Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 21, 2013

Cricket -- a sport popular in Britain and the countries that were once ruled by Britain -- is growing on American campuses, The Boston Globe reported. The first American college championship of club teams took place in 2009, with five teams. Now there are 70 such teams. While most players come from countries such as India and Pakistan, where cricket remains very popular, some of those learning the game and embracing it are Americans.


October 21, 2013

The Common Application -- facing intense criticism over technical glitches that have made it impossible for many people to apply to college -- on Friday issued a new update on its problems, and an apology. The statement pledged to do better at both fixing the problems and updating people on the status of the situation. "All of us who work with and for The Common Application -- from the Board of Directors to the staff to our technology partners at Hobsons -- understand the significance of this moment, both for the college application process and for the reputation of the association itself. To those of you who have offered words of support and encouragement, we thank you," the statement says. "To those of you who have lost faith in our ability to adequately meet the needs of you and your students, we understand."

Several colleges have delayed early decision or other deadlines in light of the difficulties students have had filing with the Common Application.



October 21, 2013

The University of St. Thomas, in Minnesota, is facing fallout from a series of allegations about sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests. The abuse is not alleged to have taken place at the university, but St. Thomas has been drawn into the scandal.

  • The Rev. Michael Keating, a professor of Catholic studies, is on leave following the filing of a lawsuit by a woman alleging that he abused her in the late 1990s when she was 13 to 15 years old. While Father Keating has not spoken about the allegations, his lawyer has denied the allegations. Minnesota Public Radio has reported that documents it obtained suggest that church leaders may have planned to communicate with the university about the allegations as early as 2006.
  • The Rev. Harry Flynn, a former archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis at a time that many victims say the church didn't do enough about abuse allegations, has resigned from the St. Thomas board.
  • The Rev. Kevin McDonough, former vicar general of the archdiocese, and who investigated allegations against Father Keating and others, has also resigned from the St. Thomas board, The Star Tribune reported.
October 18, 2013

Engineering programs at Kansas State and Oklahoma State Universities and the University of Oklahoma will benefit from a stock gift valued at more than $200 million, the institutions announced Thursday. The three universities' foundations have received privately held stock from Dolese Bros. Co., a construction materials company, and that the company will buy back $500,000 worth of the stock each year, with the goal of improving the engineering programs and increasing the number of graduates they produce. (Note: This article has been updated to correct the names of the institutions receiving the gift.)

October 18, 2013

Two weeks after Howard University's president announced he would step down this year after five years in office, the university's Faculty Senate voted no confidence in the board, The Washington Post reported. "The no-confidence vote again focused a spotlight on a board that has had recent internal disputes," the newspaper said. 

October 18, 2013

Hours after the Westfield State University board placed President Evan Dobelle on paid leave and ordered another investigation of his questionable spending, the Massachusetts public university named its academic affairs vice president, Elizabeth Preston, as interim leader, MassLive reported.

October 18, 2013

Middlebury College has suspended for one year a student who was involved in removing and throwing into the garbage flags placed on the campus last month to commemorate the Sept. 11 attacks. In a statement on the college's website, officials said that the individual was believed to be the only student among five people who carried out the vandalism of what has become an annual commemoration at Middlebury (as on many campuses). The protesters said they were objecting to American imperialism.

The college's statement said that Middlebury's "community judicial board" had found the student responsible for violating standards relating to general conduct and respect for people and property. The one-year suspension was upheld on appeal, the statement said.

October 18, 2013

Students who completed an undergraduate program in 2007-8 were more likely to borrow money to pay for college but less likely to be repaying those loans within a year of graduation compared with their counterparts who graduated in 1992-93 and 1999-2000, a new federal report shows.

The report, released Thursday, analyzes the borrowing and repayment trends of bachelor’s degree recipients within a year of graduation for three cohorts of students. The data were collected through the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study from the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, which, like the rest of the federal government, returned to work on Thursday.

The study found that the percentage of college graduates who borrowed for their undergraduate education rose in each successive cohort from 49 percent (1993) to 64 percent (2000) to 66 percent (2008). The average cumulative debt of graduates also increased in each successive cohort. The number of borrowers repaying their loans within a year of graduation dipped in 2009 to 60 percent, compared with 66 and 65 percent in the previous cohorts. At the same time, the percentage of graduates not in repayment but who still owed money on their student loans (due to either deferments, forbearances or default) rose.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • One in four students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2008 had enrolled in graduate school a year later, which represents a slight increase from previous cohorts. However, across all three cohorts, students’ decision to attend graduate school within a year of graduation was not correlated with how much debt they had already incurred.
  • Student debt levels were also not correlated with a graduate’s decision to move back with parents or other family within a year of graduation (only in cases in which the student left home for college in the first place). That scenario played out at a higher rate (27 percent) for the 2008 graduates than for their 2000 counterparts (18 percent) but at the same rate as 1993 graduates.
October 18, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Gareth Russell of the New Jersey Institute of Technology reassesses the number of endangered tropical bird species. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

October 18, 2013

The University of the Pacific announced Thursday that it has received $125 million from the estate of a couple that agreed in 2007 to leave its assets to the California institution. The money left to Pacific by Robert and Jeannette Powell, a developer and interior designer, respectively, will create a fund that will support endowed professorships and chairs, an honors program, and the university's art collection, among other things.


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