Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 3:00am

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday released the procedures the agency will use to scrutinize lenders of private student loans, as well as the servicers for federally guaranteed loans, to ensure that they are complying with existing banking regulations. Such "examinations," intended to uncover and, if necessary, penalize companies that violate consumer protection laws, have led to heavy fines for credit card companies, and the agency is also examining mortgage lenders and big banks. libby -- here or somewhere, can you add some language along the lines of what we discussed? "While the guidance published Monday does not give the agency any new powers, it clears the way for it to begin what is expected to be more aggressive pursuit of private lenders and servicers." or something like that? dl

The bureau will look into whether private lenders and servicers comply with a range of federal lending laws, including the Truth in Lending Act, which went into effect in 2009 and required additional disclosures for private student loans, as well as lenders' marketing and underwriting standards. The procedures mention servicing issues for borrowers trying to enroll in federal programs that allow borrowers to make income-based repayments, as well as laws governing lending to active-duty members of the military.

The bureau has focused on student loans (as well as mortgages, credit cards and other financial instruments) since it opened in summer 2011. In July, the bureau issued a sweeping report on private student loans that recommended Congress investigate restoring bankruptcy privileges for those loans. In October, the bureau's student loan ombudsman issued his own report on issues facing student borrowers.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 3:00am

The board that governs Florida's public universities -- charged by the Legislature with weighing the state's options for expanding access through the use of online education -- weighed in on a consultant's report that suggested a range of possibilities, and kept open the prospect of creating a freestanding 13th university that would operate only online. At a meeting Monday, a strategic planning committee of the Florida Board of Governors heard a report from the Parthenon Group that suggested four possibilities, ranging from retaining the status quo (in which institutions would continue to provide their own offerings independently) to creating a separate institution. The Miami Herald reported that the board seemed to largely reject the status quo, and did not reject the idea of creating a new institution, despite opposition from the provosts of existing universities, who in a letter expressed concerns about dilution of resources and competition.

The idea that got the most support during the board's discussion, according to the Herald, was a hybrid of the consultant's other two recommendations, involving more systemwide collaboration or allowing one or more existing institutions to take the lead on creating new programs.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 3:00am

Columbia University on Monday announced that Mortimer B. Zuckerman has pledged $200 million to endow a Mind Brain Behavior Institute to support interdisciplinary neuroscience research. The institute will involve faculty members from Columbia's arts and sciences, engineering and medical colleges.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 3:00am

The University of Northern Alabama has dismissed Bradley Patterson from the football team for a Twitter post in which he used a racial slur to refer to President Obama, USA Today reported. The tweet came during President Obama's address on his trip to meet family members of the victims of Friday's Connecticut school shooting, and complained about the speech pre-empting a football game on television.

Monday, December 17, 2012 - 4:20am

People marked December 12, 2012 (or 12/12/12) in variety of ways. At 12:12 p.m., Sharik Currimbhoy, an entrepreneur in India, gave $12.12 million to Columbia University, his alma mater.

Monday, December 17, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Michelle Miller of Northern Arizona University explains why some types of information are more easily remembered than others. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Monday, December 17, 2012 - 3:00am

Thousands of Hungarian students held rallies in Budapest last week to protest government plans to make most university students pay tuition, Reuters reported. Starting next year, the government plans to cut by two-thirds the number of students whose university education is subsidized by the government, forcing the others to pay tuition. Government officials say that they need to cut costs to deal with a national deficit, while students say that the government should be investing in the future leaders of the country.


Monday, December 17, 2012 - 4:26am

Manoj Patankar has resigned as vice president for academic affairs at Saint Louis University, but his departure from the administration hasn't resolve tensions with faculty members and students who have been demanding his ouster and that of the Rev. Lawrence H. Biondi, the president, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Patankar's plans for a post-tenure review system that many faculty members viewed as the de facto elimination of tenure set off much of the current controversy, but many professors and students have other grievances about Father Biondi, whom they say has cut them off from meaningful roles in campus governance. Indeed the response of the Facebook group "SLU Students for No Confidence" was "This is only a small step, but a positive one. Our real grievances are with Father Biondi."


Monday, December 17, 2012 - 3:00am

Purdue University announced Saturday that the compensation for its incoming president -- Mitchell E. Daniels, who is wrapping up his tenure as Indiana's governor -- will represent a reduction in spending. The previous president's total compensation was $555,000, including deferred compensation. Daniels is eligible to earn up to $546,000, but only with achievement of specific goals and without deferred compensation. His base pay will be $420,000 -- and he will be eligible to earn the rest by meeting specific goals related to student affordability, graduation and student achievement, strategic program development with demonstrated student outcomes in knowledge and understanding, philanthropic support, and faculty excellence and recognition. Keith Krach, board chair at Purdue, said it would be difficult for Daniels to meet the goals in all areas.

Monday, December 17, 2012 - 3:00am

Two students have sued the University of Delaware in federal court, charging that the university is violating their First Amendment rights by barring them from selling T-shirts that say (similar to a taunt used on opposing athletic teams) "U can suck our D," The News Journal reported. The university maintains that its objection is based on trademark infringement, and not the content of the T-shirt.



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