Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Several higher education associations have asked the Department of Defense to withdraw a new memorandum of understanding outlining the guidelines colleges and universities must follow if they wish to award educational assistance to military service members, citing requirements that the groups say are "incompatible" with many colleges' academic policies and practices. Specifically, the letter to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta says that many institutions would choose not to sign the "memorandum of understanding" for the agency's Military Assistance Program because provisions related to the awarding of academic credit, residency requirements and other matters "are at odds with traditional assumptions about federal versus institutional control over academic affairs."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Jonathan Bobaljik of the University of Connecticut reveals what we can learn from studying languages on the verge of extinction. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 4:21am

Fifteen people were arrested Monday when students and others tried to enter a hearing of the City University of New York board on a possible tuition increase, The New York Times reported. The arrests followed a day of protests against the possible increase. During the scuffle between protesters and police officers, some students on higher floors of the building at CUNY's Baruch College dropped books down on the police. A statement from CUNY said that the hearing room was full, and that the confrontation took place when those protesting declined an offer to watch a live video of the hearing in an overflow room. The hearing went on as scheduled.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Universidad de Artes, Ciencias y Comunicación, which is based in Santiago, Chile, and owned by a subsidiary of Apollo Group, Inc., may lose its accreditation. The National Accreditation Commission of Chile informed the college last week that its accreditation would not be renewed, according to an Apollo Group statement to investors. The college is seeking clarification about the pending action, and expects to appeal the decision.

Apollo, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, purchased the arts and communication university for at least $40 million in 2008. It has underperformed since then, posting an operating loss of $13 million last year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 4:25am

More developments on Penn State:

  • An article in The Wall Street Journal raises questions about the reputation of Joe Paterno for holding his football players to the highest of standards. The article details instances in which Paterno clashed with university officials who were trying to enforce conduct rules that apply to other students to football players as well. Paterno insisted that he -- not the regular authorities -- decide on athletes' punishment.
  • Sales of hats, shirts and other clothing with the Pennsylvania State University name are down about 40 percent compared to this time period last year, the Associated Press reported. "This is the first time I can recall ever seeing a decline of sales right out of the box,'' said Matt Powell, an analyst with SportsOneSource Group. "I have never seen anything this before. But we've never seen a scandal quite like this before.''
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 3:00am

The Center for American Progress released a report Monday that recommended a broader role for students on federal panels, including the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.

The report, "Including More Student Voices In Higher Education Policymaking," noted that students' concerns have been widely broadcast through the Occupy movements' focus on student loan debt, but that many factors hold back student organizing, including a lack of institutional transparency, the growth of nontraditional students, and the lack of real on-campus power relative to administrators.

"Strong student voices in higher education policy could help to ensure that federal, state and institutional policy makers continue to direct their reforms toward the issues that matter most to students, including tuition prices, financial aid, and the quality of the courses they offer," the report's authors wrote.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Career Education Corporation on Monday disclosed that the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools has asked the for-profit higher education provider to demonstrate the adequacy of "administrative practices and controls relative to the company's reporting of placement rates." A recent review by an outside law firm found that some of the company's 49 health education and art and design schools did not have sufficient documentation to back up job placements, and that 13 failed to meet the accreditor's placement rate requirement. Career Education's president and CEO, Gary E. McCullough, resigned shortly after that news broke.

The company will present to the accreditor next month on the discrepancy, and "continues to take corrective action," according to the disclosure to investors. The accreditor released a statement about the matter this month, saying: "We are currently conducting an internal review of our processes for evaluating placement rates, including a review of data collected from site visits and audits of Career Education Corporation from the last few years, to determine why those problems were not detected.”

Monday, November 21, 2011 - 3:00am

Parents are encouraging the growth of programs in China that enroll prodigies in universities many years before traditional college age, China Daily reported. Zhang Xinyang currently holds the record for youngest college student. He was 10 when he enrolled and is now, at 16, pursuing a doctorate in mathematics at Beihang University. About 1,400 high school students applied this year for just over 100 slots in a program for gifted youths at Xi'an Jiaotong University. The number of applicants has been increasing by 200 to 300 annually in recent years. The University of Science and Technology of China receives about 3,000 applications for the School of the Gifted Young each year, admitting only about 50 a year.


Monday, November 21, 2011 - 3:00am

A plane crash Thursday night killed Kurt Budke, the women's basketball coach at Oklahoma State University, and the assistant  women’s basketball coach, Miranda Serna. The crash took place in Arkansas, where they were on a recruiting trip.

Monday, November 21, 2011 - 3:00am

The Universities of Cambridge and Toronto have just announced fund-raising records for universities in Europe and Canada, respectively.

Cambridge announced that its fund-raising campaign in honor of the university's 800th anniversary has raised £1.17 (or about $2 billion), more than any European university has ever raised.

Less than two months ago, the University of British Columbia announced a $1.5 billion fund-raising campaign, at the time the largest such effort in Canada. Now the University of Toronto has that record, having launched a $2 billion campaign. Toronto has raised $966 million in the quiet phase of the fund-raising effort.


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