Higher Education Quick Takes
The Symbiosis University, in Pune, India, has postponed a seminar and the screening of a film on Kashmir amid protests by nationalist Indian students that the programs were "anti-national," BBC News reported. A university spokesman said that the program had been intended as an "apolitical and academic event."
Parents can have an impact on the drinking habits of freshmen who are otherwise at high risk of abusing alcohol, according to a study from researchers at Pennsylvania State University. The study compared the impact of parental and peer interventions. The researchers found that non-drinkers who receiving information from their parents before enrolling were significantly less likely than others to become heavy drinkers. The impact of parental and peer interventions was the same in terms of helping a heavy drinker become a less heavy drinker.
Vassar College is apologizing for an incorrect notification of some early decision applicants that they had been admitted when in fact they were not, The New York Times reported. A test letter indicating acceptance was viewed Friday by 122 applicants -- only 46 of whom had in fact been admitted. The letter was supposed to have been replaced by another for the 76 who were not admitted.
WASHINGTON -- A panel of online higher education leaders on Friday described complex and expensive safeguards they are using to prevent financial aid fraud. "We're engaged in warfare" to combat increasingly sophisticated fraud rings, said James Berg, a vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer for the Apollo Group, Inc. The scale of fraud attempts can be daunting: Wallace Boston, president of the American Public University System, said his university last August received 68,000 phone calls from two ZIP codes in Mississippi, the vast majority of which were likely fraud-related.
Excelsior College and the United States Distance Learning Association hosted the daylong meeting. Panelists, who were drawn from a sector-crossing range of institutions, stressed the need to be proactive about curbing fraud. Otherwise, potentially onerous federal regulations could be enacted, and online higher education's credibility could suffer. "This provides fuel for those who are critical of online education," said John Ebersole, Excelsior's president.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ordered City Colleges of Chicago to end a policy of payouts for unused sick days for those who retire from the system while figuring out if it can stop such payments that were pledged in the past, The Chicago News Cooperative reported. The college's board -- at the request of a new chancellor, Cheryl Hyman -- had already ended the policy for new employees. But the colleges' employees have generated $7 million for unused sick days in the last decade. Among the big beneficiaries is the former chancellor, Wayne Watson, who has moved on to become president of Chicago State University. He has already been paid $300,000 for unused sick days, and is due another $200,000.
Hundreds of students have been admitted to South Korean universities through program designed to help the disadvantaged, even though these students aren't disadvantaged, The Chosun Ilbo reported. Since the admissions program covers students who grow up in some rural areas, families are getting addresses in those areas or moving there briefly, so that their children can be admitted without ever having lived there.
Newt Gingrich, trying to upset Mitt Romney in Florida's Republican presidential primary, devoted time during a recent speech to students and their difficulty paying for college. The Washington Post reported that he blamed coddled students living in luxury dormitories. "Students take fewer classes per semester. They take more years to get through. Why? Because they have free money," Gingrich said. "I would tell students: 'Get through as quick as you can. Borrow as little as you can. Have a part-time job.' But that’s very different from the culture that has grown up in the last 20 years.” Gingrich also praised the College of the Ozarks, a work college that he has hailed as a model for higher education.
But for all of Gingrich's demand that college students work their way through college, the Post dug out an article in Vanity Fair in 1995 that said Gingrich didn't work to pay for his own college education, relying on his first wife to work, and family members to provide cash. The article quoted Gingrich's stepmother remembering Gingrich saying: "I do not want to go to work. I want all my time for my studies."
Gingrich did not respond to the Post's request for comment.
Students and professors at California State University at Northridge are frustrated by strict limits on enrollments this semester, with most students barred from enrolling in more than 15 credits and most faculty members barred from letting any of their courses exceed enrollment limits, The Los Angeles Times reported. The reason for the tight enforcement of such rules? Northridge enrolled several thousand students beyond its cap (and beyond funding levels provided by the state) in the fall, and so the system is threatening to withhold $7 million if the campus doesn't bring enrollment down this semester.
The Princeton University Art Museum has returned six works of art to Italy, in the latest of a series of agreements between Italian authorities and museums over archaeological finds that were removed from Italy under questionable circumstances. The agreement specifically stipulates that Princeton acted in good faith and owned the works at the time of transfer. In many of the disputes, museums purchased or were given works that appeared to be legitimate for sale or donation. The objects returned are: a pair of female statuettes; four fragments of a red-figure calyx krater; fragments of an architectural relief; a pithos in white-on-red style; and a group of fragmentary architectural revetments.