Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, October 19, 2012 - 3:00am

Many members of the military with student loans are missing out on important benefits, in part because loan servicers aren't giving them accurate information, according to a report released Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau dealing with how student debt is handled for active-duty members of the military. Those in service are eligible both for benefits available to all Americans with federal loans, such as income-based student loan repayment, as well as some benefits available just to them, like military deferments, post-active duty deferments and an interest rate cap while on active duty. 

The report found that loan servicing errors lead to unnecessary hurdles and, in some cases, deferments and forbearances. Some members of the military were denied the 6 percent interest rate cap on both federal and private loans. Others were put into forbearance they did not request, meaning that interest continued to capitalize. In some cases, these errors could cost members of the military tens of thousands of dollars, according to the report, which marked the bureau's first steps into identifying problems with federal student loans as well as private loans.

The bureau urged loan servicers to give members of the military complete and accurate information, and regulators and enforcement agencies to hold servicers accountable. "Servicemembers who are concerned about financial problems and who must struggle to get complete information or assistance from their lenders will have difficulty focusing on their mission and accomplishing their critical national security role," the authors, the student loan ombudsman Rohit Chopra and Hollister Petraeus, assistant director of the bureau's office of servicemember affairs, wrote.

Friday, October 19, 2012 - 4:18am

Franklin & Marshall College has announced that it will cap the loans in the aid packages of students from middle income families at $10,000. Those whose packages would have included greater loan volume will instead receive additional grants. College officials said that they wanted to see if this increased assistance would encourage more students from middle income families to enroll.

 

Friday, October 19, 2012 - 3:00am

Dinesh D'Souza, president of the King's College, a Christian college in New York City, has resigned after reports that he shared a hotel room with a woman to whom he was not married before filing for divorce from his wife. In a statement posted on the college's website Thursday, the president of the Board of Trustees said that D'Souza had resigned, effective immediately, to "allow him to attend to his personal and family needs."

D'Souza, an author and filmmaker who recently released an anti-Obama documentary, "2016: Obama's America," responded with a column on the Fox News website to an article in the evangelical World magazine that said he shared a hotel room with the woman he introduced as his "fiancée." He was not having an affair, he said. "I had no idea that it is considered wrong in Christian circles to be engaged prior to being divorced, even though in a state of separation and in divorce proceedings," D'Souza wrote. "Obviously I would not have introduced Denise as my fiancée at a Christian apologetics conference if I had thought or known I was doing something wrong."

He attributed the story to previous rivalries at the King's College: its former provost, Marvin Olasky, is now editor of World, and resigned shortly after D'Souza, a Roman Catholic, was hired as president of the evangelical college in 2010.

Friday, October 19, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Sharon Kim of Johns Hopkins University explains the psychological response that often turns social outsiders into successful entrepreneurs. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Friday, October 19, 2012 - 3:00am

One-third of faculty use some form of social media as part of their teaching, according to a survey to be released today by Pearson and the Babson Survey Research Group. However, they tend not to do so regularly. Even the most popular form of social media for teaching -- blogs and wikis -- were used more than once per month by fewer than 10 percent of professors in the survey.

Video, meanwhile, has become an extremely popular teaching tool. Nearly 90 percent of faculty members in the survey said they use video for teaching. Use of video was fairly consistent across disciplines except for mathematics and computer science, where only 66 percent of professors reported using video to help teach -- an outlier that might come as a surprise to fans of Khan Academy and the major MOOC providers, all of whom rely heavily on video as a medium for teaching math and computer science concepts. Pearson and the Babson Survey Research Group have conducted versions of the survey since 2010.

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 3:00am

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on Wednesday stayed a federal appeals court's order requiring Boston College researchers to turn over oral history transcripts to the British government, citing the scholars' planned appeal to the high court, The Boston Globe reported. Ruling in July in a case involving research into the violence in Northern Ireland during the period known as the "Troubles," the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit concluded that concerns about confidentiality, academic freedom and scholarly research could not trump government's interest in investigating crime.

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 3:00am

A number of students at Mercer University are upset about the appearance on campus of fliers calling for November or December to be declared "White History Month," The Macon Telegraph reported. "It is just as fair to have White History Month/s as it is to have Black History Month/s. How much will you bet that there will be controversy over this?” the fliers said. The university doesn't know who put them up, and is encouraging students to engage in discussions of issues in ways other than anonymous leaflets.

 

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 4:25am

Wilson College, a women's institution in Pennsylvania, is considering the strategy of becoming coeducational, The Chambersburg Public Opinion reported. At a campus forum Wednesday, officials said that no final decision has been made, but that they would like to see enrollment increase from the current level (695) to 1,500. Several alumnae at the meeting spoke -- to applause -- of the value of keeping Wilson a women's college.

 

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 3:00am

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Educause on Wednesday announced grants to a set of colleges and schools positioned to create or expand "breakthrough" models of college readiness and completion. The latest round of Next Generation Learning Grants, valued at $5.4 million, will go to the following higher education projects:

  • Kentucky Community and Technical College System, $1,000,000, for a competency-based associate degree program. (This was profiled on Inside Higher Ed in August.)
  • Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, $1,000,000, for a partnership with Columbus State University to develop an online bachelor's degree with a strong service-learning component.
  • Altius Education, $300,000, to create “America’s Transfer College,” building on its Ivy Bridge College.
  • Ameritas College Educational Services, $250,000, to support the development by Brandman University and University Ventures Fund of bachelor's programs aimed at Hispanic adults.
  • University of Washington, $884,000, for an online undergraduate degree-completion program using MOOCs, using Coursera classes.
  • Rio Salado College, $970,000, for “All Roads Lead to Student Success,” to help students in early college programs, educational service partnerships, and those seeking to obtain credit for prior learning.
Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, David Shoham of Loyola University of Chicago reveals how an adolescent’s circle of friends can influence his or her weight and health. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


 

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