Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

May 27, 2014

The new Thai government, which took over in a military coup last week, on Saturday ordered about two dozen professors and writers to turn themselves in to military authorities, The New York Times reported. Those who were on the list were generally public supporters of holding new elections.

May 27, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Arun Bhunia, professor of food microbiology at Purdue University, is working on new techniques and technology that will more quickly identify the infectious strain. If you missed Monday's Academic Minute, about "sexy" fruit flies, you can read it here. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

May 23, 2014

Roughly 9 percent of the $511 billion spent in 2011 in the United States on higher education went to financing interest payments or to corporate profits, according to a new analysis from the Center for Culture, Organizations and Politics at the University of California at Berkeley. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) commissioned the report, which found that $45 billion in higher education spending that year was for interest on individual student loan debt or on colleges' borrowing, or went to profits made by for-profit college companies.

The bulk of the $45 billion figure is attributable to student and institutional borrowing. Operating profits among for-profit colleges were roughly $4 billion in 2011, according to the report, and less than $1 billion in 2012 -- due to plunging enrollments in the sector. The student debt figure cited in the report refers to interest payments on both private and federal loans. The bulk of institutional borrowing was to fund "amenities" and construction projects, according to the study, such as for football stadiums.

For-profits got plenty of attention at a Wednesday AFT event to unveil the report. Rep. Mark Takano, a California Democrat, was there. He urged tighter regulation of the sector.

"This is an insane way to educate low-income students," said Takano. "We need strong gainful emploment rules."

May 23, 2014

A bipartisan group of Congressional lawmakers on Thursday called on their colleagues to insert a provision in the upcoming budget that would block the Obama administration’s efforts to more tightly regulate for-profit colleges.

In a letter to the top lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee, 37 members of Congress -- 19 Republicans and 18 Democrats -- wrote that the proposed “gainful employment” rule would “increase costs and federal overreach in the higher education system, reduce data transparency, and limit postsecondary options for low-income students.” The administration has said the proposed rule is aimed at cutting off federal aid to low-performing vocational programs, mostly at for-profit colleges, that leave students saddled with high debt and do not lead to good jobs.

The deadline for public comments on the proposed rule is Tuesday. The Education Department is expected to produce a final rule by November. 

May 23, 2014

Rollins College announced Thursday that Lewis Duncan would be stepping down after 10 years as president and that the transition would happen next month. The announcement said that the board has "every confidence" in the college's "strategic direction." The faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences recently wrote to board members to express concern about Duncan's leadership. In previous years, the same faculty body has voted no confidence and censured Duncan, The Orlando Sentinel reported. Among the points of contention was the creation of the College of Professional Studies, which arts and sciences faculty said was done without consulting them.

 

May 23, 2014

A donor and Georgetown University Law School have dropped dueling lawsuits, Legal Times reported. The donor, Scott Ginsburg, sued last year, charging that the law school had broken a pledge to reward his multimillion-dollar gifts by naming a building after him. Georgetown in turn said that Ginsburg hadn't paid all that he pledged, and that he had agreed not to have a building named for him when he was found civilly liable for insider trading. The two sides are not disclosing terms of their apparent settlement. Both sides, however, talked about a hope for "future partnerships."

 

May 23, 2014

Police in Northern Ireland are now demanding full access to an oral history collection at Boston College featuring interviews with key players in the turmoil there between the Irish Republican Army and British authorities, Boston.com reported. The interviews have been the subject of years of litigation, in which scholars said that they should remain confidential and the British and U.S. governments demanded their release to investigate crimes during that period. Eventually a small number of records were released, and the new demand could reopen litigation and debate.

May 23, 2014

New research from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana finds that family debt can be a negative factor in determining whether students will graduate. But the study -- by Min Zhan, a social work professor, and Deirdre Lanesskog, a doctoral student -- found that the negative impact was far more powerful for black students. “The magnitude of the association indicates that family debt hurts black students’ chances of graduating much more than it hurts white students’ chances of graduating," said a statement from Zhan. "The overall debt-to-assets ratio was much higher – nearly 50 percent higher – among black families than white families, which may explain why debt had a stronger negative impact on black students.”

May 23, 2014

Ben Sasse, who recently won the Republican primary in Nebraska to run for U.S. Senate, announced Thursday that he is resigning as president, effective at the end of the calendar year. A press release from the university praised Sasse for leading a financial recovery at the university, where he became president in 2009. Sasse, who won the primary with strong backing from the Tea Party, is currently favored to win in the fall.

May 23, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Dan Peppe, professor of geology at Baylor University, discusses how he is studying these fossils to help shape understanding of the evolution of all primates. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Pages

Back to Top