed 0.75 percent.

Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 3:00am

An instructor at Barnard College has thrown out several quizzes and added a final exam in response to cheating allegations.  In a statement via e-mail, Barnard's vice provost, Hilary Link, said that "the college takes all allegations of cheating seriously. In this particular situation, college procedure was followed in that the professor, in consultation with relevant committees and her department chair, discounted quizzes because of a serious concern that academic integrity may have been compromised. In accordance with college policy, the professor supplemented the course assessment with a final exam. To date, no Barnard students have been identified as having cheated."

 

Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 3:00am

Students at Cooper Union took over the office of President Jamshed Bharucha on Wednesday, while he was not there. Students say that they are angry not only at the move to start charging tuition, but their sense that they have been left out of decision-making at the university. A spokeswoman for Cooper Union said that the protest was "a peaceful non-violent action and we continue discussions with students."

Here is a video made by students in the protest outlining their views:

 

 

The students are also documenting the protest on Twitter.

 

Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 3:00am

Strayer University this summer will begin offering a scholarship under which undergraduates can earn a free senior year if they stick with their degree programs, the for-profit institution announced this week. Students will qualify for a free course credit for every three they compete, and can earn the full 25 percent discount on a degree as long as they do not take two consecutive quarters off. The "graduate fund" builds on a new tuition freeze and an existing, substantial scholarship program the university created last year. Several major for-profits have discounted their prices amid a general trend of declining enrollment.

Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 3:00am

Stephen Hawking on Wednesday stunned Israelis and set off a day of mixed reports about his motives for calling off plans to attend a major conference in Israel next month. But by the end of the day, it appeared clear that he was honoring the boycott of Israel set up by some pro-Palestinian groups. Early Wednesday, word spread that Hawking was going to skip the conference due to the boycott, but then a spokesman for the University of Cambridge, where Hawking is on the faculty, told The Guardian that the reason the visit had been called off was the scientist's health. Subsequently, the spokesman said he had been wrong, and that Hawking did want to honor the boycott.

The Guardian printed an excerpt from a letter Hawking sent to conference organizers in which he said: "I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference. Had I attended, I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster."

The decision of Hawking to honor the boycott was greeted as a huge boost to the movement to encourage scholars and others to stay away from Israel. For Israelis and supporters, to have such a prominent scientist honor the boycott -- which has been criticized as antithetical to academic values by many American scholarly groups -- was a major blow.

 

Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 3:00am

A low level of educational attainment is the one common characteristic of California's working poor, according to a new report from the Campaign for College Opportunity, a California-based advocacy group. About one in five adult Californians have not earned a high school degree or its equivalent, the report said, and the state is facing a workforce shortage of 2.3 million college graduates by 2025. To help fix the problem the group recommended better coordination between the state's K-12 and higher education systems as well as a statewide data system to track students' progress.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 3:00am

Higher One, a company best known for streamlining the process by which colleges channel federal aid funds to students, said Tuesday that it has agreed to purchase the Campus Solutions arm of Sallie Mae that two years ago sought to compete with it. Higher One valued the purchase of the Sallie Mae business -- which works with campus business offices on billing payment solutions, refund disbursement services, and tuition payment plan administration -- at $47.25 million. Higher One has been growing; last year it bought Campus Labs, a student affairs analytics company.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 3:00am

Many faculty members and students are expressing outrage at the Sigma Chi fraternity at Willamette University after a blog posted information about what fraternity brothers were posting on what they thought was a private Facebook page, The Statesman Journal reported. One post called for a female administrator to be kicked in the genitals. Another post discussed the need to "beat" a female student. Another said that "women's rights are the biggest joke in the U.S." On Monday, some students protested, while local police responded to reports of a car's tire being slashed on the campus. Stephen Thorsett, the president, sent an e-mail to the campus denouncing the tire slashing and the Facebook posts.

 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, JeffriAnne Wilder of the University of North Florida explains the continued existence of colorism and skin tone bias within minority communities. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 3:00am

Colgate University will today formally transfer ownership of more than 100 pieces of art to Curtin University, in Australia, The New York Times reported. The collection consists of paintings and drawings by Aboriginal children who were living in a settlement camp in Australia in the 1940s and 1950s. The art is considered by experts to be "so distinctive and so technically sophisticated that it received considerable acclaim when it toured Europe in the 1950s," the Times reported. The collection came to Colgate when an alumnus donated it in 1966, but most of the art has been out of view. Colgate officials said that they saw the transfer as a just tribute to the artists and a way to build ties to an Australian university.

 

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