Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities sued the U.S. Education Department Wednesday, charging that the agency's recently enacted regulation aimed at ensuring that vocational programs prepare students for "gainful employment" is unconstitutional. The gainful employment rule, a final version of which was published last month, applies to nonprofit and for-profit colleges alike that have vocationally oriented programs, but for-profit institutions would be disproportionately affected, and a lawsuit by their chief lobbying group had been expected.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

A new report, "Consequences of Neglect: Performance Trends in California Higher Education," documents the impact of years of budget cuts on colleges and universities in the state. The report, prepared by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy, of California State University at Sacramento, notes the extent to which California was once considered a higher education leader. The report finds that the state is currently struggling to be average in many higher education measures. The study examines six categories, rates current performance compared to other states and offers a seven-year trend.

Category Current Performance 7-Year Trend
Preparation Worse than most states Up
Affordability Average Down
Participation Better than most states Down
Completion Average Level
Benefits Average Level
Finance Average Down

 

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge is working with a local microbrewery, Tin Roof Brewing, to launch a beer, the Associated Press reported. The blonde ale should be available during the next football season. The name has not been revealed yet. It will relate to LSU but not be called LSU Beer.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

The Council of Independent Colleges announced Tuesday that it received a $300,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to expand the council's leadership development programs. The council operates several programs -- some individually, some with partners including the American Academic Leadership Institute, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Aspen Institute, and Academic Search, Inc. -- to discuss issues of leadership and prepare prospective leaders to become chief officers and chief academic officers to become presidents.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Ed Stander of SUNY Cobleskill explains why astronomers must consider
scale when applying the laws of physics to any object beyond Earth. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 3:00am

A new study by University of Rhode Island researchers found that more than half of college students have received sexually suggested images via text messages, while nearly 80 percent had received suggestive messages. Most messages were sent back and forth between people in a relationship, but 10 percent of the messages were forwarded to someone who did not consent to the additional sharing of the image.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:00am

he Ivy League will announce today that it is imposing new limits on full-contact football practices. The New York Times reported that the limits, designed to minimize head injuries to players, go beyond the rules of any other athletic conference. Many studies have suggested that limits on full-contact practices may be a key step to minimizing concussions and associated brain trauma experienced by many football players. Studies have found that many football players receive more hits to the head in practice than in actual games. Under the new Ivy rules, only two full-contact practices per week during the season will be permitted, compared with a maximum of five under guidelines of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Lock Haven University's Daniela Ribitsch explains Arthur Schnitzler’s pioneering use of inner monologue as a literary device. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:00am

Fund-raisers at educational institutions estimate that contributions during the fiscal year that ended June 30 will be up 4.7 percent over the previous year, and that the year that started July 1 will see gains of 5.5 percent. Those figures come from a survey conducted by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. For the year just concluded, the survey found private institutions projecting much better results than did public institutions (gains of 5.7 percent vs. 2.6 percent).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:00am

Higher education advocates are again on the defensive in the ongoing battle over Pell Grants, which Congressional Republicans are hoping to cut in deficit reduction talks. Eight college presidents joined student activists and U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both Maryland Democrats) at a rally Tuesday morning on Capitol Hill to criticize proposals to cut Pell's budget back to pre-stimulus levels.

Tuesday’s event was the result of some last-minute organization – the presidents were in town for a joint meeting of the Coalition of Urban-Serving Universities and the Association of Public Land-grant Universities this week. Staffers for Mikluski, Cardin, and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who was unable to attend the rally, invited the presidents to come participate.

The universities represented in this week's meeting, which are all public research institutions, have a lot to lose if Pell is cut next year because large percentages of their students rely on their grants. At Florida International University, for example, 37 percent of the 43,000-member student body received Pell Grants last year. More than half of those students – 54 percent – received the full grant amount of $5,500.

Mikulski asked students to be more vocal in their opposition to proposed Pell cuts, which could keep many low-income students from being able to afford a college education.

“We need you to flood the airwaves and the broadband,” she told the audience of students and education lobbyists. Student activists responded by talking about their plans to flood lawmakers’ Twitter and e-mail accounts on Monday – which they’ve dubbed “Save Pell Day” – to call attention to their campaign to preserve the program.

Pell Grants were spared major cuts in April, when Republicans agreed to preserve the maximum award amount while cutting the summer grant program -- shielding most of the program's 9.4 million recipients from cuts. But Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposal for the upcoming fiscal year would reduce the maximum award by $845 and render 1.7 million current students ineligible to receive the grants.

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