Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, September 23, 2011 - 3:00am

Harvard University's endowment, the largest in the nation, had a 21.4 percent return in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the university announced Thursday. The return continues the recovery from the huge losses the university experienced in the fall of 2008. The university's endowment now stands at $32 billion.

Friday, September 23, 2011 - 3:00am

Gov. Rick Perry's rivals for the Republican presidential nomination heartily attacked his stance letting undocumented immigrants pay in-state tuition at Texas public universities at the sixth GOP debate Thursday night. The issue, on which Michelle Bachman took the lead during the last such debate, became a key focus of Thursday night's event, with numerous candidates criticizing Perry for taking too liberal a stance. "I've got be honest with you, I don't see how it is that a state like Texas -- to go to the University of Texas, if you're an illegal alien, you get an in-state tuition discount," said Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. "You know how much that is? That's $22,000 a year. Four years of college, almost $100,000 discount if you are an illegal alien go to the University of Texas. If you are a United States citizen from any one of the other 49 states, you have to pay $100,000 more. That doesn't make sense to me.

Friday, September 23, 2011 - 3:00am

The Common Application announced Thursday that it is planning a new online system for processing applications, and that it will expand its staff to handle the various technology functions, ending the practice of outsourcing such functions. More details will be announced in the months ahead, but the Common Application said that new features should be introduced as part of the process. The popular application system has grown significantly in recent years, and it also affirmed that it will keep as a key membership requirement that participating colleges use "holistic" admissions, involving subjective criteria such as essays and recommendations, not just data such as grades and test scores.

Friday, September 23, 2011 - 3:00am

Weeks after a Pittsburgh-area businessman announced a $265 million donation to Carnegie Mellon University, the donor has pledged $125 million to the city's main public university. The University of Pittsburgh said Thursday that William S. Dietrich II, a former steel industry executive, would make the gift upon his death, and that the institution would rename its arts and sciences school for Dietrich's father.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Anna Maria College has announced that it will no longer require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. “After reviewing students’ academic preparation and how it effects their ability to succeed at AMC for the past several years, we found that merit and achievement in high school were becoming the major determining factors in academic success, as well as in the admissions decision making process,” said a statement from Mary Lou Retelle, executive vice president of the Massachusetts college. It will keep the test requirement for those seeking admission to its paramedic science program.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

The California State University System board voted Wednesday to no longer require those vying to be presidents of its 23 campuses to make a public visit, which could open the door to keeping the identities of finalists secret, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The 15-to-1 vote, over the objection of faculty members, came after Chancellor Charles Reed told the Board of Regents that some potential candidates would refuse for the system's four presidential openings this year would decline to be considered without a guarantee of privacy, the newspaper reported. The new policy gives a system search committee for each campus's search the latitude to decide case by case whether to require a campus visit. A resolution approved by the Cal State Academic Senate this week said that ending the visits would "raises serious questions about transparency, questions that could undermine the efforts of the CSU to gain and maintain the public trust."

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

When Burlington College's Board of Trustees meets next week, one item on its agenda will be the fate of President Jane O’Meara Sanders. Normally, at a private college like Burlington, which isn't subject to open-meetings laws, potential consideration of dumping a president would be kept top secret. But the Burlington Free Press reports that an agenda for the upcoming meeting contained a not-very-subtle item: "Removal of the President." Sanders, whose husband is U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, confirmed to the newspaper that the "leadership of the board and I are engaged in ongoing discussions regarding the future of Burlington College and its leadership.” The board's chairman, Adam Dantzscher, also confirmed that the phrase had appeared on the written agenda, but declined to discuss the matter further.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Jobs for the Future has begun a program that provides community colleges with up-to-date information about the hiring and skill needs of local employers. Dubbed "Credentials That Work," the initiative uses new technology that can aggregate and analyze online job ads. Participating community colleges can use the labor market data to adjust their program offerings and course curriculums, according to the group. The Joyce and Lumina Foundations are funding the program, and this month 10 community colleges began using the technology. Jobs for the Future has also released a related report about alignment between community colleges and their local job markets.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

The California State University System board voted Wednesday to no longer require those vying to be presidents of its 23 campuses to make a public visit, which could open the door to keeping the identities of finalists secret, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The 15-to-1 vote, over the objection of faculty members, came after Chancellor Charles Reed told the Board of Regents that some potential candidates for the system's four presidential openings this year would decline to be considered without a guarantee of privacy, the newspaper reported. The new policy gives a system committee for each search the latitude to decide case by case whether to require a campus visit. A resolution approved by the Cal State Academic Senate this week said that ending the visits "raises serious questions about transparency, questions that could undermine the efforts of the CSU to gain and maintain the public trust."

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 3:00am

About 1 million additional 19- to 25-year-olds obtained health insurance in the first three months of 2011, at least in part thanks to a provision in President Obama’s health care overhaul legislation, which raised by six years the age at which young adults are no longer eligible for coverage under their parents’ plans. The total of young adults with health insurance rose from 66.1 percent of the relevant age group in 2010 to 69.6 percent in 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday; however, it is unclear how many of these newly covered 19- to 26-year-olds are college students. The news was celebrated by Young Invincibles, the health care advocacy group that has backed Obama’s legislation, which would also subject student health plans provided through colleges and universities to additional provisions beginning in the 2012 academic year.

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