Higher Education Quick Takes
The U.S. House of Representative last week passed legislation that would bar anyone outside the U.S. from receiving a student visa to enroll at an unaccredited institution. The measure provides an exemption if the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has certified a new institution that has not yet obtained accreditation from an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The legislation was prompted by recent scandals involving institutions in California that have attracted foreign students without accreditation.
The president and board chairman at Pennsylvania State University agreed to accept an unprecedented set of penalties imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association because the NCAA's leaders insisted that the association was poised to shut down the football program for several years, ESPN reported. The article provides more details than have previously been reported on the secretive negotiations that unfolded between the NCAA's president, Mark Emmert, and a small set of institutional leaders at Penn State.
According to ESPN, Emmert on several occasions told Rodney Erickson, Penn State's president, that most members of the NCAA's Division I Board of Directors favored barring the Nittany Lion football team from competing for four years. The article describes efforts by Penn State representatives -- without the knowledge of most of the university's trustees -- to persuade the NCAA to do otherwise, because they believed shuttering the program for that long would be too devastating. The article outlines the concerns of some Penn State officials (and other observers) that Emmert and the NCAA had overstepped their bounds by eliciting a remarkably punitive set of penalties by threatening an even tougher one.
The article quotes Gene Marsh, a lawyer and former NCAA official who represented Penn State, as saying: "In federal bankruptcy court, there is a concept of a cram-down -- a judge tells creditors, 'Here's the deal, this is all you are going to get, a few pennies on the dollar, and you should be happy with that.' You know, take it or leave it, because you don't really have any choice.... [T]his was the NCAA equivalent of a cram-down."
As expected, the college presidents who manage Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association on Thursday put off a vote on its proposed new enforcement model. But it did “endorse” the recommendations of the working group that produced them, and suggested that the changes will indeed take effect Aug. 1, 2013. do you mean august 1, 2013? dl *** yes. so we don't have to specify the year, right? Or is it close enough to Aug. 1 that clarification would be helpful? Whichever is our style. -ag ---idk but I went ahead and added year for clarity, hope that's ok SG “Our intention is to make this real in October,” at the next meeting of the Division I Board of Directors, Ed Ray, president of Oregon State University and chair of the working group, said in a statement.
The recommendations would give enforcement officials and the Committee on Infractions more flexibility in how they handle NCAA violations. They include:
- Switching from a two-tiered to a four-tiered violation structure. The most egregious violations, including those that “seriously undermine or threaten the integrity of the NCAA enduring values” of athlete success, the collegiate model, amateurism and competitive equity, would be classified as Level I violations: Severe breach of conduct. The least serious violations -- minor infractions that are “inadvertent and isolated, technical in nature and result in a negligible, if any, competitive advantage,” will be considered Level IV: Incidental Issue.
- Increasing the size of the Committee on Infractions from 10 to 24 to allow for more regular hearings and faster resolution of cases.
- Expanding the make-up of the panel to include university presidents and other administrators, athletic department officials, former coaches, conference officials, faculty members and citizens with a legal background.
- Creating new penalty guidelines regarding the NCAA’s code of conduct. These would give the committee “some discretion, although limited, in prescribing penalties while also assuring stronger and consistently applied penalties."
- Creating a means for the committee to hold accountable and punish coaches, who “set the tone and culture for compliance within the program.”
While women still make up only 18 percent of business school deans, there are signs of progress, The Wall Street Journal reported. Many deans move up from associate dean positions. There, women have increased from representing 20 percent to one-third of the population. And female associate deans report that search committees appear interested in encouraging their candidacies for dean's jobs.
Jerry Wang, the CEO of Herguan University, a for-profit California institution, has been indicted on 15 counts of visa fraud, The San Jose Mercury News reported. The charges relate to what prosecutors term a conspiracy to attract foreign students to the university by helping them obtain visas, sometimes fraudulently. Most of the university's 450 students are from India. Federal authorities have started the process of revoking the university's right to certify foreign students as one step in the process of obtaining student visas.
Wheaton College, the evangelical Christian college in Illinois, has filed suit again over the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employer-provided health plans cover contraception -- including emergency contraception -- at no charge to consumers, which took effect Wednesday. While church-affiliated employers, including Roman Catholic and some Protestant colleges, have an additional year to comply with the requirement, Wheaton does not qualify for the temporary reprieve, said the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Wheaton is excluded because its health plans already cover some forms of birth control; the college's objection is to the emergency contraception requirement, since it believes those pills can prevent a human embryo from implanting.
The Becket Fund filed a motion on Whetaon's behalf Wednesday for a preliminary injunction against the law.
Ralph Wager, a former soccer coach at Catawba College, has been indicated on charges of sexually abusing a boy in 1987 and 1989, when the alleged victim was 9 and 11 years old and was involved in a sports activity on the campus, The Charlotte Observer reported. Authorities believe that some of the abuse took place in a house and office on the campus, and that college officials at the time responded by restricting Wager's access to a pool. The college is conducting an investigation of what happened.
WASHINGTON — The American Council on Education has asked Congress to renew expiring education tax credits past the end of 2012 after some provisions were excluded from a bipartisan bill extending tax credits that expired this year. The American Opportunity Tax Credit, as well as the student loan interest deduction and tax breaks for employer-provided education benefits, are set to expire at the end of 2012, and all were left out of a bill extending other tax breaks for higher education. The American Opportunity Tax Credit, a benefit originally included in the economic stimulus bill that provides up to $2,500 in partially refundable tax credits for tuition, appears to be the most at risk, with some Republicans in both the House and Senate opposing its expansion.
The tax credit is likely to figure in an end-of-year battle over taxes and spending as the prospect of sequestration, or mandatory spending cuts, looms and the Bush-era tax cuts are scheduled to expire. "It is essential that these tax provisions be extended this year to help make higher education accessible for millions of Americans and to ensure our nation will have the educated citizenry the future requires," Terry Hartle, senior vice president for government and public affairs at the council, wrote in a letter co-signed by 11 higher education associations.