Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 4:14am

The arrests of five University of Alabama students on hazing charges late Wednesday was quickly followed by the university's announcement that the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity had been suspended, The Tuscaloosa News reported. Neither the news release from the university announcing the suspension nor the police offered any details on the hazing charges. But the university statement included this comment from Dean Hebson, the dean of students: “The University of Alabama will not tolerate hazing and takes allegations and incidents of hazing very seriously. Students who are the victims of, or who become aware of, hazing incidents are strongly encouraged to bring these incidents to our attention.”

Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Mary Murphy, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University at Bloomington, discusses women in STEM fields. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 3:00am

A handful of Senate Democrats on Tuesday introduced new legislation that would give the U.S. Department of Education greater powers to hold the executives of for-profit colleges accountable for fraud committed by the institutions they run.

The bill -- which is sponsored by Democratic Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sherrod Brown of Ohio -- calls for enhanced civil penalties against the executive officers of colleges that misrepresent information, such as job placement rates, to students.

It would allow the Education Department to hold college executives personally liable for any federal student aid funds that must be returned to the government because of a finding against the college. And the legislation would also bar the board members and executive officers of colleges against which the Education Department has taken an enforcement action from leading another college that receives federal aid.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 4:04am

Nearly 150 adjuncts at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks were not paid on schedule Sept. 18, and some still have not been paid. Adjuncts contacted Inside Higher Ed about the problem anonymously, citing concerns about their lack of job security. They indicated that a missed paycheck can be more disruptive for an adjunct than someone on the tenure track, given the tight budgets on which many adjuncts live.

The university said paperwork problems were to blame and that 102 of the adjuncts have since received their Sept. 18 paychecks, and another 26 should be paid by the end of this week. Some checks may be delayed further because there are additional paperwork requirements to pay those adjuncts who work in multiple divisions of the university or who teach music (where some instruction is in the form of private lessons). The university said all adjuncts would be paid.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 11:09am

The proportion of student loan borrowers who defaulted on their debt within three years fell to 11.8 percent for those entering repayment in 2012, down sharply from 13.7 percent the year before, the U.S. Education Department announced today. Department officials credited the Obama administration's various efforts to protect borrowers, including its push to encourage borrowers to enter its income-based repayment program, for some of the decline in the default rate.

A list of institutions that could face the loss of eligibility for federal student aid programs because of their high default rates is below. The list contains no historically black colleges and universities, but the department appears not to have taken the extraordinary measures it took last year (when it adjusted the data of some institutions facing the loss of federal aid to protect them, drawing sharp criticism) once again. In a separate statement, the department said, “As of September 2015, all 101 eligible HBCUs have official … three-year cohort default rates that fall below regulatory thresholds,” and credited the historically black colleges with using “innovative approaches” to keeping their default rates down.

The cohort default rate, as this measure is known, has been the federal government's primary way of holding colleges accountable for how their students fare postgraduation, despite widespread dissatisfaction with the rigor of the default rate tool. The Education Department recently published data on the loan repayment rates of individual colleges' borrowers, which some see as a tougher and better way of gauging the fate of student loan borrowers.

Institutions subject to loss of aid:

  • Umpqua Community College, Oregon
  • Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College
  • Ohio State College of Barber Styling, Ohio
  • Guti, the Premier Beauty and Wellness Academy, Florida
  • Capstone College, California
  • L T International Beauty School, Pennsylvania
  • Florida Barber Academy
  • Jay’s Technical Institute, Texas
  • Memphis Institute of Barbering, Tennessee
  • Northwest Career College, Nevada
  • Northwest Regional Technology Institute, Pennsylvania
  • Coast Career Institute, California
  • San Diego College, California
  • Profile Institute of Barber-Styling, Georgia
  • United Tribes Technical College, North Dakota
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 3:00am

One of higher education’s most influential organizations has tapped veteran public university president Mary Sue Coleman as its next leader.

Coleman will begin leading the Association of American Universities -- a group of 60 U.S. and two Canadian selective public and private research universities -- in June. She was previously president of the University of Michigan for 12 years, retiring in 2014, and president of the University of Iowa.

Coleman will replace Hunter R. Rawlings III, who has led the AAU since 2011. While president at Michigan, Coleman served as chair of the AAU for the 2011 academic year.

She co-chairs the Lincoln Project, an initiative of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences to support public research universities, and serves on the board of trustees of the Society for Science & the Public. She’s also a member of the Johnson & Johnson Board of Directors.

“Hunter Rawlings has done an exceptional job as AAU president in advancing our collective impact as research institutions,” Coleman said in a written statement. “I am eager to continue the work of elevating the American research university as essential to our nation’s prosperity, security and well-being.”

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 3:00am

Calvin College, which has been fighting to stabilize its budget, is cutting a number of humanities programs, saying that they are not attracting enough students, MLive reported. Among the programs being ended: theater, art history and the languages of German, Greek and Latin.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 10:34am

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday upheld a lower court's decision that National Collegiate Athletic Association rules that limit what college athletes can be paid violate antitrust laws. But the appeals court tossed out the original judge's recommendation that athletes receive deferred compensation of up to $5,000 per year.

“The NCAA is not above the antitrust laws, and courts cannot and must not shy away from requiring the NCAA to play by the Sherman [Antitrust] Act's rules,” the three-judge panel wrote in its decision. “In this case, the NCAA's rules have been more restrictive than necessary to maintain its tradition of amateurism in support of the college sports market. The Rule of Reason requires that the NCAA permit its schools to provide up to the cost of attendance to their student athletes. It does not require more.”

In January, using a new governance structure that granted them greater autonomy to create their own rules, the five wealthiest athletic conferences passed a measure allowing -- but not requiring -- colleges to offer scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 3:00am

H-Net, the online humanities and social sciences network, is launching a free book announcement service to help instructors keep up with new titles in their field. Known as the Book Channel, the free service will launch later this fall. Early next year, H-Net plans to commission articles to help its members understand the publishing industry, keep up with new research and use new content in their courses. H-Net, which is hosted by Michigan State University, also offers book reviews, job listings and academic announcements.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 4:15am

Johns Hopkins University is today announcing a plan to hire more people from low-income Baltimore areas, The Baltimore Sun reported. The university plans to hire an additional 60 people from areas with high rates of unemployment or poverty for positions such as clerical staff and food service. The pledge aims to increase the share of those hired for such positions from these areas from 26 percent to 50 percent. The university also plans to spend more of its construction budget with companies that have female or minority owners.


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