Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 1, 2013

A new Gallup Poll has found that the factor adult Americans are most likely to say is most important in selecting a college is the percentage of graduates who are able to find a good job. That factor was picked by 41 percent of those polled, followed by the price of the college (37 percent) and graduation rates (16 percent). The wealthier that respondents were, the more likely they were to say that the job success of graduates was the most important factor.

The same poll also asked questions about tuition.

Asked if higher tuition rates meant that the quality of the college was higher, 25 percent strongly disagreed and another 20 percent disagreed. Only 10 percent strongly agreed, with another 13 percent agreeing.

Gallup also asked what amount would be affordable for one year of full-time tuition (not counting room, board or books). Two percent said no tuition was affordable, 15 percent said less than $5,000, 18 percent said $5,000 to less than $10,000, 26 percent said $10,000 to less than $20,000, 10 percent said $20,000 to less than $30,000, and 5 percent said $30,000 or more. 

Disclosure: Inside Higher Ed works with Gallup on our survey projects, although Inside Higher Ed was not involved with this poll. The trends found by Gallup in this poll of all adults somewhat mirror the results of an Inside Higher Ed poll conduct by Gallup of the parents of high school and junior high school students.

July 1, 2013

An Ohio appeals court ruled last week that the University of Toledo violated its contract with the faculty union by not consulting with it on a planned reorganization, The Toledo Blade reported. The ruling upheld a similar finding by an arbitrator. But it is unclear what impact the decision will have as the reorganization took place in 2010.

June 28, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, James Cavanagh of Brown University reveals how our brain and behavior can be influenced by our evolutionary past. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

June 28, 2013

The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed, 68-32, an immigration reform bill with several provisions sought by higher education leaders. The bill would create a path to citizenship for those who are in the United States without documentation to permit them to reside in the country, and provisions would be of particular help to students who were brought to the United States as children. Many colleges have pushed for such a change, saying that these students never sought to break a law, and that they have completed high school in the United States, only to face difficulty being admitted to or receiving aid for higher education. Other provisions would ease the visa process for some international students and make it easier for American colleges and universities to hire some professors from abroad. President Obama praised the legislation, but Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have vowed not to allow a vote in that chamber on the bill. Rather the Republican leaders have said that they would draft their own bill, and it is unclear how the provisions of importance to colleges would fare in that version.


June 28, 2013

Public higher education and states need a "new compact" to promote the needs of states and colleges, according to a new report by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. The report urges public colleges and universities to adopt accountability measures, deal with concerns about college affordability, link priorities to state needs and report on institutional outcomes. But the report stresses that these commitments will be difficult to make without consistent state financial support.


June 28, 2013

The website of Renmin University, in China, has experienced unprecedented traffic (and has crashed as a result) because of a photograph of an attractive woman who recently graduated, The South China Morning Post reported. While the photograph is not the least bit risqué by American standards, it is quite unusual for a Chinese university's website. The photograph has prompted considerable debate in China, with some praising it and others wondering if it is shifting attention away from academic issues.


June 28, 2013

After a 19-month suspension, the marching band at Florida A&M University will perform again, the university's interim president Larry Robinson said Thursday. The November 2011 death of drum major Robert Champion, who was brutally hazed in a post-football game ritual, led to the university putting the famed Marching 100 on hiatus and attempting to reform a well-established hazing culture. Robinson said that after taking measures including revising Florida A&M's anti-hazing policies and hiring a staff member to monitor and prevent the practice, the “right conditions” were in place to bring back the band, though he did not say when it will start performing again.

June 28, 2013

Jack R. Ohle announced Thursday that he will retire as president of Gustavus Adolphus College after the next academic year. The announcement referenced the completion of a strategic plan, fund-raising successes and other accomplishments. But faculty members and students have been pushing for some time for Ohle to leave. They question his financial decisions and say that he has largely cut many on the campus out of any meaningful participation in governance. The campaign against him has featured an anonymous website, GustieLeaks, that has featured numerous documents about the college and its leadership.


June 28, 2013

California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed his own idea on Thursday to make the University of California and California State University systems spend $10 million each on education technology.

The new money was designed to allow the two systems to increase the number of online courses available to undergraduate students. Instead, under the budget Brown made law Thursday, the two universities will get to keep the money and spend it any way they want. Brown used his line-item veto power to take the strings off the money, although both UC and Cal State say they will go ahead with plans to buy technology with the funds. "Eliminating these earmarks will give the university greater flexibility to manage its resources to meet its obligations, operate its instructional programs more effectively, and avoid tuition and fee increases," his veto message said.

Even though they don't have to, both systems said they plan to spend the money on technology. “We’ve made a commitment to provide the $10 million, so it’s not going to affect our plans,” said Steve Montiel, a spokesman for the UC president's office.

Michael Uhlenkamp, spokesman for Cal State Chancellor Timothy White, said the system thinks technology can help address a critical need and that it can use the money to alleviate bottlenecks.

"So while there is no legislative mandate in the budget to accomplish this, we’ll still continue to work along those lines," he said in an email.

An earmark that gives nearly $17 million to the California community college system and mandates the system spend the money specifically on ed tech remained in the budget Brown signed Thursday.

Dean Florez, the head of the pro-online education 20 Million Minds Foundation and former majority leader in the California Senate, said Brown's veto should make colleges think about spending more on online education rather than less.

"Governor Brown vetoing his own earmark for online education in the CSU and UC, emphasizes that funding for said programs should not be limited in any way,” he said in a statement. “The California Community Colleges, who serve 2.4 million students and already have approximately 17 percent of their courses online, will still receive $16.9 million in dedicated funds for expansion of online access. In light of the advances made in the CCC system, we hope that the other two segments will follow through with their assurances of online program advancement to alleviate system-wide bottlenecks.”

June 27, 2013

WASHINGTON -- The Education Department's announcement earlier this year that it would better accommodate same-sex couples, and unmarried couples, on its Free Application for Federal Student Aid beginning in the 2014-15 academic year means that the Supreme Court decision Wednesday allowing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage will have little impact. 

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, which had prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. That means same-sex couples may file joint tax returns, and the children of those couples should list both parents on the FAFSA, according to a fact sheet released Wednesday by gay and lesbian advocacy groups.


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