Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 3:00am

Corinthian Colleges Inc. announced in a corporate filing Monday that it would sell four Everest College campuses in California and also close three campuses in other states when currently enrolled students complete their studies. The four California campuses have struggled financially, according to the filing. Those campuses were among those that recently failed to meet a state threshold on student default rates. No buyer has yet emerged. The three campuses that have been targeted for closure, which are located in Florida, Georgia and Virginia, have not met the bar on student performance or financial health, the company said. Corinthian owns about 95 Everest campuses in the U.S. and Canada.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 3:00am

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has remained largely silent on higher education in the race so far, spoke briefly about his views on college tuition at a town hall in Ohio on Monday, The New York Times reported. He told a questioner who asked about high tuition that h doesn't intend to forgive student debt or direct government money toward students seeking a college education. “Don’t just go to one that has the highest price. Go to one that has a little lower price where you can get a good education," Romney told the student, according to the newspaper's report. "And hopefully you’ll find that. And don’t expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on.

“It would be popular for me to stand up and say I’m going to give you government money to pay for your college, but I’m not going to promise that,” the former Massachusetts governor said.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 3:00am

A group of 81 scholarly journal publishers on Monday came out against the latest iteration of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) -- a bill that would require federal research grantees to make their resulting academic papers freely available to the public no more than six months after publication in a scholarly journal. The bill, introduced last month in both the House and the Senate, is the third iteration of FRPAA to be introduced since 2006; two previous versions failed to make it to a vote.

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) sent letters to prominent legislators in both chambers criticizing the bill for seeking to apply a “one-size-fits-all” deadline of six months before publishers, many of which charge for access to articles, must compete with a free version in a government database. In many disciplines, publishers retain the exclusive right to sell access to the peer-reviewed article for “several years before costs are recovered,” according to the AAP. Among the 81 signatories to the letters was Elsevier, a major journal publisher that last month withdrew its support for (and effectively nixed) the Research Works Act -- a bill that would have preemptively killed FRPAA -- after facing a boycott from frustrated scholars.

The American Anthropological Association, which caught flak last month from some of its members after its executive director wrote a note to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy criticizing public access mandates, did not sign on to either letter.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 3:00am

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began accepting complaints is there a link to add in case people want to check out the process? dl about private student loans Monday, a first step the agency is taking in regulating the private student lending market. The bureau is the sole agency regulating complaints about these loans, and is also preparing a report on the private lending market"agency"? or should this be "market" or something? dl based on interviews with students, parents, college administrators and others, to be presented to Congress this summer. Before the agency, borrowers with complaints about their loans had to find a bank's regulator in order to lodge a complaint, which was effectively impossible, Rohit Chopra, the bureau's student loan ombudsman, said at a National Association of missing "Student" in name here ... dl Student Financial Aid Administrators forum on Monday.

The bureau is also investigating why students borrow the way they do -- including why they don't max out federal loan limits before turning to credit cards, second mortgages and other financial instruments, Chopra said.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 4:33am

The outstanding balance on student loans has now hit $870 billion, more than the total credit card balance ($693 billion) and the total car loan balance ($730 billion), according to a report released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The rise in student loan debt is hardly a new trend, but the report documents the extent of the debt and the impact it has not only on borrowers, but their families. The report notes that "unlike other types of household debt such as credit cards and auto loans, the student loan market is incredibly complex. Numerous players and institutions hold stakes at each level of the market, including federal and state governments, colleges and universities, financial institutions, students and their families, and numerous servicers and guarantee facilitators."

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 3:00am

Lander College for Men, a college in Touro University that educates Orthodox Jews, is a place where students spend long days and nights studying Jewish texts. There is minimal time for television, and no viewing on Saturdays -- making Lander an unlikely place to produce football fans. But as Yahoo!Sports reported, Lander has adopted the University of Oregon Ducks as its football team. Herb Ratner, an assistant dean, went to graduate school at Oregon and has introduced his favorite team to Lander. Periodically there is a night game that students can watch, but primarily students learn of the outcome after Saturday game days, when Ratner posts the news, either as a win or "NW" for non-win (he doesn't like to refer to losses). "Guys will come up to me and say, 'Hey dean, how are the Ducks doing?' Guys who had never followed college football, let alone the Ducks, suddenly take a passing interest and we talk about the Ducks. So it's become a thing at the school."

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 3:00am

The American Council on Education and other higher education groups on Friday wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services to urge the agency to move ahead with final rules on student health insurance coverage. The letter noted that it has been more than a year since the proposed rules were first issued. Friday's letter does not focus on the substance of the proposed rules, but on the impact of the delay in the final rules. "Many colleges and universities currently are negotiating contracts with insurers for their student health insurance coverage in the coming academic year," says the letter. "The final ... regulations will affect the terms and cost of such coverage. In some instances it appears insurers are using the uncertainty about the final contours of those regulations to their benefit, proposing increased premiums beyond what may be warranted under the final rules. In the absence of final regulations, it is difficult for schools to complete negotiations with their issuers." Further, the letter says that colleges are trying to determine financial aid packages for students for 2012-13 and changes in health insurance rules could affect various awards.

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 3:00am

The National University of Singapore says it is willing to talk about human rights issues with Yale University, officials told Bloomberg after faculty members at Yale expressed concern about a collaboration between the two institutions. A new liberal arts college in Singapore, created with Yale, has prompted much discussion about how academic freedom can be assured in countries that do not have full freedoms as enjoyed in the United States. Last week at Yale, faculty members proposed a resolution calling for additional discussions on how the new campus will "respect, protect and further the ideals of civil liberties." A vote is expected next month. “It is understandable that for a pioneering initiative like the Yale-NUS College, there may be a diversity of views on different issues,” Lily Kong, vice president of university and global relations at the National University of Singapore, said in a statement. "We believe that this discussion should lead to an even higher level of mutual understanding and respect, ultimately making the college even more robust.”

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 3:00am

Oregon's State Board of Higher Education voted Friday to ban guns from classrooms, buildings, dormitories and sporting and entertainment events, The Oregonian reported. The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled last year that the board could not by administrative decree ban guns from the state system's campuses, but the ruling said that the board had authority to set rules for facilities and events. So the board acted within that power. The new rules do not apply to someone with a concealed weapon permit carrying a gun on a campus walkway, but would apply if that person entered a facility.

 

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 3:00am

Barnard College announced Saturday that its commencement speaker this spring will be President Obama. Barnard had previously announced that Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times, would speak, but the college said that, after the Obama possibility materialized, Abramson said that she would be happy to speak another time. Historically, presidents of the United States speak at commencements at three colleges -- one private college, one public college and one U.S. service academy.

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