Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

January 13, 2014

Most universities lose money on research, according to an analysis published in the journal Technology and Innovation - Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors. The study notes that universities seek (and receive) research grants from the federal government and other sources. But the study says that these grants cover such a small share of "indirect costs" of research -- such as staffing, equipment and facilities -- that typically institutions lose money. The authors of the paper are Karen Holbrook, former president of Ohio State University, and Paul R. Sanberg, senior vice president for research and innovation at the University of South Florida.

January 13, 2014

The University of Colorado at Denver does not plan to seek the dismissal of an administrator who was placed on leave after the revelation that she was running a phone sex service, CBS Denver 4 reported. The TV network has also found that she ran an escort service. The administrator -- Resa Cooper-Morning, cultural diversity coordinator in the university's ethnic studies department -- has declined to comment, and her lawyer has denied any wrongdoing.

A spokesman for the university said: "We’ve been unable to establish that Ms. Cooper-Morning engaged in criminal activity nor have we been able to determine that she operated her outside businesses while on the job. The university does not condone Ms. Cooper-Morning's activities, but under the law, there are limits on actions that employers can take regarding off-duty conduct of employees. In the absence of additional information, Ms. Cooper-Morning remains employed by the university."

January 13, 2014

Pennsylvania State University earned more ($2.7 million) on credit card royalties and fees than did any other college or university, according to an analysis by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The newspaper used reports required by a new federal law. But the analysis also found that the number of accounts on which Penn State is paid is going down -- from 65,955 in December 2011 to 60,490 in December 2012.

January 10, 2014

The University of Wisconsin System has a new president -- and like his two most recent predecessors, he was an internal candidate. The system's Board of Regents on Thursday selected Raymond W. Cross, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension, as the system's new leader. Cross, who has been in Wisconsin since 2011, replaces Kevin C. Reilly, who resigned to take a leadership position at the American Council on Education after months of rocky relations with legislators over the system's finances.

Reilly had the same job -- as chancellor of the system's network of two-year colleges, online programs and community services -- before he became UW's president. His predecessor, Katherine C. Lyall, was the system's chief academic officer before she became president.

January 10, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Minna Huotilainen of the University of Helsinki explains why it may never be too early to introduce a baby to music. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

January 10, 2014

Top Obama administration officials on Thursday held a meeting at the Treasury Department with more than a dozen financial institutions and loan servicing entities to discuss ways to improve the private student loan market. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray and Acting Deputy Treasury Secretary Mary Miller were among the administration officials and government regulators who met with executives from the largest student lenders and servicers.

“Participants discussed strategies to assist borrowers in successfully managing their private student loans, including servicing best practices and approaches to private student loan modifications and refinancing,” according to the Treasury Department’s account of the closed-door meeting.

Miller urged the banks and loan servicing companies “to continue their efforts to expand options for repayment in the private student loan marketplace,” the department said. "Private student lenders and servicers can and should do more to offer more affordable repayment options so borrowers can avoid default," Cordray said in a statement after the meeting.  

Cordray’s agency has been critical about some practices in the private student loan market. The CFPB previously raised concerns about problems with the servicing of private student loans, especially with regard to military service members. Starting in March, the bureau will begin more closely monitoring of the largest student loan servicing companies. Private lenders and loan servicers have also drawn scrutiny from consumer advocates and several members of Congress. A group of Senate Democrats is pushing legislation by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois that would increase regulation of private student loans and how companies service those loans.

Attending the meeting from the private student loan industry included executives from: Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, RBS Citizens Financial, PNC Financial Services, CommonBond, SunTrust Banks, Discover Financial Services, American Education Services (also known as the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency), Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation, and the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority.

January 10, 2014

Career Colleges of America, a three-campus institution that focuses on medical training, appears ready to close its doors, The Press-Enterprise reported. The newspaper said that the for-profit institution faced significant financial problems, including having been put on "cash management" status by the U.S. Department of Education. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training had formally alerted the college's officials Wednesday that its accreditation had been revoked. Officials from the institution could not be reached for comment, but an official of the state's for-profit-college association told the Press-Enterprise that he believed the institution was poised to close.

 

 

January 10, 2014

The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating a federal complaint alleging that Lehigh University failed to respond to race-related harassment on campus, the institution confirmed Thursday. The complaint, first reported by The Morning Call, was filed by a 1977 Lehigh graduate who says the university did not report vandalism of a multi-cultural residence hall as a hate crime. Instead, the complaint says, officials classified the November 2013 incident in which the house was allegedly egged and spray-painted with racial slurs as criminal mischief, which is not required to be reported under the Clery Act.

Lehigh said in a statement that it will “fully cooperate” with the investigation, “and will work with OCR to achieve our goal of making Lehigh a more diverse and inclusive community. Lehigh has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion and, with strong engagement by students, faculty, staff and the administration, has accelerated our efforts with a number of initiatives underway.”

January 10, 2014

A federal study tracking a cohort of high school sophomores over 10 years shows that about half had a postsecondary credential, that those who went straight to college after high school were far likelier to earn a degree, and that the bachelor's degree holders among them were less likely to be unemployed or to have lost a job since 2006.

The report, published by the National Center for Education Statistics and drawn from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, examines a range of employment and other outcomes a decade later for students who were high school sophomores that year. Among the findings:

  • A third (33 percent) of the 2002 high school sophomores had earned a bachelor's degree or higher, another 9 percent had associate degrees, 10 percent had undergraduate-level certificates, and 32 percent had attended college but lacked a credential. Forty-two percent of fhose who went to college within three months of completing high school had earned a bachelor's degree, and 11 percent had earned a master's.
  • Of those who went to college, 40 percent had no student loan debt, 36 percent had borrowed less than $25,000, and 11 percent had more than $50,000 in student loans.
  • Those with some kind of postsecondary credential were less likely to be unemployed (11.8 percent, vs. 25.9 percent of those who did not complete high school and 15 percent who had only a high school diploma), and to have received public assistance (26.2 percent, vs. 47.2 and 32.4 percent, respectively).
January 9, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Wing Yee (VerBon) Cheung of the University of Southampton explains why how we think about the past can influence attitudes about the future. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

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