Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

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Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 3:00am

Metropolitan Community College in Nebraska failed to comply with numerous provisions of federal financial aid rules and should be forced to repay at least $233,000 to the government, the U.S. Education Department's inspector general said in an audit this month. Among other things, the agency said, the two-year college improperly disbursed federal aid to students who did not have high school diplomas or had not passed ability-to-benefit tests, to students who exceeded the maximum number of allowable credit hours of remedial coursework, and students who did not satisfy academic progress requirements. College officials disputed some of the inspector general's findings, which will go to Education Secretary Arne Duncan for potential action.


Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 3:00am

Lon Morris College, a private, two-year institution in Texas, has placed all but 11 employees on furloughs, KLTV reported. Miles McCall, the president, has resigned. College officials said that they have called off the two summer sessions that had been planned. Consultants will work this summer on a plan to restore the college to financial health. Employees have also been told that the college stopped paying for health insurance, so they should expect termination of their insurance soon.

Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Michael Gottfried of Michigan State University reveals advances in our understanding of Africa’s Great Rift Valley and the implications for the study of human evolution. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 3:00am

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the State Higher Education Executive Officers have created a panel to study the regulation of distance education. The commission will be led by Richard W. Riley, the former secretary of education. The issue of how the federal and state governments regulate online programs has grown increasingly fractious in the wake of new rules crafted by the Obama administration.

Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 3:00am

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is today announcing $50 million in grants to help 47 small colleges and universities collaborate to improve their science curriculums, involve more students in undergraduate research, prepare more K-12 science teachers, and increase diversity of science students. The grants range in size from $800,000 to $1.5 million.

Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 4:37am

Harvard University's alumni association is apologizing for including submissions from the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, in the directory for the 50th reunion for the Class of 1962, of which he is a member. The Associated Press reported that the association has said that it regrets "any distress that it may have caused others" to have included the entries, in which Kaczynski describes his occupation as "prisoner" and his awards as "eight life sentences."

Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 4:39am

A survey of 500 college students has found that 67 percent can't go more than an hour without using some sort of digital technology, and that 40 percent can't go more than 10 minutes. The independently conducted survey was prepared for CourseSmart, which sells e-textbooks on behalf of leading publishers. The survey found that students today are more likely to bring a laptop to class than to bring a textbook.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 3:00am

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney released a list of his education advisory committee Tuesday, including several veterans of George W. Bush's administration (among them former Education Secretary Rod Paige). Romney's higher education co-chairs are Phil Handy, former chairman of the Florida Board of Education, and Bill Hansen, a former deputy education secretary; for vocational education, he is seeking advice from Carol D'Amico, formerly an assistant education secretary and executive vice president of Ivy Tech Community College, and Emily DeRocco, formerly assistant secretary for employment and training at the Labor Department.

Higher education has not featured strongly in the former Massachusetts governor's campaign so far, although Romney has supported an extension of the 3.4 percent interest rate for subsidized student loans.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Melissa Gibbs of Stetson University explains how an invasive species of catfish is making life hard for the manatees of Florida. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 3:00am

Students from different racial, ethnic, socioeconomic backgrounds and at urban and non-urban institutions performed comparably on the Collegiate Learning Assessment after researchers controlled for pre-college academic preparation, according to a study released Tuesday by the Council for Independent Colleges. The study, conducted by Josipa Roksa, a University of Virginia sociologist and co-author of Academically Adrift, examines the performance on the CLA of students from a range of backgrounds at two sets of urban and non-urban independent colleges that belong to CIC. While "descriptive results" of students' performance on the exam have appeared to show that first-generation, black and Latino, and Pell-eligible students perform less well than their peers, the researchers find that when they control for students' incoming academic preparation, there are no meaningful gaps in the performance of those groups.


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