Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, October 6, 2011 - 3:00am

Education Management Corp. today asked a federal judge in Pittsburgh to throw out a whistleblower lawsuit in which the U.S. Justice Department has alleged that the company violated federal law by providing financial incentives for admissions officers. The department's complaint states that EDMC, a large for-profit college company, was ineligible for $11 billion in state and federal financial aid it received from students over eight years. The company, in its filing, said that the government's claims are "legally flawed and factually insufficient," and that the government is attempting to use "overblown criticism of lawful recruiting actions" to distract from those deficiencies.

Bonnie Campbell, a lawyer and former Iowa attorney general who represents the company, said in a written statement that the "narrow legal issue" in the case is whether the sole basis for compensating admissions officers was enrollment numbers.

"Federal regulations issued in 2002 expressly permitted companies to consider enrollment numbers when determining admission officer salaries, as long as compensation was not based solely on enrollment numbers," Campbell said. "The company’s compensation plan complied with the law by requiring the consideration of five quality factors along with enrollments to determine salaries, and the company took a number of steps to ensure that the compensation plan was properly followed."

Thursday, October 6, 2011 - 3:00am

Tomas Tranströmer, a Swedish poet, was this morning named winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature. He was honored, the Nobel citation said, "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality." A list of his publications (including those in English translation) may be found here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of California at Berkeley has reported several cases of mumps among students. Outbreaks of mumps have been relatively rare on campus, but there were several outbreaks in 2006.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Daniel Shechtman was this morning named winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work discovering quasicrystals -- research in which Shechtman has "to fight a fierce battle against established science," according to the Nobel announcement. Shechtman is Philip Tobias Professor of Materials Science at Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Increasing numbers of out-of-state students at the University of Colorado at Boulder are filing petitions to get in-state status, and The Boulder Daily Camera reported that a new business is helping some of them -- for a fee. Tuition Angels will help students with all of the paperwork, and then will take a cut of the savings. Students only pay if they gain residency (which most who file petitions do anyway). But those who gain residency pledge to pay 10 percent of what they would have paid in out-of-state tuition rates, each semester -- a bill that could come to $2,885 a year.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Ontario may be losing its status as being the focal point of Canadian higher education, The Ottawa Citizen reported. The article noted the traditional strength of Ontario universities, but then reviewed how Western universities -- such as the University of Alberta and the University of British Columbia -- are outperforming their Eastern counterparts in attracting endowed chairs and research funds from the government.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 3:00am

David Willetts, the minister in charge of higher education in Britain's government, held meetings with officials of for-profit higher education companies prior to releasing the country's plan to restructure higher education, BBC reported. Many academics have criticized the plan for failing to provide adequate support for the country's universities, and have questioned his encouragement for for-profit higher education. Among the companies whose officials he met: Education Management Corp. and Apollo Group.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Stephen Magee of the University of Texas at Austin discusses his efforts
to calculate the optimum number of lawyers required for economic efficiency. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 3:00am

In a close vote, faculty members at Youngstown State University have approved a new contract that contains a number of concessions, The Vindicator reported. Details have not been released to the public but the newspaper reported that the deal includes no raises for the first two years of the contract and a 2 percent raise in the third year, increases in employee health benefit contributions and reductions in pay for teaching in the summer.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 3:00am

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry will be announced this morning. This item will be updated as soon as the winners are announced.

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