Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, April 30, 2012 - 4:18am

In 2009, Georgia Institute of Technologies uploaded sensitive information about U.S. military technologies to servers, where the information could be accessed worldwide, even though that information was supposed to be blocked to non-Americans, Bloomberg reported. The incident prompted a rebuke from the U.S. State Department. The security lapse, which wasn't intentional, came when the instructor for a course for federal employees and contractors, asked that course materials be placed on a DVD, and Georgia Tech staffers instead uploaded the material to servers. The article uses the Georgia Tech incident as an example of the potential problems faced when sensitive course material is shared on American campuses with traditions of openness.

 

Monday, April 30, 2012 - 3:00am

Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, vetoed a bill Friday that would have allowed the University of Florida and Florida State University -- research universities where tuition rates lag national averages -- to increase tuition substantially. In his veto message, Governor Scott cited concerns about the impact of tuition increase on students and their families, and a need for more information on whether tuition increases would provide an appropriate "return" for Florida taxpayers. Florida State and University of Florida had lobbied hard for passage of the bill, arguing that they needed more money to achieve the state's aspirations for them as research universities. The veto comes amid deep budget cuts to the state's universities. Following the veto, Bernie Machen, president of the University of Florida, issued a statement saying that he was "so very disappointed" in the governor's action. "This legislation presented the University of Florida with a pathway toward excellence and would have enabled the great state of Florida to have two world-class universities."

Monday, April 30, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, G. Thomas Couser of Hofstra University explains how memoir is often the precursor of social change and the increased acceptance of minority groups. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Monday, April 30, 2012 - 3:00am

Thirteen students at six California State University campuses are planning a hunger strike, vowing to fast until the university system freezes tuition, cuts spending on administrators and agrees to various other measures, The Los Angeles Times reported. "We've tried pretty much everything, and they just ignore us," said Donnie Bessom, a student at Cal State Long Beach. "We've talked to state legislators, written petitions, mobilized people on campus. The next step for us is in the tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience. They keep raising salaries and have those other luxuries, and we thought the symbolic nature of a hunger strike was appropriate to the crisis."

Monday, April 30, 2012 - 3:00am

The union for tenured and tenure-track faculty members at Macomb Community College, which has been independent of national unions since its founding in 1967, has voted to affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers. Dawn Roberts, president of the Macomb Community College Faculty Organization, issued a statement in which she said: "MCCFO is a strong and effective union. But with the mounting attacks on unions and public K-16 education, it is imperative that we affiliate with the larger labor movement in order to remain viable and effective. AFT brings broad experience, effective representation, and technical expertise that will be of great benefit to our members."

Friday, April 27, 2012 - 4:35am

The vice dean of the University of Pennsylvania's graduate school of education resigned Thursday, a day after Penn officials placed him on leave amid reports that he did not actuall have the doctorate he had claimed to have, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Friday, April 27, 2012 - 3:00am

Northern Virginia Community College is the latest two-year institution to announce a partnership with the University of Phoenix, with the announcement yesterday of a transfer agreement. Students from the community college will get a tuition discount when they transfer to Phoenix, according to a news release. They will also be able to tap the for-profit provider's prior learning assessment offerings, which can grant college credit for prior training and work experience. President Obama, who has often been critical of for-profits, has visited Northern Virginia five times for photo ops and to give speeches. Jill Biden, the vice president's wife, is a professor at the college.

Friday, April 27, 2012 - 4:50am

Portland State University warned students and employees on Thursday that it had suspended a graduate student and barred him from the campus after he had allegedly made "threats of violence against the PSU community," The Oregonian reported.

Friday, April 27, 2012 - 3:00am

The Education Department just finished two rounds of negotiated rule making on financial aid issues -- one on student loan regulations and one on the rules that govern financial aid for teacher preparation programs -- but is already planning a third. The department will focus on creating new regulations to prevent fraud in financial aid programs, as well as possibly changing financial aid delivery to electronic funds transfers. The department may also "update and streamline" the rules for campus-based financial aid programs, such as Perkins Loans and Federal Work-Study, wrote David Bergeron, deputy assistant secretary for policy, planning, and innovation in the department's Office of Postsecondary Education.

Public hearings on the rule making process are scheduled for May 23 in Phoenix and May 31 in Washington, D.C.

Friday, April 27, 2012 - 3:00am

Simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid would have little effect on eligibility for need-based state grants, according to a College Board study that could allay the concerns about relying only on Internal Revenue Service data -- not a more detailed listing of a student or parent's income and assets -- when awarding financial aid. The authors of the report, "Simplifying Student Aid: What It Would Mean For States," examined the possible consequences of relying only on data transferred from the IRS, which would make filling out the complex form much less difficult for students. (Some fear that the application process itself discourages students who would qualify for need-based financial aid.)

In a sample of five states that award need-based grants, the simpler form would have little effect: the number of eligible students decreased by less than 1 percent in Kentucky and Ohio and would increase slightly in Minnesota, Texas and Vermont, the study's authors found.

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