Higher Education Quick Takes
Settling a dispute between federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security decided Wednesday that it would provide $83 million in funds to help the University of Iowa rebuild three flood-damaged facilities on new sites, The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, reported. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had recommended the funds, but the Homeland Security agency's inspector general challenged the award in July, saying the buildings should have been repaired rather than rebuilt. But Homeland Security officials sided with FEMA on Wednesday. The Iowa campus was devastated by massive floods in 2008, and university officials have been counting on the federal funds as they have worked to rebuild the campus.
Students at the University of Miami have organized a petition and protests over the firing of Betty Asbury from her job as a cashier at a cafeteria, Miami New Times reported. Asbury was reportedly dismissed for letting a man leave the cafeteria without paying, but students and Asbury say that the man used a bathroom, but didn't actually consume anything that needed to be purchased. Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services, which manages food service at Miami, said it was reviewing the case.
An audit of the athletic department of the University of Missouri at Columbia has found $7,600 in charges to a Las Vegas strip club, The Kansas City Star reported. In one case, the bill was $4,400 but the university official who made the charges -- Michael Schumacher, the director of video operations -- added on a $2,000 tip. Missouri officials said that Schumacher repaid the money, and regrets the incident, and that he faced disciplinary action.
The number of first-year students at the nation's 141 medical schools rose by 1.5 percent this fall, about half the size of the increase from fall 2010 to fall 2011, the Association of American Medical Colleges reported Tuesday. The number of applicants to allopathic medical schools grew by 3.1 percent, to 45,266, while the number of first-time applicants increased by 3.4 percent. Of the 19,517 new students enrolled this fall, 4 percent (771 students) are at the 11 new medical schools that admitted their inaugural class between 2007 and 2012. Medical educators have been pushing for increases in enrollments, citing projected physician shortages in the years ahead, especially in general medical fields.
Potomac College will reimburse students for courses they take from StraighterLine, an online provider that offers 42 entry-level courses, according to a StraighterLine announcement. The for-profit college will pay students for the $999 fee for up to 10 StraighterLine courses, the equivalent of a full year of college, after students transfer the courses to Potomac and then successfully complete a semester there. StraighterLine's courses are not credit-bearing, but come with a credit recommendation from the American Council on Education.
At the University of Kentucky, employee contributions of 5 percent of salary to their retirement funds are matched by a 10 percent institutional contribution. For administrators, however, 15 percent of salary is provided by the university straight to the retirement fund. Faculty members, who have been sparring with the administration over budget cuts, suggested that the university eliminate the special benefit for administrators, but the university has declined, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The university did agree not to offer the benefit to any more administrators, but said it would be unfair to take it away from those already receiving the extra contributions to their retirement funds.
One year after college graduation, women are paid 82 cents for every dollar earned by their male peers, according to a report from the American Association of University Women. The gap is evident even when comparing women and men who work in the same field, and had the same college majors. The report also found that found that 20 percent of women working full time one year after graduation must spend more than 15 percent of earnings on paying back student loans.