Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, January 11, 2013 - 3:00am

Gov. Jerry Brown of California on Thursday released a proposed budget that includes substantial increases for higher education, which were made possible by a tax hike voters passed in November. Both the University of California and California State University Systems received an additional $250 million in funding, while the state's community college system received an increase of $197 million as well as $179 million for previously deferred commitments. Overall, the budget would increase funding for higher education by $1.3 billion, or 5.3 percent, compared to last year's allocation.

At a news conference Thursday, Governor Brown also vowed to attend board meetings of the two university systems, in part to pressure other board members to keep tuition from going up.

 

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 3:00am

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.

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 3:00am

Federal indictments unsealed Thursday charged that Jonathan Pinson, former chair of the board of South Carolina State University, conspired with a local businessman and the then-police chief of the university to have South Carolina State buy property and steer contracts to certain businesses, The State reported. Federal authorities who were investigating the men intervened to prevent the purchase of the property. Pinson's lawyer has denied the charges. But Michael Bartley, the former police chief, has admitted guilt and is awaiting sentencing.

 

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 3:00am

Dozens of scholars of crime -- organized by the Crime Lab of the University of Chicago -- have written a joint letter to Vice President Biden to urge him to include research issues in the Obama administration's proposed response to gun violence. The letter focuses on restrictions on the use of National Institutes of Health funds for research that might be used to advocate for gun control. Further, it noted repeated efforts by gun supporters to block funding of research on guns by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The "politically motivated constraints" have limited research that could help the country prevent gun violence, the letter says.

 

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 3:00am

U.S. News & World Report doesn't think that four incidents in the last year of colleges submitting incorrect information for rankings reflect any trend. Robert Morse, who directs the rankings, published a blog post Thursday in which he said: "We have no reason to believe that other schools have misreported data — and we therefore have no reason to believe that the misreporting is widespread." The blog post said that the magazine has removed the ranks of colleges whose incorrect information resulted in a higher ranking than they would have received with accurate data.

 

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 3:00am

The National Association of Scholars released a report Thursday criticizing the history departments of the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M at College Station for being too focused on issues of race, class and gender. The report used syllabuses and professors' webpages to classify many faculty members (especially at Austin) as "high assigners" of race, class and gender, and the report questioned whether traditional topics in history were receiving enough attention. The University of Texas at Austin released a statement in response suggesting that the report ignored much of the work in history at the institution, which focuses on the sorts of topics the the NAS says are needed. Further, the statement said that there is nothing wrong with having professors who study race, class and gender.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Randy Zwally of Messiah College explains the invention of hardware that allows the banjo to be played in and out of tune. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 4:11am

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.

 

Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 3:00am

Students who play basketball at the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s highest level – Division I -- continue to graduate at rates lower than their non-athlete peers who attend school full-time, according to the latest Adjusted Graduation Gap report from the Collegiate Sport Research Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The AGG formula calculates graduation rates differently than the Federal Graduation Rate and the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate: because athletes are required to take full course loads, the AGG omits part-time students from the data, resulting in larger gaps between the athletes and non-athletes. While the GSR consistently finds athletes graduating at higher rates than non-athletes overall, the AGG finds the opposite.

This AGG installment found that throughout Division I, male basketball players graduate at rates 20 percentage points lower than non-athletes, and female players at rates 9.2 percentage points lower. The gaps are higher at colleges in the eight major, more lucrative conferences: the Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Conference USA, Mountain West, Pacific 12, and Southeastern. For male athletes, the gap in mid-major conferences is 14.5 percentage points lower than the gap in major conferences; for female players the difference is 5.9 percentage points. The report also notes gaps by race. While this point was not significant among female athletes, the AGG for black basketball players is close to double that of white players (26.7 and 14.6 percentage points, respectively).

The CSRI releases three AGG reports annually, with each focusing on a different sport. The previous report, looking at rates among football players, came out in September. The baseball/softball report comes out in the spring.
 

Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 3:00am

Islamic University in Gaza City, the flagship university of Hamas, has started a Hebrew program, the Associated Press reported. The program seeks to train teachers for high schools in Gaza, which have been encouraged to add Hebrew to their curriculum. Somayia Nakhala, an official of the Education Ministry in Gaza, said that "as Jews are occupying our lands, we have to understand their language." Nakhala added that students need to "understand what's going on, like wars, medical treatment in Israel, in the West Bank."

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