Higher Education Quick Takes
Scotland will offer financial support to students who choose to study elsewhere in the European Union for the first time under a new pilot program, The Scotsman reported. The government will provide loans of up to £5,500 (about $8,884) and scholarships of up to £1,750 (about $2,827) to about 250 students in 2014-15. As Michael Russell, the education secretary, said, “This will help encourage our young people who choose to study abroad and the pilot will help assess demand and allow us to roll out this support to all Scots studying in Europe.”
Scotland has a tradition of providing free higher education to its citizens.
Albany State University has returned a portion of the $3 million it received from the Ray Charles Foundation to construct a fine arts building to be named for the singer, The Albany Herald reported. The university has used some of the funds for scholarships, but the foundation has been seeking the money back since the fine arts center was not built.
Postsecondary enrollments will grow by 15 percent between 2010 and 2021, far less than the 46 percent increase that occurred between 1996 and 2010, the U.S. Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics said in an annual report released Wednesday. The report, "Projections of Education Statistics Through 2021," provides a slew of data that anticipate how key K-12 and higher education indicators (enrollments, degrees conferred, etc.) will change over the next decade. By comparison, last year's report projected a 13 percent increase in college enrollments between 2009 and 2020; whether the uptick is a sign that the "completion agenda" is having an effect will be a subject for debate.
This year's report also projects a 21 percent increase in the number of associate degrees awarded by 2021-22, a 21 percent increase in the number of bachelor's degrees, a 34 percent rise in the number of master's degrees, and a 24 percent upturn in the number of doctoral degrees. In all cases those numbers are roughly half the number awarded in the 1996-97 to 2009-2010 period.
Critics of Helen Dragas, who as board chair of the University of Virginia led the failed attempt to oust Teresa Sullivan as president, took to the skies Wednesday, with a banner flown in Richmond urging lawmakers to reject the re-appointment of Dragas to the board, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The banner said: “Restore Integrity at U.Va. Don't Confirm Dragas.” The article said it was not known who arranged for the banner's display.
City College of San Francisco is unlikely to be able to make necessary changes in time for a March deadline with its regional accreditor and will seek an extension, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The college is working frantically to correct a raft of financial and administrative problems, which could lead to a loss of accreditation. While the college has made solid progress, according to a special trustee who was brought in to help deal with the crisis, much more work remains. He told the newspaper that labor unions and some trustees remain opposed to changes like salary cuts and location closures.
Florida A&M University has blocked the university's student newspaper, The Famuan, from publishing until the staff goes through additional training, The Tallahassee Democrat reported. Further, the university has removed the advisor of the student newspaper. The Student Press Law Center also reported that staff members are being told that they must reapply for their positions. The moves follow a libel lawsuit against the newspaper.
The University of Phoenix expects to be placed "on notice" by its regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The commission recently conducted a comprehensive review of the university, and an official with the Apollo Group, which owns Phoenix, told investors this week that the commission had said it would soon issue a report identifying "several areas of concern" that arose from the review. Placing the university on notice is less serious than probation. Phoenix would have up to two years to correct issues that could affect its accreditation status.
The Law School Admission Council has sued the state of California over a new law barring the council from alerting law schools that applicants have received extra time on the Law School Admission Test, The National Law Journal reported. Supporters of the new law and advocates for people with disabilities say that time extensions are an appropriate tool to help people with some disabilities, and that their scores should not be called into question through "flagging" them, as the process is known. But the Law School Admission Council's suit charges that California is violating the group's First Amendment rights by controlling what it says. Further, the suit says that the law inappropriately focuses on only the LSAT and not other standardized tests that may use flagging.