State policy

San Jose State University gets more selective, reluctantly

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San Jose State University gets more selective for local students, citing budget cuts and enrollment pressure, while 15 other Cal State campuses are at least partially overcrowded.

Public universities will take on more debt as states decrease spending on capital projects

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With state lawmakers unwilling to fund capital projects at colleges and universities, public institutions increasingly turn to debt to finance construction and maintenance.

Arizona proposal latest to object to subsidizing others' educations

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Proposals in Arizona and two other states show a reluctance to subsidize the higher education of others, and question a longstanding practice of using aid to improve access.

Virginia governor seeks to cap use of tuition revenue for financial aid

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Virginia governor challenges a centuries-old tradition of using tuition revenue from wealthier students as financial aid for other students.

UC system weighs shift in tuition payments to after graduation

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Proposal being weighed by University of California to shift student payments to after graduation and tie them to income would be a dramatic change in how education is financed.

Delayed state payments cause headaches for Illinois public universities

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For three years, Illinois has delayed payments to public colleges, presenting a different sort of budgeting problem for administrators.

Texas business group's billboard campaign on completion rates

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Texas Association of Business goes after community college graduation rates with a campaign that was influenced by Complete College America.

State budget cuts make completion goals difficult for community colleges

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Citing severe state budget woes, community college leaders are pessimistic about the feasibility of the push to graduate more students, survey finds.

Mergers haven't been part of Pennsylvania public higher ed's past. Might the future be different?

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Politics, geography and history all prevent the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education from following Georgia's consolidation path.

Lawmakers Complain, Tennessee Chattanooga Fires Reporter

After pushback from Tennessee lawmakers about how a journalist handled herself while reporting on the state’s transgender bathroom access legislation, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga fired the journalist, The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

The journalist, Jacqui Helbert, worked for WUTC, an NPR affiliate station that receives funding from UTC.

Earlier this month, Helbert was reporting on Tennessee’s “bathroom bill,” which would have required all students in the state, including transgender students, to use restrooms and dressing rooms that match the gender on their birth certificates. The bill failed last week.

As part of the reporting for her story, Helbert went with a group of high school students to the state capital, where they met with state senators about the bill.

At the meeting, Helbert held a 22-inch fuzzy microphone, headphones and other recording equipment in a crowd of 20 or so high school students, but she did not explicitly declare herself a journalist to lawmakers. When her story aired, the lawmakers accused Helbert of failing to abide by journalistic ethics.

“It was glaringly obvious who I was,” said Helbert, who also wore an NPR press pass openly at the event.

Lawmakers, including State Senator Kevin Brooks, said the information shared during the meeting with high schoolers was not intended to be public.

“I don’t recall anyone having recording gear at all, or anyone looking or feeling like a reporter,” Brooks said. “I was meeting with kids. These were young children.”

In a meeting the following week, lawmakers met with UTC officials to discuss a separate matter. However, during this meeting, they discussed concerns about Helbert’s story, noting that UTC receives state funding.

The Times Free Press reported that UTC provided $510,000 to WUTC in 2016.

On Friday, the university released a statement about its decision to terminate Helbert.

“The university's decision to release the employee from the station was based on a violation of journalism ethics,” the statement said. “We believe the news-gathering process must be conducted in a manner that instills trust in the public. Failure to do so undermines journalistic credibility just as much as inaccurate information. We strive to maintain the faith of our listeners and the community we serve.”

Helbert’s story has since been removed from the WUTC website.

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