With Arizona set to impose more budget cuts on its public colleges, legislators in the state are considering legislation that would save for-profit colleges in the state millions in taxes on their online students, the Arizona Republic reported. The legislation would reduce the state income tax that certain businesses pay when they sell services to out-of-state customers, the newspaper reported; officials at the Apollo Group and Grand Canyon Education, both of which are based in Phoenix and have reportedly lobbied for the change, disputed a state estimate that the bill would save them $33 million combined, the Republic said.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Academic labor groups were horrified by the bill passed by the Ohio Senate this month, effectively denying collective bargaining rights to faculty members in the state, which has many unionized campuses. But some saw a little bit of a silver lining in that the text of the bill that circulated at the time suggested that the legislation would end state bans on collective bargaining by part-time faculty members or graduate students. It turns out, however, that those bans would stay in place. A final version of the bill that the Senate passed includes those restrictions -- suggesting that everyone who teaches at public colleges and universities would be barred from collective bargaining if the bill becomes law.
The latest in a series of short-term spending bills that Congress will consider this week as lawmakers do battle over the longer-term funding of the government would leave key higher education programs unscathed but eliminate more than $100 million in earmarks for agriculture and other research programs that benefit colleges and universities. The measure, which House Republicans unveiled on Friday, would fund the federal government through April 8 while Congressional leaders and the White House negotiate over a bill to finance government operations through the rest of the 2011 fiscal year.
Officials at the University of Nebraska at Omaha announced Sunday that the institution's athletics program would move to the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I -- but shed its football and wrestling programs in the process. In a news conference Sunday about the move, which still requires the approval of the university's Board of Regents, campus officials said the decision was necessary to ensure the long-term financial viability of the sports program.
Police and University of Virginia officials are investigating the possibility of hazing by Zeta Psi after a pledge was hospitalized for drinking an entire bottle of soy sauce, The Washington Post reported. The student had a seizure and was hospitalized with an electrolyte imbalance. The Daily Progress, a Charlottesville newspaper, also reported that the pledges were made to eat a dish made of dog food, matzo balls, gefilte fish and soy sauce.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association and Arkansas State University agreed on Friday that a former university official engaged in academic fraud and that 31 athletes participated when they should have been ineligible. In a case adjudicated through the NCAA's summary disposition process, which is used when there is no disagreement between NCAA investigators and campus officials, the Division I Committee on Infractions found that Arkansas State -- because of a misunderstanding by two new academic advisers -- had let 31 athletes play although they had failed to complete a large enough proportion of their degree requirements under NCAA rules. And the university's former director of technology, without the knowledge of the professor of a men's basketball player, had changed the athlete's grade in two separate courses to keep him eligible. Arkansas State will vacate victories for four teams whose athletes played while ineligible and lose a handful of scholarships as a result of the violations.
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The board that governs Nevada's higher education system on Friday rejected the possibility of shutting campuses to close the enormous budget gap the system faces over the next two years, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Governor Brian Sandoval has proposed a nearly 30 percent cut in the budget for the Nevada System of Higher Education by 2013, and presidents of the system's campuses have laid out plans that would eliminate scores of academic programs and many hundreds of jobs, cut salaries and sharply increase student tuition and fees. But by an 8 to 5 vote, regents dismissed the alternative of closing campuses, amid opposition to the idea from students, college officials and local business leaders.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday announced a new effort to work with leading women's colleges to encourage women around the world in the areas of leadership and public service. While details are minimal, Clinton said that the State Department would be working with the five "Seven Sisters" institutions that are still women's colleges: Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith and Wellesley Colleges. (She noted that the latter college is her alma mater.) "As a first step, we will host a conference this fall bringing policy makers, public officials, academics, innovative thinkers together from around the world to build these new global partnerships, so that once we’ve brought attention to an issue or a leader, we will be able to continue to build and support the work that is being done," she said. Clinton made the announcement at a summit on women's issues organized by the recently combined Newsweek and The Daily Beast.