The U.S. Education Department has selected a Minnesota company, Education Credit Management Corporation, to manage California's federal student loan portfolio, The Sacramento Bee reported. The decision removes EdFund from the federal loan program. EdFund has managed California's federal loans but has been in a series of controversies with the state, with some officials wanting to sell the agency -- a move that is now blocked.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Iran is focusing on the humanities in a new crackdown on the country's universities, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty reported. New limits will be placed on the number of students permitted to study the humanities, consistent with worries expressed by Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that nearly two-thirds of Iranian university students are seeking degrees in the humanities. He said that the humanities promote "skepticism and doubt in religious principles and beliefs."
A new study by researchers at the University of Leeds has found that one in four lap dancers have undergraduate degrees and a number of them are pursuing graduate education. The study is attracting considerable attention in Britain. In this clip from a BBC interview, one of the researchers cites the need to repay student debt as one factor in the trend.
The University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Friday to defer consideration of a plan to make it easier to eliminate the jobs of tenured professors. The plan -- opposed by faculty leaders -- would authorize universities in the system to dismiss tenured professors not only when programs are completely eliminated due to financial exigency (the status quo) but because programs are reduced in size. Board members said that they would consult with faculty groups before any further consideration of the issue.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has barred Louis Wozniak, a popular engineering professor, from teaching, The News-Gazette reported. The newspaper said that the decision was prompted by an e-mail the professor sent to a class, in which he included a joke about only remembering the names of students he has had sex with. The professor said that the context made it clear that he was joking, and that he did not have sex with any students.
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) announced Thursday that he plans to host a Chicago forum on for-profit higher education on Tuesday. Speakers will include two former for-profit students, the presidents of two public institutions, and executives from Career Education Corporation, Devry, Inc. and Kaplan University. The forum will consider "whether some for-profit colleges are exploiting rather than educating Illinois students" and include discussion of the industry's growth, reliance on the federal financial aid program and the value of the sector's degrees and certificates.
Durbin has been the most vocal member on the issue who is not on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. Earlier this summer, he delivered a speech questioning the for-profit college business model. He was one of a half-dozen Democrats to sign onto a June letter asking the Government Accountability Office to initiate a wide-ranging investigation of the sector, and he wrote to the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs earlier this month asking for information on how federal tuition assistance for current and former members of the military is being spent at for-profits.
The University of California has appointed an official to manage the costs associated with the home of Mark G. Yudof, president of the university, The New York Times reported. The move followed reports of hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses and the involvement of senior university officials in disputes over his previous rented home.
The University of Notre Dame has responded to a suit by a fired tenured professor by detailing the reasons it dismissed Oliver M. Collins as an engineering professor, The South Bend Tribune reported. While Collins said he was fired inappropriately, the university says that he used more than $190,000 in grant funds on unauthorized equipment, including digital cameras used to take pornographic pictures.
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.
Wells College this week announced plans to eliminate several majors and five faculty positions by the 2011-12 academic year, AuburnPub.com reported. French and religion will both be eliminated as majors, and while courses will still be offered, they will be taught by adjuncts, and tenured faculty lines will be eliminated. Music will be eliminated as a concentration in the performing arts major. Faculty have been concerned for several months about the college's financial situation and plans to cut programs and positions.