A recently released poll of education leaders, including lawmakers and current and former Education Department staff, found that most think Mitt Romney's selection of Representative Paul Ryan as a running mate isn't terribly significant for education -- except for the future of the Pell Grant. "Education is not Paul Ryan's thing and he's not likely to focus on it," said one respondent, according to Whiteboard Advisors, which released the poll Wednesday. But because Ryan's budget would force changes to Pell, several suggested that program -- for better or worse -- could be a policy focus in a Romney/Ryan administration.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Graham Spanier, who was forced out as president of Pennsylvania State University over the Jerry Sandusky scandal, has given his first extensive interview since the turmoil became public, telling The New Yorker about his friendly relations with the late Joe Paterno and what he knew (or maintains he didn't know) about what Sandusky did. Spanier disputes many of the findings of the Freeh Report, which was commissioned by the university, and says he was not told of the seriousness of the allegations against Sandusky in the now-infamous shower incident. Spanier also suggests that the university's leaders erred in largely endorsing the findings of the Freeh Report, which he predicts will be found to be inaccurate in key ways.
A Christian college in Minnesota has joined a coalition opposing an amendment to that state's constitution to ban gay marriage. Augsburg College, associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, announced Tuesday that it had joined Minnesotans United for All Families, a coalition of organizations working to defeat the proposed amendment. (Minnesota state law does not allow gay marriage.) Minnesota state law allows organizations with nonprofit status, including colleges, to weigh in on ballot measures.
Augsburg is the second college to publicly oppose the amendment, although faculty members at other colleges have also spoken out against it. Capella University, a for-profit college, announced Aug. 3 that it opposed the amendment. "Capella is a stronger place because of our diversity, and we have made an intentional effort to create a workplace that is supportive of families of all backgrounds," the company's chairman and chief executive officer, Kevin Gilligan, said in a statement at the time. "Just as importantly, I am very concerned that this amendment will have a negative impact on the ability of Minnesota companies to attract and retain talented employees."
"No loans" policies -- in which students with family incomes below certain levels receive grants in place of loans --have resulted in colleges that adopted them seeing gains in the percentage of students eligible for Pell Grants, says a report being released today by the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Private institutions saw a 1.7 percentage point average gain in Pell-eligible students, while publics saw a 1.3 percentage point increase. While the report praises these programs, it also identifies dangers in them. "When well-publicized, these programs have the potential to generate greater interest among high-achieving low-income students," the report says. "When this occurs, enrollment management professionals may be tempted to use these aid programs as a marketing strategy that simply drums up interest among the highest-achieving low-income students. As a result of this increased demand, opportunistic colleges may try to 'skim' the top low-income students without actually changing the total proportion of low-income students on campus."
The former University of Nebraska women’s basketball player who told police last month that three men broke into her house, pinned her down and carved anti-gay slurs on her body faked the attack, officers said Tuesday. Charlie Rogers, a lesbian who holds the Cornhusker record for second-most blocked shots ever at the university, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to filing a false police report, but officers told the Associated Press the attack was a hoax in which Rogers cut her own chest, legs, buttocks and abdomen. In identifying a motive, police pointed to this message Rogers had posted on her Facebook page four days earlier: "So maybe I am too idealistic, but I believe way deep inside me that we can make things better for everyone. I will be a catalyst. I will do what it takes. I will. Watch me.” Like many of the fake hate crimes put on by college students looking to make a political statement or meet some personal ends, Rogers’s hoax prompted broad, public support for the alleged victim. Rogers’s lawyer said the former player stands by her report, which she made amid a local debate over a proposed city ordinance that would ban discrimination against LGBT people, and “has no reason to lie about what happened.”
Colleges in the Golden State would be prohibited from requesting access to students’ social media accounts under legislation passed Tuesday by the California Senate. Gov. Jerry Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign the bill, SB 1349, into law. Similar legislation passed in Delaware last month, and another bill passed the Maryland Senate but ultimately stalled. Colleges including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Louisville have come under criticism recently for monitoring athletes’ social media activities (with the students’ knowledge) by demanding access to their accounts, requiring them to “friend” athletics department employees on Facebook, and using software to monitor who publishes words such as “drunk driving” and “drugs.” Some of the bills, including the one in California, have been counterparts to legislation prohibiting employers from regulating employees’ social media use.
Community colleges should participate in the federal student loan programs and, when appropriate, encourage students to borrow -- as long as they counsel students against borrowing too much, according to "Making Loans Work," a report released Tuesday by the Institute for College Access and Success and the California Community Colleges Student Financial Aid Administrators Association. About 3 percent of community college students borrow federal loans in California; borrow federal loans? do we need to say in here somewhere that the reason these groups are encouraging colleges to enter the federal loan program isn't because they are eager for students to borrow, but so that students who do can borrow federal rather than private loans? dl nationwide, about 13 percent do. The report highlighted practices at some community colleges -- such as requiring in-person counseling or identifying students who might be overborrowing -- and encouraged community colleges to emulate them. The groups urged colleges to participate in the federal loan program in part because they fear that without it, students will turn to private loans, which have fewer protections, instead.
Humboldt State University announced Tuesday that it was calling off the men's soccer season for the fall. A statement from the university said that the decision "stems from a party held off-campus Aug. 4, which involved more than 20 members of the soccer team. There were multiple instances of hazing designed to humiliate and degrade certain players. There was also highly dangerous level of alcohol use and underage drinking, though no students received medical attention." The university also said that it is investigating allegations of hazing involving the women's soccer team.
The most famous line in the movie "Dirty Dancing" is "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." Karlstad University, in Sweden, is debating whether neon artwork with that line belongs on its new library, The Local reported. Åsa Bergenheim, the rector, has defended the artwork. "It means that we straighten our backs and give our best because we are capable," she said. Bergenheim said she wasn't concerned about skeptics of placing the quote on the library building. "There are always critical voices when it the university is concerned. Words are obviously very controversial as art," she said. But some at the university have taken to denouncing the placement of the quote, with one person calling the decision to decorate the library in this way "the most stupid thing I have seen in ages."