Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 21, 2013

Authorities have charged Anthony Joseph Mastrippolito, a student at Palm Beach State College, with a series of phone threats to murder the dean of students, The Sun Sentinel reported. A police report cited more than a dozen calls that said things like "I'm going to murder you," and "You're dead. I'm going to kill you." Mastrippolito was reportedly angry over a trespass charge related to previous harassing calls. He could not be reached for comment as he is in jail.

October 21, 2013

Tuskegee University on Saturday announced the resignation, effective immediately, of President Gilbert L. Rochon. The announcement gave no reason for the departure of Rochon, who has been in office three years. Matthew Jenkins, a board member, will serve as interim president. Tuskegee referred questions to an outside public relations company, which declined to comment on the sudden change.

 

October 21, 2013

A 34,000-student university in Chile affiliated with Laureate Education, Inc. has received notification from the National Accreditation Commission that its institutional accreditation will not be renewed at the end of its current three-year term. The Universidad de las Américas plans to appeal the decision, which -- if it stands – would mean that new students would be ineligible for government loans or grants.

The university has not yet received the report from the accreditor indicating the reasons for the decision, said Matt Yale, a Laureate spokesman. He’s confident of the university’s chances for a successful appeal nonetheless. 

“We are very confident because this is a really great university with a world-class management team, commitment to student outcomes, and a track record of operating a very good university,” Yale said.

Laureate, a for-profit university system, has grown its overseas footprint rapidly in recent years, expanding to operate 78 institutions in 30 countries. It operates six higher education institutions in Chile, including three full-fledged universities.

Laureate is not the only multinational for-profit education operator to face accreditation woes in Chile. In 2012, the National Accreditation Commission rescinded its approval of the Universidad de Artes, Ciencias y Comunicación, which is operated by Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix.
 

October 21, 2013

Cricket -- a sport popular in Britain and the countries that were once ruled by Britain -- is growing on American campuses, The Boston Globe reported. The first American college championship of club teams took place in 2009, with five teams. Now there are 70 such teams. While most players come from countries such as India and Pakistan, where cricket remains very popular, some of those learning the game and embracing it are Americans.

 

October 18, 2013

Grambling State University football players boycotted practice for the second straight day on Thursday, prompting campus administrators to reassign the team's interim football coach to other duties within the athletics department and put an assistant coach in charge, the Monroe News-Star reported. Grambling players have been unhappy at the early season firing of the team's head coach, Doug Williams, a former Washington Redskins quarterback, and complained about 1,000-mile bus trips required for away games in recent weeks, and their frustrations boiled over Wednesday when they walked out of a meeting with university administrators and boycotted practice, USA Today reported.

October 18, 2013

Engineering programs at Kansas State and Oklahoma State Universities and the University of Oklahoma will benefit from a stock gift valued at more than $200 million, the institutions announced Thursday. The three universities' foundations have received privately held stock from Dolese Bros. Co., a construction materials company, and that the company will buy back $500,000 worth of the stock each year, with the goal of improving the engineering programs and increasing the number of graduates they produce. (Note: This article has been updated to correct the names of the institutions receiving the gift.)

October 18, 2013

Two weeks after Howard University's president announced he would step down this year after five years in office, the university's Faculty Senate voted no confidence in the board, The Washington Post reported. "The no-confidence vote again focused a spotlight on a board that has had recent internal disputes," the newspaper said. 

October 18, 2013

Hours after the Westfield State University board placed President Evan Dobelle on paid leave and ordered another investigation of his questionable spending, the Massachusetts public university named its academic affairs vice president, Elizabeth Preston, as interim leader, MassLive reported.

October 18, 2013

Middlebury College has suspended for one year a student who was involved in removing and throwing into the garbage flags placed on the campus last month to commemorate the Sept. 11 attacks. In a statement on the college's website, officials said that the individual was believed to be the only student among five people who carried out the vandalism of what has become an annual commemoration at Middlebury (as on many campuses). The protesters said they were objecting to American imperialism.

The college's statement said that Middlebury's "community judicial board" had found the student responsible for violating standards relating to general conduct and respect for people and property. The one-year suspension was upheld on appeal, the statement said.

October 18, 2013

Students who completed an undergraduate program in 2007-8 were more likely to borrow money to pay for college but less likely to be repaying those loans within a year of graduation compared with their counterparts who graduated in 1992-93 and 1999-2000, a new federal report shows.

The report, released Thursday, analyzes the borrowing and repayment trends of bachelor’s degree recipients within a year of graduation for three cohorts of students. The data were collected through the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study from the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, which, like the rest of the federal government, returned to work on Thursday.

The study found that the percentage of college graduates who borrowed for their undergraduate education rose in each successive cohort from 49 percent (1993) to 64 percent (2000) to 66 percent (2008). The average cumulative debt of graduates also increased in each successive cohort. The number of borrowers repaying their loans within a year of graduation dipped in 2009 to 60 percent, compared with 66 and 65 percent in the previous cohorts. At the same time, the percentage of graduates not in repayment but who still owed money on their student loans (due to either deferments, forbearances or default) rose.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • One in four students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2008 had enrolled in graduate school a year later, which represents a slight increase from previous cohorts. However, across all three cohorts, students’ decision to attend graduate school within a year of graduation was not correlated with how much debt they had already incurred.
  • Student debt levels were also not correlated with a graduate’s decision to move back with parents or other family within a year of graduation (only in cases in which the student left home for college in the first place). That scenario played out at a higher rate (27 percent) for the 2008 graduates than for their 2000 counterparts (18 percent) but at the same rate as 1993 graduates.

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