Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, December 7, 2012 - 4:31am

Tufts University has cleared the way for the Tufts Christian Fellowship to be recognized as an official student group, The Boston Globe reported. The fellowship was denied recognition because its requirement that leaders support "the basic biblical truths of Christianity" violates the university's anti-discrimination policies by imposing a religious test. But the university has decided that, for religious groups that wish to have an exemption for their leaders, an exemption to the anti-bias rules will be permitted.


Friday, December 7, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Jenny Stuber of the University of North Florida explains why students from different socioeconomic backgrounds experience college differently. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, December 7, 2012 - 4:33am

Baylor University is investigating a party at which students dressed as Mexican immigrants, KXXV News reported. Photographs of the party appeared on students' Facebook pages, showing women in sombreros, fake dirt on their faces and with signs (in green) labeled "green cards." Pennsylvania State University officials are currently investigating a similar incident.


Friday, December 7, 2012 - 3:00am

In April, the Department of Defense said it would issue a revised version of the memorandum of understanding that colleges and universities must sign to participate in military tuition assistance programs in order to address concerns from some in higher education. On Thursday, after months of delay, a draft of the new version of the memorandum was officially announced.

The memorandum, first proposed in March 2011, was intended to crack down on abuses and raise the standard for participating in the military tuition assistance programs. But some selective institutions of higher education protested requirements that they conform to the principles of Servicemember Opportunity Colleges, a voluntary association. That would have required more lenient residency and transfer of credit requirements (such as giving credit for military training) than some colleges wanted to accept, and the American Council on Education argued that it would interfere with colleges' right to set their own academic policies. The new version requires that colleges either join the voluntary association or disclose their policies before service members enroll.

Institutions must sign the memorandum by March 1 in order to participate in tuition assistance programs.

Friday, December 7, 2012 - 4:34am

Utah's Dixie State College, founded in a part of the state that attracted settlers from the South who once dreamed of turning the area into a cotton-producing region, is debating whether its name suggests support for Confederate causes. While that debate continues, the university has removed a statue from campus that shows a Confederate soldier with the Confederate battle flag, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The statue has been the site of some rallies calling for the university to change its name. "The statue has become a lighting rod. We feel bad about that," said Stephen Nadauld, president of Dixie State. "It’s a beautiful piece of art. We are nervous something might happen to the statue. It might be vandalized."

Jerry Anderson, the Utah sculptor who created the work, told the Tribune that the university should not have removed it. "It looks like they have succumbed to the adversary," Anderson said. "They are a bunch of wusses. That’s the first action taken to get rid of it. The other people are winning. That’s the way it is in the world. We are giving in to people who really aren’t Americans."

Friday, December 7, 2012 - 3:00am

Faculty members at several universities in Ukraine say that they are being urged by their bosses to give low grades to students, Kyiv Post reported. The professors say that they have been told that the government doesn't have enough money for all the student stipends that have been awarded, and that low grades will disqualify some recipients. The Education Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.


Friday, December 7, 2012 - 3:00am

A federal district judge on Thursday upheld a bankruptcy court's ruling last summer that an accrediting agency had made false representations to the U.S. Education Department that helped lead to the demise of Decker College, a for-profit college that closed in 2005. The Council on Occupational Education had appealed the bankruptcy court's July 2012 decision to a federal district court in Kentucky, arguing that the bankruptcy judge had erred in concluding that the agency's officials had misled federal officials by reporting that Decker had delivered three of its programs online without the agency's approval. But Judge John G. Heyburn II's 13-page ruling said: "The bankruptcy court reasonably found COE to be dishonest when it told the department it did not approve the hybrid programs to be offered in such a manner."

Friday, December 7, 2012 - 3:00am

The new "Pay As You Earn" program, which lowers the amount that student loan borrowers pay per month in the income-based repayment program from 15 percent of discretionary income to 10 percent, and forgives loans after 20 years rather than 25, will go into effect on Dec. 21, according to a notice in today's Federal Register. Final rules for the program were issued in November.

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 3:00am

The National Science Foundation on Wednesday announced an expansion of its graduate fellows program that will allow selected graduate students to work for 3-12 months in one of eight countries. The idea is to encourage international collaboration early in researchers' careers. The countries are Denmark, Finland, France, Japan, Norway, Singapore, South Korea and Sweden.

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 3:00am

The American Historical Association, trying to build buzz for its annual meeting in January in New Orleans, is asking historians for names of drinks to be served at hotel bars during the meeting. Among the nominees that have come in so far: ABD, Postmodern Turn, Oral History ("your mouth will never forget it"), the Jacobite Rebellion ("Scotch with just a soupcon of haggis floating in it") and the Dead White Male.



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