Higher Education Quick Takes
"No loans" policies -- in which students with family incomes below certain levels receive grants in place of loans --have resulted in colleges that adopted them seeing gains in the percentage of students eligible for Pell Grants, says a report being released today by the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Private institutions saw a 1.7 percentage point average gain in Pell-eligible students, while publics saw a 1.3 percentage point increase. While the report praises these programs, it also identifies dangers in them. "When well-publicized, these programs have the potential to generate greater interest among high-achieving low-income students," the report says. "When this occurs, enrollment management professionals may be tempted to use these aid programs as a marketing strategy that simply drums up interest among the highest-achieving low-income students. As a result of this increased demand, opportunistic colleges may try to 'skim' the top low-income students without actually changing the total proportion of low-income students on campus."
The former University of Nebraska women’s basketball player who told police last month that three men broke into her house, pinned her down and carved anti-gay slurs on her body faked the attack, officers said Tuesday. Charlie Rogers, a lesbian who holds the Cornhusker record for second-most blocked shots ever at the university, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to filing a false police report, but officers told the Associated Press the attack was a hoax in which Rogers cut her own chest, legs, buttocks and abdomen. In identifying a motive, police pointed to this message Rogers had posted on her Facebook page four days earlier: "So maybe I am too idealistic, but I believe way deep inside me that we can make things better for everyone. I will be a catalyst. I will do what it takes. I will. Watch me.” Like many of the fake hate crimes put on by college students looking to make a political statement or meet some personal ends, Rogers’s hoax prompted broad, public support for the alleged victim. Rogers’s lawyer said the former player stands by her report, which she made amid a local debate over a proposed city ordinance that would ban discrimination against LGBT people, and “has no reason to lie about what happened.”
Colleges in the Golden State would be prohibited from requesting access to students’ social media accounts under legislation passed Tuesday by the California Senate. Gov. Jerry Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign the bill, SB 1349, into law. Similar legislation passed in Delaware last month, and another bill passed the Maryland Senate but ultimately stalled. Colleges including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Louisville have come under criticism recently for monitoring athletes’ social media activities (with the students’ knowledge) by demanding access to their accounts, requiring them to “friend” athletics department employees on Facebook, and using software to monitor who publishes words such as “drunk driving” and “drugs.” Some of the bills, including the one in California, have been counterparts to legislation prohibiting employers from regulating employees’ social media use.
The families of the donors who gave Columbia University $400,000 in 1927 to build Casa Italiana are suing the university, arguing that it has ignored the intent of the gift, Bloomberg reported. The purpose was to create a center for study of the Italian language and culture, the suit argues. Instead, the university has placed a research center there that, though focused on Italy, runs many programs that are "elitist and detached, European and international." Further, the suit charges that some of the programs play on Italian-American stereotypes. One such program identified in the complaint was called "What’ya mean I’m funny? Ball-busting Humor and Italian American Masculinities," A Columbia spokesman said that the university does not comment on litigation.
The University of Texas at Austin is in negotiations about joining two prominent organizations that offer MOOCs (or massive open online courses), The Texas Tribune reported. The two are Coursera and edX. Texas officials said that the outcome of the negotiations could be announced in a few weeks.
Regent University announced Wednesday that it plans to filed a trademark complaint against the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia for naming two merged institutions Georgia Regents University, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Before the Georgia regents voted on the name, Regent University expressed concern about the plan. The Georgia system declined to comment. Georgia Regents University combines Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences Universities.
A recently released poll of education leaders, including lawmakers and current and former Education Department staff, found that most think Mitt Romney's selection of Representative Paul Ryan as a running mate isn't terribly significant for education -- except for the future of the Pell Grant. "Education is not Paul Ryan's thing and he's not likely to focus on it," said one respondent, according to Whiteboard Advisors, which released the poll Wednesday. But because Ryan's budget would force changes to Pell, several suggested that program -- for better or worse -- could be a policy focus in a Romney/Ryan administration.
The most famous line in the movie "Dirty Dancing" is "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." Karlstad University, in Sweden, is debating whether neon artwork with that line belongs on its new library, The Local reported. Åsa Bergenheim, the rector, has defended the artwork. "It means that we straighten our backs and give our best because we are capable," she said. Bergenheim said she wasn't concerned about skeptics of placing the quote on the library building. "There are always critical voices when it the university is concerned. Words are obviously very controversial as art," she said. But some at the university have taken to denouncing the placement of the quote, with one person calling the decision to decorate the library in this way "the most stupid thing I have seen in ages."
Greg Williams resigned, effective immediately, as president of the University of Cincinnati on Tuesday, stunning the campus, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. Williams, in office just under three years, cited personal reasons, but did not elaborate.