Baker College incorrectly identified when as many as 20 percent of its distance education students began and stopped participating in their online classes, errors that resulted in ineligible students receiving nearly $10,000 in federal financial aid funds, the Education Department's inspector general said in an audit this week. The audit -- the conclusions of which Baker officials strongly disputed -- criticized the college's record keeping and said that of 100 randomly selected students (who received a total of $257,000 in federal aid), department officials were unable to find evidence that 22 of them had been enrolled in their courses long enough to qualify for their full allotment of financial assistance.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Carnegie Mellon University has suspended a master's program in information networking that it has run in Greece since 2002, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. University officials cited the impact of the recession, in Greece as well as in the United States.
Thomas Ross, president of Davidson College since 2007, is expected to be named today as the next president of the University of North Carolina System, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. Prior to being named to the Davidson post, Ross's career was outside of higher education. He worked as a lawyer, judge and foundation leader. Ross would succeed Erskine Bowles, whose career also was outside of higher education until being named UNC president.
Three national groups are teaming up to create an online portal where adult students with previously earned academic and work force credits can have that "prior learning" assessed by independent faculty evaluators to facilitate the acceptance of that work by colleges. The portal will be a joint project of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, the American Council on Education, and the College Board, and is being established with $2.2 million from the Lumina Foundation for Education and the Kresge and Joyce Foundations.
The University of Colorado at Boulder on Wednesday announced two reviews -- one on possibly eliminating its School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the other on creating a new program in information and communication technology. Officials stressed that no final decisions had been made, but that they believed -- and a previous review had suggested -- that significant changes are needed in the university's approach to journalism and communication education. "We want to strategically realign resources and strengths currently existing on the CU-Boulder campus to ensure that course and degree offerings meet the needs of students, the labor market, our campus mission and the communications needs of a rapidly changing global society," said a statement from Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano.
Graduate programs in business saw mixed trends in applications in the last year, according to survey data being released today by the Graduate Management Admission Council. Only 44 percent of full-time M.B.A. programs saw applications increase this year, compared to 66 percent reporting such an increase last year and 77 percent the year before that. A similar percentage of part-time programs reported an increase, relatively level compared to results a year ago. Executive M.B.A. programs may be a key growth area for business schools. Of those surveyed, 59 percent reported gains in applications this year, compared to only 37 percent a year ago.
The California Faculty Association is today releasing a report charging that the California State University System has been inappropriately mixing public funds into foundation accounts, the Los Angeles Times reported. Such mixing could be illegal because the foundation accounts are shielded from many open records requirements for the use of state funds. Cal State's chief financial officer confirmed that auditors had identified some problems with such mixing, but he said that the problem was not widespread and that he would soon issue guidelines to prevent any problems.
Apple released data on Tuesday demonstrating the dramatic growth of iTunes U. In three years of operations, downloads have topped 300 million. More than 800 colleges and universities have active sites, with more than 350,000 audio and video files posted.
Fidel Castro has apparently taken an interest in Beloit College's annual "mindset list" designed to help professors (in a humorous way) reflect on the experiences they and their new students don't share. The college released this year's list last week. Beloit officials were surprised to learn that the list was cited in a column by the Cuban leader, who took the list quite seriously. After citing some of the items on the list, Castro writes: "I was stunned to realize to what extent education could be distorted and prostituted in a country with more than 8 000 nuclear weapons and the most powerful means of war in the whole world."
The day some thought would never come has finally been set. After years of delays, methodology changes and griping about the delays and methodology changes, the National Research Council announced Monday that its rankings of doctoral programs would be released to the public on Sept. 28. Institutions will receive information about their programs in advance of the public release.