Colleges and universities should be allowed to set borrowing limits for students lower than the cost of attendance, and underwriting standards should be tightened for Parent PLUS loans, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators recommended in a report released today. The report, the final recommendations of the association's task force on student loan indebtedness, also recommends income-based repayment as the automatic option for all borrowers and a fixed interest rate for new loans, a rate that would vary from year to year with market conditions.
Higher Education Quick Takes
A nationwide survey of 40,000 students, mostly freshmen, on their financial habits recommends mandatory financial literacy education for all college students, scattered at different points throughout their careers and with a different focus depending on students' ages. The survey looked at financial attitudes and behavior, and found that despite widespread concern about student loan debt, many students also have high-risk habits such as carrying a credit card balance. It also calls for more research into financial literacy best practices and the outcome of better education.
The survey, Money Matters on Campus, was conducted by EverFi, a technology company, and sponsored by Higher One, which provides campus banking services.
Many colleges routinely ignore adjuncts when it comes to providing technology used for teaching. This year at Houston Community College's Southwest Campus, 200 adjuncts were given iPads to help in teaching, The Houston Chronicle reported. Next year, another 200 will receive them. Officials said that they wanted the non-tenure-track faculty members to have appropriate tools.
Many faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill remain embarrassed by a recent scandal involving "no show" classes in which students -- many of them athletes -- were receiving credit for courses that didn't require anything. Now UNC professors are being reminded of the scandal's impact. To prepare for an accreditor's visit, the university is trying to show that its classes are real. So administrators are making surprise inspections in class to make sure courses are actually taking place, The News & Observer reported. Lewis Margolis, a faculty member in public health, said of the surprise visit campaign: "It was more than irritating. As I spoke to some colleagues about it, they looked at me and said, 'This is ridiculous. What the heck’s going on here?'"
Eleven master's students in a counseling program are suing Concordia University Chicago for consumer fraud, The Chicago Tribune reported. The students say that they had been promised the program would be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs, and that their degrees will have less value because Concordia decided to no longer seek recognition by that group. The university did not respond to attempts to reach it for comment.
More than 60 percent of colleges and universities expect the cost of providing residential network computing access to go up, but only 39 percent saw an increase in their budgets in the last year and 10 percent saw a decrease. These are among the statistics in a new report by the Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education and the National Association of College and University Business Officers. The report may be found here.
A new institute dedicated to Israel studies has opened in Washington. The Israel Institute, to be led by Itamar Rabinovich, formerly Israel’s ambassador to the United States and the president of Tel Aviv University, was established with funding from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. It plans to fund doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships, research grants, and visiting professorships, as well as fellowships for students enrolled in Israel studies programs at Israeli universities, residences for Israeli artists, and internships at Washington think tanks for policy-oriented Ph.D. candidates. Other planned activities of the institute, including support for academic conferences, are outlined here. The members of the institute's advisory board can be found here.
Ariel Ilan Roth, executive director of the Israel Institute, said its goals are to “bring coherence” to the growing but “jumbled” field of Israel studies, and to serve as a source of funding and support for scholars pursuing Israel-related scholarship.
“We want to provide financial and structural opportunities for people to develop a skill-set and to do so under the most rigorous academic conditions,” Roth said. “We’re talking about serious study: we’re not talking about political advocacy, we’re not talking about political lobbying. We’re talking about applying the best tools of academic exploration to whatever aspect of the modern Israeli experience the scholar sees fit to explore.”
Nathan J. Brown, president-elect of the Middle East Studies Association and a professor of politics at George Washington University, said he was pleased to see the establishment of a new scholarly institute dedicated to the region (albeit one country within it): "This is a time when for example, funding for Title VI programs has been cut, so to have new support for anything related to Middle East Studies is good," he said.
About 45 percent of 18- to 24-year-old college graduates were living with their families in 2011, up from 31 percent a decade earlier, in 2001, according to an article in The Atlantic based on Census data mined by the Pew Research Center. The Atlantic article (and the compelling graphic that accompanies it) notes that 21 percent of graduates up to 34 years old were living at home in 2011, up from 13 percent in 2011, but that both sets of figures for college graduates are far lower than for all people those ages.