Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

January 10, 2013

City College of San Francisco is unlikely to be able to make necessary changes in time for a March deadline with its regional accreditor and will seek an extension, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The college is working frantically to correct a raft of financial and administrative problems, which could lead to a loss of accreditation. While the college has made solid progress, according to a special trustee who was brought in to help deal with the crisis, much more work remains. He told the newspaper that labor unions and some trustees remain opposed to changes like salary cuts and location closures.

January 10, 2013

Florida A&M University has blocked the university's student newspaper, The Famuan, from publishing until the staff goes through additional training, The Tallahassee Democrat reported. Further, the university has removed the advisor of the student newspaper. The Student Press Law Center also reported that staff members are being told that they must reapply for their positions. The moves follow a libel lawsuit against the newspaper.

January 10, 2013

The University of Phoenix expects to be placed "on notice" by its regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The commission recently conducted a comprehensive review of the university, and an official with the Apollo Group, which owns Phoenix, told investors this week that the commission had said it would soon issue a report identifying "several areas of concern" that arose from the review. Placing the university on notice is less serious than probation. Phoenix would have up to two years to correct issues that could affect its accreditation status.

January 10, 2013

The Law School Admission Council has sued the state of California over a new law barring the council from alerting law schools that applicants have received extra time on the Law School Admission Test, The National Law Journal reported. Supporters of the new law and advocates for people with disabilities say that time extensions are an appropriate tool to help people with some disabilities, and that their scores should not be called into question through "flagging" them, as the process is known. But the Law School Admission Council's suit charges that California is violating the group's First Amendment rights by controlling what it says. Further, the suit says that the law inappropriately focuses on only the LSAT and not other standardized tests that may use flagging.

 

January 10, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Randy Zwally of Messiah College explains the invention of hardware that allows the banjo to be played in and out of tune. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

January 10, 2013

Students who play basketball at the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s highest level – Division I -- continue to graduate at rates lower than their non-athlete peers who attend school full-time, according to the latest Adjusted Graduation Gap report from the Collegiate Sport Research Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The AGG formula calculates graduation rates differently than the Federal Graduation Rate and the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate: because athletes are required to take full course loads, the AGG omits part-time students from the data, resulting in larger gaps between the athletes and non-athletes. While the GSR consistently finds athletes graduating at higher rates than non-athletes overall, the AGG finds the opposite.

This AGG installment found that throughout Division I, male basketball players graduate at rates 20 percentage points lower than non-athletes, and female players at rates 9.2 percentage points lower. The gaps are higher at colleges in the eight major, more lucrative conferences: the Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Conference USA, Mountain West, Pacific 12, and Southeastern. For male athletes, the gap in mid-major conferences is 14.5 percentage points lower than the gap in major conferences; for female players the difference is 5.9 percentage points. The report also notes gaps by race. While this point was not significant among female athletes, the AGG for black basketball players is close to double that of white players (26.7 and 14.6 percentage points, respectively).

The CSRI releases three AGG reports annually, with each focusing on a different sport. The previous report, looking at rates among football players, came out in September. The baseball/softball report comes out in the spring.
 

January 10, 2013

Islamic University in Gaza City, the flagship university of Hamas, has started a Hebrew program, the Associated Press reported. The program seeks to train teachers for high schools in Gaza, which have been encouraged to add Hebrew to their curriculum. Somayia Nakhala, an official of the Education Ministry in Gaza, said that "as Jews are occupying our lands, we have to understand their language." Nakhala added that students need to "understand what's going on, like wars, medical treatment in Israel, in the West Bank."

January 10, 2013

Albany State University has returned a portion of the $3 million it received from the Ray Charles Foundation to construct a fine arts building to be named for the singer, The Albany Herald reported. The university has used some of the funds for scholarships, but the foundation has been seeking the money back since the fine arts center was not built.

 

January 10, 2013

Postsecondary enrollments will grow by 15 percent between 2010 and 2021, far less than the 46 percent increase that occurred between 1996 and 2010, the U.S. Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics said in an annual report released Wednesday. The report, "Projections of Education Statistics Through 2021," provides a slew of data that anticipate how key K-12 and higher education indicators (enrollments, degrees conferred, etc.) will change over the next decade. By comparison, last year's report projected a 13 percent increase in college enrollments between 2009 and 2020; whether the uptick is a sign that the "completion agenda" is having an effect will be a subject for debate.

This year's report also projects a 21 percent increase in the number of associate degrees awarded by 2021-22, a 21 percent increase in the number of bachelor's degrees, a 34 percent rise in the number of master's degrees, and a 24 percent upturn in the number of doctoral degrees. In all cases those numbers are roughly half the number awarded in the 1996-97 to 2009-2010 period.

January 9, 2013

For the first time in six years, state support for higher education did not top the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' annual list of top 10 higher education state policy issues. This year the top spot went to "Boosting Institutional Performance," which includes efforts to increase graduation rates, performance-funding policies, and alignment with state goals.

The shift, while subjective, is a reflection of both the increased emphasis on tying funding to outcomes and the understanding among higher education officials that state funding is not likely to return to pre-recession levels. "The adjustment in rankings is based on the broadening acceptance that state reinvestment in public higher education will be slow in coming -- and institutions must readjust both their operations and revenue mix accordingly," the report states.

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