Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 10, 2013

An analysis released Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics found that students who took out federal loans but later dropped out had a median federal debt load equal to 35 percent of their annual income, and that dropouts from for-profit colleges borrowed the most per credit earned: $350 per credit, compared with less than $120 per credit for students in other sectors. The report looked at student debt for students who enrolled in college in the 2003-04 academic year but did not complete within six years. It also found that 21 percent of noncompleters from four-year private nonprofit colleges, and 31 percent of students from for-profit colleges who did not earn a credential, had student loan debt greater than their annual income.

April 10, 2013

A new report from the Brookings Institution considers the geographic distribution of international students and their potential economic impact. While New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco host the largest numbers of international students, the report notes that smaller metro areas in the middle of the country have the largest numbers of international students relative to their undergraduate and graduate populations: leading the pack are Jonesboro, Arkansas (home to Arkansas State University), Florence, Alabama (home to the University of North Alabama), and Ames, Iowa (home to Iowa State University).

“If immigration policy changes to make it easier for foreign  students to stay and work in the United States after graduation, these metro areas  could experience the greatest impact in terms of access to a new labor pool from foreign students residing in their local economies,” the report, authored by Neil G. Ruiz, states.

The report also cites data regarding the disparity between the number of F-1 student visas granted, versus the number of approved H-1B skilled worker visas. While there were 668,513 F-1 visas approved in 2010, there were only 76,627 H-1B visas granted; of these, 26,502 went to foreign students.

April 10, 2013

Students, faculty members and some alumni have been raising objections to the selection of Kerry Healey as the next president of Babson College, The Boston Globe reported. Questions have been raised about selecting someone without leadership experience in higher education or who is seen as having entrepreneurial experience appropriate for the business-focused college. Healey and other Babson officials have been reaching out to various groups, seeking to win them over. A student petition states that campus opinions do not appear to have been sufficiently sought or considered in the search process. Prior to the selection of Healey, students and alumni waged an unusual campaign to urge the board to name a popular campus administrator as the next president, and he recently announced that he is leaving administration.

 

April 9, 2013

Pittsburgh has been the site of some of the most contentious debates in recent years on payments by colleges to localities in lieu of taxes on their property -- and tensions are heating up again. The city recently moved to remove the tax-exempt status of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that, in response, colleges throughout the area have said that they will no longer negotiate with the city on payments they make to support local governments. "Making progress on these long-standing issues is difficult even in the best of circumstances,” said a letter from college leaders to the city. “It would be counter-productive to try to push forward in the adversarial environment that exists today.”

April 9, 2013

Professors at Transylvania University, in Kentucky, have sent a letter to President Owen Williams objecting to what they call "a climate of distrust and demoralization which affects daily operations of the college and the future aspirations of the faculty, administration and board," The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The letter follows the rejection by Williams of two candidates for tenure who had been approved by the relevant faculty committees. Williams said that he had deferred, not rejected, the tenure bids and that the faculty members had only to publish in a peer-reviewed journal to win tenure. But faculty leaders said that this was a new requirement, not one that was in place when the faculty members prepared for their tenure reviews, or when panels considered their candidacies.

 

April 9, 2013

The obituaries of Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday, noted that the late British prime minister had enormous influence on her country -- with many divided about whether that influence was for the good. An article in Times Higher Education quoted supporters of Thatcher saying that she had promoted accountability and efficiency in ways that have had a positive impact. But the article also noted criticism from others that her budget policies started an erosion of the quality of Britain's universities.

April 9, 2013

The Iowa Senate on Monday rejected two nominees of Governor Terry Branstad, a Republican, for the Board of Regents, The Des Moines Register reported. The votes were largely along party lines, with Democrats opposing the nominees, who fell short of the two-thirds majority required for confirmation. Critics of the nominees cited concerns over whether they would be supportive of academic freedom, but Branstad and other Republicans said that the nominees were treated unfairly.

 

April 9, 2013

Wikipedia editors have been complaining about a University of Toronto psychology professor who encouraged students in a class of 1,900 to start posting entries, The Canadian Press reported. Some editors complained about entries that needed corrections, or that were plagiarized. Some even suggested banning entries from university IP addresses. But the professor pointed out that only 33 of the 910 articles submitted by his students were flagged for review.

April 9, 2013

Rutgers University will commission an independent review of “the circumstances surrounding the men’s basketball program as well as the procedures used to investigate allegations related to former head coach Mike Rice,” officials announced Monday. The review will look at how Rice’s behavior was addressed, form recommendations on how Rutgers can “improve,” and should move forward quickly, President Robert Barchi and Board of Governors Chair Ralph Izzo said in a joint statement.

Four Rutgers officials, including Rice and the former athletics director Tim Pernetti, have been fired or resigned since video of Rice physically and verbally abusing players at practice was made public last week. Izzo revealed Friday that the chair of the board’s Governors Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics had – like the ousted officials -- seen the video back in December but failed to act, and at least one state senator called on him to resign.

April 9, 2013

A committee of Colorado's House of Representatives killed legislation Monday that would have allowed the state's community colleges to offer four-year degrees, citing concerns about whether the state could afford to create new degree programs, the Associated Press reported. Most of Colorado's university leaders had opposed the bill, which officials of the Colorado Community College System said would allow programs only in fields where there was no competition with existing four-year institutions.

 

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