The top recipient of federal student aid in Virginia is Liberty University, which last year took in $445 million in such funds, largely because of the rapid growth of Liberty's online programs, The News & Advance reported. While Liberty has 12,000 residential students, it now has 52,000 online students. The news has prompted considerable online commentary about the flow of funds to Liberty at a time that conservative lawmakers are trying to cut Pell Grants and other programs. Salon noted that Liberty received more federal funds last year than the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Bethany University, an Assemblies of God institution in California, is facing severe financial difficulties, The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported. The university has suspended major building projects, and has cut some majors and athletic teams, moves that have led to an enrollment decline from 534 to 448 in the last year.
The University of Colorado Board of Regents may vote this week on a plan to shut down a free-standing journalism program at the university's Boulder flagship and replace it with "journalism plus" in which students may earn a bachelor's degree in journalism, as long as they also complete another major, The Boulder Daily Camera reported. Colorado's review of journalism education has attracted considerable interest and criticism from some journalism education advocates.
Arthur Fisher, a former construction project manager at Vassar College, and his wife have been charged with stealing $1.9 million from the college, The Journal News reported. College officials said that the money was taken over the course of several years. The Fishers have not indicated how they will plead to the felony grand larceny charge. Police officers said that when they searched the Fisher home, they found four late-model BMWs and one Ford F150 truck, three Rolex watches, 10 unregistered handguns, one military style .223-caliber rifle, and fraudulent law enforcement identification cards.
College and university governing boards must respect the central role of faculty and academic administrators in curricular and other academic matters, but trustees themselves are ultimately responsible for ensuring their institutions' educational quality, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges said in a statement released Monday. The document, released in conjunction with the group's annual meeting in Los Angeles, states: "While academic administrators and faculty members are responsible for setting learning goals, developing and offering academic courses and programs, and assessing the quality of those courses and programs, boards cannot delegate away their governance responsibilities for educational quality. The board’s responsibility in this area is to recognize and support faculty’s leadership in continuously improving academic programs and outcomes, while also holding them -- through institutional administrators -- accountable for educational quality."
The Council of Graduate Schools is today releasing a report on steps taken by universities, academic departments and other groups to improve graduate education in the year since the release of the council's study "The Path Forward: The Future of Graduate Education in the United States." The new report suggests that many universities have become more strategic about graduate education in the wake of the earlier report.
China has restored the University of Calgary to the country's list of accredited universities, a list that many Chinese students rely upon when deciding where to enroll, The Calgary Herald reported. The university disappeared from the list last year, following a visit to the campus by the Dalai Lama.
Colleges that offer online programs to students in multiple states have been told that if they do not show a "good faith" effort to comply with various state rules governing higher ed by the beginning of July, they could lose their eligibility for federal student aid. But according to an update to an earlier report on online regulation by the consulting firm Eduventures, colleges are still uncertain about exactly what they need to do before then to avoid running afoul of state regulators or federal watchdogs. The firm says distance education officials at various institutions it surveyed were scrambling to undertake "extreme measures," such as acquiring licensing in every state where they enroll students or ceasing operations in all but their home states.
State officials, meanwhile, have been reticent to update or rework their online licensing requirements, despite the fact that in many states the existing rules are "unclear," "patchily enforced," and archaic in light of the new normal of online education, Eduventures says. Only 14 states have updated or reformulated their policies, it says. For reasons not primarily connected to online regulation, a coalition of higher ed officials, led by the American Council on Education, has lobbied to extend the July 1 deadline, which is when numerous federal rules are scheduled to take effect.