Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 19, 2014

Goucher College sent the parents of 60 rejected applicants the email that was supposed to be sent to parents of admitted applicants, confusing many of the families, The Baltimore Sun reported. Human error was responsible for the emails saying that the applicants' "offer of admission was mailed today, but I wanted to let you know the good news now, so that your family can celebrate tonight." The college realized the error when it was contacted by applicants who reported getting rejected while their parents were being told they had been admitted. The college has apologized, and is now doing an additional review of the 60 applicants to see if some could be admitted.

 

March 19, 2014

Students, faculty members and administrators at some institutions that are members of the law library consortium NELLCO will soon be able to read The New York Times for free, the media organization announced on Wednesday.

As part of the deal, participating institutions will subsidize one-year subscriptions to the Times's digital products. The institutions can choose to renew the agreement on an annual basis. NELLCO has 122 members worldwide, but the deal only applies to U.S. institutions. About one-third of NELLCO's U.S. members have signed up so far, which means more than 26,000 law students may take advantage of the offer.

Representatives from the Times did not disclose the price tag, but described the deal as the largest ever signed -- even when compared to similar agreements with corporations and nonprofits. 

"I feel like we’re at a point where we’re meeting a different level of demand," said Hannah Yang,  executive director for education and corporate marketing at the Times. "Not only do we have the content to meet that kind of demand -- we also have the technology."

This article has been updated to clarify that institutions will subsidize the subscriptions.

March 19, 2014

T.J. Arant resigned Tuesday as president of Friends University, in Kansas, The Wichita Eagle reported. Arant has been president since 2011. Arant was not available for comment. John Lewis, the board chair, said: “We held different visions about what we wanted to achieve in the next two decades. It is important that we achieve agreement about that, and that we were not going to be able to do that. So we decided mutually that the best course is to part company.”

 

March 19, 2014

TIAA-CREF has agreed to pay more than $19.5 million after allegations that it illegally skimmed money from account holders.

Several college instructors accused TIAA-CREF of keeping money their accounts earned between the time the instructors tried to transfer or withdrawal money and the time TIAA-CREF completed the transaction. TIAA-CREF, the lawsuit alleges, kept roughly $40 million in such gains it should have turned over to its customers. The settlement money will be divided up pro rata by nearly 59,000 educators. The value of the proposed settlement is about half what plaintiff’s attorneys accused TIAA-CREF of keeping. TIAA-CREF is also agreeing to pay $3.3 million in legal fees.

TIAA-CRAF did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement, which has received preliminary but not yet final approval from a federal district court judge in Vermont.

"We are pleased to have reached a settlement, which is pending court approval,” a spokesman for TIAA-CREF said in an email. “We continue to deny any wrongdoing and have resolved this litigation to avoid the distraction and expense of litigation. As always, our clients remain a top priority for us.”

March 19, 2014

The drowning deaths of six students, apparently from hazing, have set off a debate at Portugal's universities, The New York Times reported. Hazing in Portugal is not associated with fraternities, but is a rite of passage for new students. Critics say that the recent deaths show that the traditions have gotten out of control, but many students support hazing and are rallying to preserve it.

 

March 19, 2014

Sallie Mae, under scrutiny from consumer advocates and several lawmakers for how it manages payments for federal student loan borrowers, released new data Tuesday touting the performance of those loans.

The company said that 9.3 percent of the federal direct loans it services were enrolled in an income-based repayment plan at the end of 2013, compared with the previously-released 7.7 percent national rate for all such loans. In addition, Sallie Mae said that the federal loans it serviced were less likely to be in forbearance, comparing the company’s 9.4 percent rate of forbearance with the 11.1 percent rate for all federal direct loan borrowers.

The Education Department has not released such detailed data on how federal direct loan borrowers fare under each of the different loan servicers it hires. Some consumer advocates have charged that loan servicers aren’t doing enough to help struggling borrowers enroll in income-based repayment plans, which allow borrowers to cap their payments as a percentage of their income. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a Democrat, has specifically called out Sallie Mae’s practices.

Sallie Mae’s release of its data comes as the department is negotiating the renewal of the loan servicing contracts it has with Sallie Mae and the three other main servicers of federal loans.

Under the current contract, the department assigns each of those companies a performance score based on how well, relative to the others, they are keeping borrowers out of default and satisfying different stakeholders. The scores determine how many new loans the department assigns to the companies. Last year, Sallie Mae received the lowest overall score and is therefore receiving the smallest share of new federal loans to manage on behalf of the department. The company performed the second best on the default metrics, but it received the lowest customer satisfaction scores from surveys of students, college financial aid officers, and Education Department employees.

The company’s chief executive officer, John F. Remondi, told investors last year that he is pushing for the department’s allocation methodology to more heavily weight the default metrics.

March 19, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Dae Kwak, associate professor of sports management at the University of Michigan, discusses the psychological impact fantasy sports advertising has on even experienced players. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

March 19, 2014

Pearson, the education company and publisher, on Tuesday confirmed it laid off 68 employees in its higher education division on March 12. The company, which is in the middle of a transition from print to digital products, has in its past two annual earnings reports warned about stagnant or falling profits as it completes its restructuring process.

A person with knowledge of the layoffs, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said many of those laid off were editors, designers and publishers.

"The demand for learning tools that take advantage of data and analytics to improve outcomes is accelerating," a Pearson spokesman said in a statement. "In light of this, we are re-imagining how to take our trusted brands beyond print."

March 19, 2014

Okay, the rest of you have some catching up to do: Tom Panettiere has now won Inside Higher Ed's monthly Cartoon Caption Contest twice.

Today we publish the latest installment of our monthly cartoon contest -- we encourage you to suggest the most creative or humorous captions you can think of. (Or just read the submissions of your peers.)

We also encourage you to vote for your favorite from among the three finalists chosen by our judges from among the submissions for last month's cartoon.

And we congratulate Panettiere, associate director of financial aid and scholarships at the State University of New York at Purchase, whose caption for January's drawing -- "Wonder if our bus is stuck in one of those Chris Christie traffic studies?" -- won an overwhelming majority of your votes. He also won November's contest.

March 18, 2014

Legislative leaders in California have shelved a proposal that would have set up a state vote to repeal a ban on the consideration of race and ethnicity in public college and university admissions, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Many black and Latino leaders have encouraged lawmakers to authorize a vote on repealing the ban. But legislative support lagged as many Asian Americans came out in favor of keeping the ban.

 

Pages

Back to Top