Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

June 10, 2014

With the traditional-age college population flattening if not shrinking in many parts of the U.S., colleges and universities are under greater pressure than ever before to develop new and different approaches to attracting students. "Strategies for Recruiting Students" is a collection of Inside Higher Ed articles and essays -- in print-on-demand format -- about some of the approaches institutions are taking, and some of the challenges they are facing. Download the booklet here.

This booklet is part of a series of such compilations that Inside Higher Ed is publishing on a range of topics.

On Tuesday, July 8, at 2 p.m., Editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman will lead a free webinar about some of the issues discussed in the booklet. Click here to register or find out more.

June 10, 2014

The American Association for Affirmative Action, which includes many college officials, on Monday announced that it is changing its name to the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity. A statement from the association said that the new name reflected broader duties for officials who promote affirmative action, and that the group had found that only 15 percent of members had "affirmative action" in their job titles.

 

June 10, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Dennis O'Rourke, professor of anthropology at the University of Utah, hunts for clues that might indicate a people indigenous to this area. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

June 9, 2014

President Obama will announce Monday that he plans to expand an income-based repayment program for federal student loan borrowers, The New York Times reported.

The administration plans to broaden eligibility for its Pay As You Earn program – which caps student loan payments at 10 percent of borrowers’ discretionary income and forgives any unpaid debt after 20 years – to include an estimated 5 million additional borrowers who have older loans, according to the Times.

Obama will also formally announce that the Education Department plans to renegotiate the contract it has with federal student loan servicers to include incentives for helping borrowers avoid default. The department previously said it plans to change how it oversees those servicing companies and had said it was “re-examining” how it pays them. Monday’s executive actions come as Senate Democrats are making a push on student debt relief in advance of the fall midterm elections.

Over the weekend, Obama endorsed a bill by Senate Democrats that would allow existing borrowers to lower the interest rate on their student loans. The legislation proposes to fund such a refinancing program by enacting the so-called “Buffett Rule,” which would end some tax breaks for millionaires. Obama said that Congress had a choice to either “protect young people from crushing debt, or protect tax breaks for millionaires.”

Republicans are largely opposed to the proposal. In a statement on Sunday, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Senate education committee, rejected the plan as a “political stunt” to give former students money to pay off their loans. “College graduates don't need a $1-a-day taxpayer subsidy to help pay off a $27,000 loan,” he said. “They need a good job.”

June 9, 2014

The Seattle Police Department has released 911 audio from Thursday afternoon's shooting, which killed a student and injured others, at Seattle Pacific University. Authorities said that they wanted to share the story of the bravery of those who calmly called the police and who subdued the shooter. The Associated Press reported on Jon Meis, the student security volunteer who used pepper spray on the shooter while he was attempting to reload to shoot more people. An article in The Seattle Times detailed the long history of mental health problems and a longstanding interest in the Columbine shootings of Aaron Rey Ybarra, who is charged in the shootings.

June 9, 2014

The University of Southern California's Pullias Center for Higher Education on Friday released a proposed research agenda on the for-profit sector. The five-page document grew out of a meeting the center hosted in April. The event featured five papers with different perspectives on for-profits, which sought to "move beyond hyperbole" by confronting the competing narratives about the sector.

The 30 participants from the April conference reached a consensus about a research agenda to address the most most pressing and fundamental policy questions about the scope, cost, quality and accessibility of for-profits. The resulting paper describes how to better track the performance of for-profits as well as changes that could improve their student outcomes. It also asks questions that seek to get at the differences between for-profits and traditional colleges.

June 9, 2014

In the latest "This Week" audio newscast, the Lumina Foundation's Zakiya Smith and Ralph Kuncl of the University of Redlands discuss divisions among public and private college leaders about limits of federal accountability in higher education, the wisdom of trying to rise in the U.S. News college rankings, and more.

June 9, 2014

The Obama administration and some in Congress have fought to kill at nuclear fusion reactor program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, preferring to support other, similar work. But MIT continues to receive federal support for the program. An article in The Boston Globe profiles the lobbying campaign MIT used to overcome long odds of holding on to the program.

 

June 9, 2014

A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research points to the financial advantages of letting donors designate where in a large university their money might be used. The study used two groups at Texas A&M University at College Station in which one was sent an appeal for the annual fund, and the other was sent a similar appeal, but with the chance to designate some of their gift to the college they attended within Texas A&M. The researchers found no significant difference in the rates at which donors made any gift. But those with the option to designate, if they gave, made larger contributions. The study was by Catherine Eckel and Jonathan Meer of Texas A&M, and David Herberich of the University of Chicago. An abstract of the study may be found here.

 

 

June 9, 2014

The Ohio Department of Public Safety is giving bomb-sniffing dogs to three universities this week as part of an effort to expand campus security capabilities, the Associated Press reported. The dogs are trained not only for bomb detection but for help in managing security at large-scale events. Bowling Green State, Ohio State and Youngstown State Universities are receiving the dogs.

 

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