Higher Education Quick Takes
The State Department has banned one company from a summer program that brings foreign students to the United States and has signaled that the government will increase oversight of the program, The New York Times reported. The program is designed to give foreign university students the chance to spend a summer working in and learning about the United States, but reports have indicated that some companies use the program for cheap foreign labor.
The University of Connecticut's student-run television station has apologized for a video that jokes about the dangers of rape and sexual assault. The station posted an apology and promised to review standards. The video (viewable at Gawker) shows a woman fleeing a man she believes will attack her. She tries various emergency response phones and doesn't get the help she needs, but hears offensive comments from the computer-generated voice on the phones. UConn students took to Facebook to organize protests against the broadcast.
One editorial board member has resigned and another may follow, after the publication in the Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology questioning the link between HIV and AIDS, Nature reported. The paper's lead author is Peter Duesberg of the University of California at Berkeley, who has for years questioned that link -- much to the consternation of most AIDS scientists who believe it has been well established.
James Ammons, president of Florida A&M University, on Tuesday announced that he is temporarily banning all student clubs from recruiting, admitting or initiating any new members, the Associated Press reported. The announcement is the latest response to the hazing-related death of a member of the university's marching band. Ammons also announced that he is calling off a planned summer band camp.
Legislators in Florida and Georgia are having contentious debates this week about undocumented students and public higher education. In Georgia, lawmakers are debating legislation that would bar from public higher education all students who lack legal documentation to reside in the United States, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. At a hearing Tuesday, many spoke out against the bill, and lawmakers suggested that they would consider some flexibility for colleges. Last year, the state higher education system toughened its rules on such students, saying that they could not enroll in any college that is turning away qualified applicants. The issue has attracted considerable attention despite the relatively small numbers of students involved. Of the state system's 318,000 students, about 300 are undocumented, down from 500 before rules were tightened.
In Florida on Tuesday, legislation to help such students (by granting them in-state tuition rates) died in a tie vote in committee, the Associated Press reported.
Federal authorities have charged Craig Grimes, a former professor at Pennsylvania State University, with fraud, making false statements and money laundering associated with $3 million in federal grants, the Associated Press reported. The charges relate to grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy. Grimes did not respond to requests for comment.
The University of Colorado at Boulder has dropped its SAT requirement for international applicants, The Boulder Daily Camera reported. Officials said that many international applicants reported difficulty finding test centers for the SAT (or for the ACT). However, Boulder has simultaneously moved to increase the minimum score required (from 61 to 75, on a scale of 120) for applicants to achieve on the Test of English as a Foreign Language.
A senior White House education adviser took questions from college presidents Tuesday at the annual meeting of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, providing a few more details on the administration's plan to make college affordable. After a panel discussion of affordability issues, which featured college presidents sharing their methods for helping students with tuition and loan repayment, Zakiya Smith tried to alleviate some of the private colleges' concerns. The administration will focus only on net price, not list price, she said, adding that officials would seek input and advice from colleges and associations.
"We know this is a shared responsibility," Smith said. "Hearing about those things gave us hope, gave us promise." Several presidents emphasized that the Race to the Top-like fund for college affordability or other maintenance of effort clauses should require that state-level financial aid, which can help students attending private colleges, be maintained as well.