Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 4:25am

The percentage of new California high school graduates who enroll in the University of California and California State University Systems has dropped from 22 percent in 2007 to less than 18 percent in 2010, according to a report issued Wednesday night by the Public Policy Institute of California. Further, the enrollment of California high school graduates who have completed courses required for admission to the university systems has dropped from 67 percent to 55 percent. The declines are the apparent result of population growth at a time of deep budget cuts that have limited enrollment and led to tuition increases at many of the state's universities. The enrollment drop has been steepest among black students. While there has been a slight increase in the enrollment rates at community colleges, that has not offset the other declines. The report says that it appears that more California high school graduates than in the past are enrolling at four-year institutions outside the state.

 

Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 4:27am

Paul Burka, a well-connected writer at The Texas Monthly, blogged Wednesday night -- to the alarm of many faculty members at the University of Texas at Austin -- that the job of President Bill Powers may be in jeopardy. Burka wrote that he had learned of a move by University of Texas regents to remove Powers because of his opposition to a tuition freeze. Governor Rick Perry, a Republican who has selected the regents, has pushed the tuition freeze. Powers has argued that the university can maintain access through financial aid, and that some additional tuition revenue is needed to assure the best possible educational experience for students. Powers has also rejected many of the criticisms made of the university system by a think tank close to Perry.

Burka wrote: "I was told that the situation is fluid and may be happening as I write. My understanding, based on what a source with knowledge of the proceedings has conveyed, is that regents’ chairman Gene Powell asked Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa to recommend that Powers be fired. Cigarroa refused. The next step will likely be a special meeting of the board to take action. I have no indication that notice of the meeting has been posted."

A spokesman for UT Austin said via e-mail to Inside Higher Ed that that the university would offer no comment on Burka's report.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 3:00am

The University of Miami is preparing to lay off as many as 800 employees, roughly 8 percent of its work force, amid cutbacks in state and federal funds and payments by insurers, The Miami Herald reported. Although Miami is a private institution that often operates out of public view, it signaled its plans on a state website Tuesday because of a Florida law that requires employers to warn of layoffs that would affect 500 or more workers.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 3:00am

The faculty union of the University of Rhode Island has filed an unfair labor practice charge after the state's Board of Governors for Higher Education rejected a three-year contract that had been negotiated with the union, The Providence Journal reported. The board also rejected contracts for other public colleges, and for graduate students at the university. Board members said that they didn't have enough information on the financial implications of the contracts. A statement from the American Association of University Professors, which represents the faculty members and grad students at the university, blasted the move, saying that "board negotiators represented to us that they were authorized to reach agreement with us."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 3:00am

A bill to keep the interest rate on subsidized student loans at 3.4 percent for another year failed to pass a key procedural hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday, setting up more conflict over how to stop the interest rate from doubling July 1. Democrats and Republicans have agreed on the need to keep the interest rate at its current, historic low for at least another year, but can't find common ground on how to pay for the extension. House Republicans passed a bill last week to take the needed $6 billion from a preventive care fund in the health care reform law, while Senate Democrats support changing tax laws to require high-earning stockholders in certain types of corporations to contribute to payroll taxes.

The Senate voted 52-45 in favor of allowing debate on the bill, but failed to reach the 60 votes needed to defeat a filibuster.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 3:00am

Shaun Green, men's soccer coach at Central Connecticut State University, is facing criticism after he acknowledged taking stacks of the student newspaper and throwing them in the trash, the Associated Press reported. He was upset over an article about his team's inability to meet academic requirements to participate in next season's National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.

 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 3:00am

Northeastern University on Tuesday officially unveiled plans to open a Seattle graduate campus in September. The Boston-based university last year launched a graduate campus in Charlotte, N.C., and plans to start other campuses in Austin, Minneapolis and Silicon Valley. The Seattle branch will feature 16 degree programs, including cybersecurity and engineering, which will be geared to the city's technology sector. Tayloe Washburn, a local business leader, will be the campus's dean and executive officer.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 4:26am

A panel of the California State University Board of Trustees has endorsed a plan that it hopes will halt intense criticism of the board's moves to increase pay for campus presidents at a time of deep budget cuts. The plan would freeze state-funded pay for campus presidents, but allow foundations to provide new presidents with additional pay up to 10 percent more than that received by their predecessors, The Los Angeles Times reported. So far, critics aren't dropping their concerns. "They are trying to run it like a for-profit business, but we're a public university, so it's the citizens that are really paying," said Liz Cara, a professor of occupational therapy at San Jose State University.

 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Daniel Ladik of Seton Hall University reveals why some consumers struggle with the same purchasing decision over and over again. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 3:00am

State grant programs for college students should move beyond their traditional dichotomy between “need based” and “merit based” aid and instead target students with financial need but set expectations and support for college success, says a report published Tuesday by a Brookings Institution panel. The report, which was discussed at an event at Brookings Tuesday and outlined in an essay on Inside Higher Ed, argues that the grants must be made more effective given their increasing performance as tuition costs rise and other state support for higher education erodes.

 

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