Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 10, 2014

University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst announced Friday that she is making several institutional changes to better address sexual violence on campus, two months after the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights announced it would investigate a Title IX complaint from students alleging the university isn’t doing enough.

The changes are recommendations from a task force Herbst appointed last summer to “deter and address” sexual violence. Herbst presented the group’s report on campus Friday, and announced she’d immediately enact several recommendations, including designating one office as a point of contact to help victims navigate campus policies and resources. Herbst said the university would also expand educational programming, and add support and resources that specifically target sexual violence (such as bystander intervention training), among other things.

In addition to filing the Title IX complaint, a group of students sued the institution and said Connecticut has shown “institutional indifference” toward sexual assault, a charge that Herbst denied.

February 10, 2014

McGraw-Hill Education on Friday announced it had acquired the adaptive learning company Area9, 13 months after the academic publisher purchased a 20 percent stake. The two companies have partnered to provide adaptive learning technology since 2007, for example through the publisher's LearnSmart series. In 2013, McGraw-Hill also acquired the ALEKS Corporation, another adaptive learning company.

February 10, 2014

Incorrect tax reporting by Harvard University -- suggesting that employees earned millions more than they really did -- has cost those employees considerable sums in overpaid taxes, The Boston Globe reported. Harvard acknowledged the errors on Friday and said that it would either reimburse employees or help them file amended tax returns to receive refunds. But the university acted only after two law professors circulated a letter saying that earlier communication from Harvard has been "misleading as to both the scope of the problem and the university’s responsibility to make some 11,000 employees whole for a monumental mistake by the central administration."

 

February 10, 2014

The Education Department on Friday announced the negotiators who will hammer out new rules for PLUS loans, campus debit cards, state authorization for distance programs and other topics on the administration’s sweeping second-term regulatory agenda.

The negotiated-rulemaking panel will convene for the first time on February 19 and meet several times over the next several months to address a range of regulations for institutions that receive federal student aid and the companies the handle the disbursement of that money.

Among the more contentious issues the panel will focus on are the eligibility requirements for obtaining a PLUS loan. Consumer advocates and some think tanks have called for tighter eligibility requirements while some historically black and for-profit colleges, whose students and their families rely heavily on the loans, have said the department’s efforts to tighten the underwriting criteria have already cut off college access for low-income and underserved students.

The panel will also attempt to draft rules for student debit cards and other financial products on campus through which students receive disbursements of their federal loans and grants. Advocacy groups, lawmakers and other federal agencies have questioned the lucrative arrangements that some debit card providers have with colleges to offer such products.

In addition, the negotiated-rulemaking committee will also seek to rewrite the department’s state authorization rule for distance education programs. The rule, which required colleges providing distance education to obtain permission to operate from every state in which they enroll students, was thrown out by a federal appeals court in 2012. The panel will also tackle the conversion of clock hours to credit hours when awarding credit, and rules governing when a student can receive federal aid for repeated coursework.

Following are the list of negotiators:

Carney McCullough, U.S. Department of Education

Pam Moran, U.S. Department of Education

Chris Lindstrom, higher education program director, U.S. Public Interest Research Group

*Maxwell John Love, vice president, United States Student Association

Whitney Barkley, staff attorney, Mississippi Center for Justice

Toby Merrill, director, Project on Predatory Student Lending, The Legal Services Center, Harvard Law School

Suzanne Martindale, staff attorney, Consumers Union

Carolyn Fast, special counsel, Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau, New York Attorney General’s Office

*Jenny Wojewoda, assistant attorney general, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office

David Sheridan, director of financial aid, School of International & Public Affairs, Columbia University

*Paula Luff, associate vice president of financial aid DePaul University

Gloria Kobus, director of student accounts & university receivables, Youngstown State University

*Joan Piscitello, treasurer, Iowa State University

David Swinton, president, Benedict College

*George French, president, Miles College

Brad Hardison, financial aid director, Santa Barbara City College

*Melissa Gregory, chief enrollment services and financial aid officer, Montgomery College

Chuck Knepfle, financial aid director, Clemson University

*J. Goodlett McDaniel, associate provost for distance education, George Mason University

Elizabeth Hicks, executive director, student financial services, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

*Joe Weglarz, executive director, student financial services, Marist College

Deborah Bushway, chief academic officer and vice president of academic innovation, Capella University

*Valerie Mendelsohn, vice president, compliance and risk management , American Career College

Casey McGuane, chief operations officer, Higher One

*Bill Norwood, chief architect and director, Heartland Payment Systems

Russ Poulin, deputy director, research and analysis, WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies

*Marshall Hill, executive director, National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements

Dan Toughey, president, TouchNet

*Michael Gradisher, vice president of regulatory and legal affairs, Pearson Embanet

Paul Kundert, president and CEO, University of Wisconsin Credit Union

*Tom Levandowski, senior company counsel, Wells Fargo Bank Law Department, Consumer Lending & Corporate Regulatory Division

Leah Matthews, executive director, Distance Education and Training Council

*Elizabeth Sibolski, president Middle States Commission on Higher Education

(Asterisk denotes alternate.)

February 10, 2014

In a first, a star of big-time college football has come out. Michael Sam, who won numerous awards as a defensive linesman for the University of Missouri at Columbia, on Sunday told The New York Times and ESPN that he is gay. He told his teammates last year in the preseason. Last month, a freshman kicker on the Willamette University football team came out as bisexual, at the time becoming the first football player to publicly identify, while playing, as non-straight. While Willamette is Division III, Missouri plays with the elites of college football and Sam has been expected to be drafted in the National Football League.

 

 

February 10, 2014

Loyola University New Orleans on Friday laid off 18 non-faculty employees as part of a plan to deal with a deficit caused by much lower than expected freshman enrollment in the fall, The Times-Picayune reported. In addition, the university announced that the contracts of 12 non-tenured faculty members would not be renewed.

 

February 10, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, James Gibbs of the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry explains the plight of the snow leopard. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

February 10, 2014

Newspapers in Texas are reporting that Francisco Cigarroa will today announce that he is stepping down as chancellor of the University of Texas System. A surgeon and a medical professor before rising through administration, Cigarroa reportedly will become the head of the pediatric surgery unit at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Cigarroa has been chancellor since 2009. In recent years he has been under (and resisted) intense pressure from some members of the Board of Regents who are close to Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, to fire Bill Powers as president of the flagship campus at Austin. Powers has been defended by many students, faculty members and alumni.

 

February 10, 2014

The rector of the University of Pristina, Kosovo's state university, has resigned amid student protests over reports of academic fraud by professors, Reuters reported. Students started protesting after local press reports that professors had been publishing work in fake academic journals to advance their careers.

February 7, 2014

National Associations

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

American Association of University Professors

American Council on Education

American Psychological Association

Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)

Association of American Universities

Association of Community College Trustees

Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors

Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

National Association for College Admission Counseling

National Association of Financial Aid Administrators

National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

State Higher Education Executive Officers Association

Veterans groups

Regional Associations

Association of Independent Colleges & Universities in Massachusetts

Association of Vermont Independent Colleges

Kansas Independent College Association

Minnesota Private College Council

Public and private, nonprofit colleges & universities in Wisconsin

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Advocacy Groups/Think Tanks

American Institutes for Research

Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success

College Educational Quality

Institute for Higher Education Policy

National Center for Learning Disabilities

New America Foundation

OneGoal

Postsecondary Analytics

Student Press Law Center

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program

The Institute for College Access & Success

Young Invincibles

Businesses

ACT, Inc.

Equifax Workforce Solutions

Higher One, Inc.

The College Board

University Systems

California Community College system

California State University System

State University of New York

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

University of California system

University of North Carolina system

Individual Institutions

Adrian College

Arkansas State University-Beebe

Athens State University

Athens State University

Brown University

Chesnut Hill College

Clemson University

Columbia College of Missouri

Cornell University

DeVry Education Group

Duke University

East Arkansas Community College

Empire State College

Fisher College

Forsyth Technical Community College

Furman University

Gordon College

Higher Education Consortia at the University of Delaware

Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation

Kaplan Inc.

Lasell College

Le Moyne College

Lebanon Valley College

LeTourneau University

Metropolitan State University of Denver

Mount Aloysius College

Newman University

Northeastern University

Ohio Wesleyan University

Pace University

Roosevelt University

Saint Leo University

Saint Louis University

Santa Clara University

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Shaw University

Southern Adventist University

Southern Methodist University

Stanford University

The Cleveland Institute of Art

The Ohio State University

Tri-County Technical College

University of Alaska

University of California, Berkeley

University of Colorado Boulder

University of Pennsylvania

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Washington State University

Webster University

Wheelock College

Widener University

Williams College

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