Higher Education Quick Takes
Eleven master's students in a counseling program are suing Concordia University Chicago for consumer fraud, The Chicago Tribune reported. The students say that they had been promised the program would be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs, and that their degrees will have less value because Concordia decided to no longer seek recognition by that group. The university did not respond to attempts to reach it for comment.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled Wednesday that people injured by a terrorist attack financed by Iran cannot make a claim on Iranian antiquities held in a Harvard University museum. Several Americans with claims against Iran have tried to collect money owed by that nation by going after antiquities at various American institutions. But the appeals court ruled -- as other courts have ruled -- that there are very limited circumstances in which artifacts can be seized as assets, and that this is not one of them. The legal challenges to ownership of these antiquities have worried many museum officials who have feared that they would be unable to obtain loans of art from other countries if that art might be seized.
Colleges and universities should be allowed to set borrowing limits for students lower than the cost of attendance, and underwriting standards should be tightened for Parent PLUS loans, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators recommended in a report released today. The report, the final recommendations of the association's task force on student loan indebtedness, also recommends income-based repayment as the automatic option for all borrowers and a fixed interest rate for new loans, a rate that would vary from year to year with market conditions.
A nationwide survey of 40,000 students, mostly freshmen, on their financial habits recommends mandatory financial literacy education for all college students, scattered at different points throughout their careers and with a different focus depending on students' ages. The survey looked at financial attitudes and behavior, and found that despite widespread concern about student loan debt, many students also have high-risk habits such as carrying a credit card balance. It also calls for more research into financial literacy best practices and the outcome of better education.
The survey, Money Matters on Campus, was conducted by EverFi, a technology company, and sponsored by Higher One, which provides campus banking services.
Many colleges routinely ignore adjuncts when it comes to providing technology used for teaching. This year at Houston Community College's Southwest Campus, 200 adjuncts were given iPads to help in teaching, The Houston Chronicle reported. Next year, another 200 will receive them. Officials said that they wanted the non-tenure-track faculty members to have appropriate tools.
Many faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill remain embarrassed by a recent scandal involving "no show" classes in which students -- many of them athletes -- were receiving credit for courses that didn't require anything. Now UNC professors are being reminded of the scandal's impact. To prepare for an accreditor's visit, the university is trying to show that its classes are real. So administrators are making surprise inspections in class to make sure courses are actually taking place, The News & Observer reported. Lewis Margolis, a faculty member in public health, said of the surprise visit campaign: "It was more than irritating. As I spoke to some colleagues about it, they looked at me and said, 'This is ridiculous. What the heck’s going on here?'"
An in-depth study of black students in Los Angeles schools projects that, if current trends continue, only 1 in 20 African-American kindergartners will go on to graduate from high school and complete a degree at a four-year California university. The study was conducted by the Education Trust-West. Among its findings:
- 1 in 5 African-American middle school and high school students are proficient in Algebra I.
- 63 percent of black students graduate from high school in four years.
- 20 percent of black ninth-graders graduate in four years, having completed the courses required for admission to one of the state's public universities.
A task force convened by the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, which is the primary trade group of the for-profit sector, today issued a report on how colleges can better serve students who are veterans or active-duty members of the U.S. military. The recommended "best practices" touch on career services, pedagogy and student recruitment. Steve Gunderson, the association's president, said the report should be useful to all of higher education. The association plans to release three other reports on quality standards in coming months, he said.