Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 3:00am

Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, vowed Saturday that, as president, he would veto the federal DREAM Act, which would create a path to citizenship for students brought by their parents to the United States without legal authorization who have completed high school and college, Reuters reported. Romney also vowed to oppose state versions of the law that grant such students in-state tuition rates. Governor Rick Perry's defense of such a law in Texas has been controversial with many Republican activists. In his speech Saturday, Romney said: "The question is if I were elected and Congress were to pass the Dream Act, would I veto it and the answer is yes.... For those that come here illegally, the idea of giving them in-state tuition credits or other special benefits, I find to be contrary to the idea of a nation of laws. If I'm the president of the United States I want to end illegal immigration so that we can protect legal immigration. I like legal immigration."


Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 3:00am

An investigation in The New York Times examines the increasingly complicated and increasingly lucrative contracts of head coaches of big-time college football programs. The bulk of compensation typically comes outside of the base salary and total compensation deals are in the multiple millions. The article focuses on the two coaches who will face off next week for the national championship: Nick Saban of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and Les Miles of Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. The coaches can earn $600,000 and $500,000, respectively based on the athletic performance of their teams. They can earn $100,000 and $200,000, respectively, based on meeting certain academic goals for their players.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 3:00am

As the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s annual convention approaches, colleges are mounting substantial opposition to the scholarship reform measures that the Division I Board of Directors put in place this fall. Two weeks ago, the number of Division I colleges petitioning to overturn a rule that allowed for more substantial athletic scholarships reached a tipping point (125), immediately suspending the legislation and putting it up for potential elimination at the upcoming convention. Now, a rule allowing for multi-year scholarships faces a similar fate.

The latter rule seeks to eliminate the one-year limit on athletic scholarships, and the former would allow institutions to provide up to $2,000 per student in additional funds to help fill the gap between what full athletic scholarships now cover and the actual cost of attending college. The number of institutions requesting an override of the multi-year scholarship rule isn’t yet high enough to automatically suspend that legislation, but at least 75 have opposed it, qualifying it for reconsideration at the board’s Jan. 14 convention meeting. There, the board has three options to deal with both rules: eliminate them, do nothing and allow an override vote by all Division I members, or alter the proposals to address the concerns.

According to an NCAA statement, the colleges’ main complaints stemmed from desires to award athletic aid in the same way most academic aid is given out -- annually -- and worries over recruiting bidding wars and additional monitoring to make sure teams don’t over-promise aid. Mark Emmert, the NCAA president, has suggested that both rules can be modified to satisfy the colleges that want an override.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 3:00am

In Texas and in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Governor Rick Perry has boasted of his administration's efforts to promote job growth. As The Bryan/College Station Eagle reported, one of his largest such efforts was a $50 million grant in 2005 to create a business-university biomedical research center. He promised at the time -- when some questioned the size of the investment -- that the state would benefit from thousands of new jobs as well as life-saving medical breakthroughs. The Eagle examined the project today and found that the business that received more than 70 percent of the funds has since eliminated the jobs of half of its employees, and given up its role in the project. The university partner, the Texas A&M University System, has kept the program alive, and the program currently employs nine people.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011 - 4:06pm

Rick Santorum, who is trying to pull off an upset win in the Iowa caucuses for the Republican presidential nomination, is making higher education a target. In a speech in Mason City, Iowa, Santorum said that it is time to examine support for higher education, the Associated Press reported. "Let's look at colleges and universities," he said. "They've become indoctrination centers for the left. Should we be subsidizing that?" He also criticized Harvard University. Noting that its motto is "Veritas," he said that "they haven't seen truth at Harvard in 100 years."


Friday, December 23, 2011 - 3:00am

Colorado Christian University on Thursday became the second institution to sue the Obama administration over the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that private employers cover birth control in their health plans or pay a fine. “The government’s Mandate unconstitutionally coerces Colorado Christian to violate its deeply-held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines and penalties,” the lawsuit says.

It adds that the health care overhaul legislation “forces” the university to “fund government-dictated speech…. Because the government acted with full knowledge of those beliefs, and because it allows plans not to cover these services for a wide range of reasons other than [sic] religion, the Mandate can be interpreted as nothing other than a deliberate attack by the government on the religious beliefs of Colorado Christian and millions of other Americans.” (In some cases, the legislation allows exceptions based on the employer size or the age of the plan, the lawsuit says.)

Colorado Christian’s action follows a similar complaint filed last month by Belmont Abbey College. That lawsuit also alleged that the contraception requirement violates the university’s First Amendment rights. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty filed both suits on behalf of the universities.

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 3:00am

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday hastily withdrew a policy change that would have allowed the agency to deduct from its tuition payments to colleges any debts that student veterans owed the government from their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. The approach, which college officials had learned about this week via e-mail from a regional office of the veterans' agency, caused immediate consternation among campus veterans' education administrators and others, who feared they would then be put in the awkward position of becoming the government's debt collectors from their own students. "[T]he school will get shorted money and be expected to recoup it from the Veterans," one administrator wrote on a listserv for veterans' officials. "This is going to make the schools VERY mad."

A spokesman for the veterans' agency said in a statement late Thursday:  “System changes installed this week allowed for collection of Post-9/11 Bill debts from all education benefit payments issued to or on behalf of the student.  However, because these changes had not been fully vetted, they have been withdrawn effective today.”

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 3:00am
  • Elaine Delk, executive director of community relations at Richland School District Two, in South Carolina, has been selected as executive director of development at Newberry College, also in South Carolina.
  • Eric Jones, interim dean of students at Central College, in Iowa, has been promoted to director of academic resources and class dean there.
  • Sundar Kumarasamy, vice president for enrollment management at the University of Dayton, in Ohio, has been named vice president for enrollment management and marketing there.
  • Theodore (Ted) Rappaport, William and Bettye Nowlin Chair of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, has been named David Lee/Ernst Weber Chair of Electrical Engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.
  • Jacaranda Van Rheenen, postdoctoral recruiter for academic programs in biomedical sciences at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, in Tennessee, has been chosen as assistant dean for graduate academic affairs at Washington University in St. Louis.

    The appointments above are drawn from Inside Higher Ed's job changes database. To submit news about job changes, please click here.

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 4:57am

Lincoln Memorial University's law school on Thursday sued the American Bar Association, charging that its decision this week to deny accreditation to the school violated federal antitrust laws and denied it due process. The law school argues that it met all of the accreditor's standards and that the ABA acted against it to protect its current members from competition.

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Fred Caporaso of Chapman University explains the science behind a great food and wine pairing. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.


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