Wyoming Catholic College Drops Out of Federal Student-Aid Programs

Wyoming Catholic College has announced that it will quit participating in the federal student-aid programs in order to avoid having to comply with federal regulations that it describes as burdensome and “clearly troubling for faith-based institutions.” The decision was unanimously approved last week by the college’s Board of Directors.

“By abstaining from federal funding programs,” the college’s president, Kevin D. Roberts, said in a news release, “we will safeguard our mission from unwarrante…


Education Dept. to Drop 5 Collection Agencies Over ‘Deceptive Practices’

The U.S. Education Department is cutting ties with five private collection agencies that it says provided inaccurate information to student-loan borrowers. In an announcement late Friday, the department also said it would step up its monitoring and guidance of such collection agencies, which work under government contracts, to ensure that they give borrowers accurate data on their loans.

The measures announced on Friday stem from the department’s review of the 22 private collection agencies it …


La. Governor’s Proposed $211-Million Cut for Colleges Is Smaller Than Feared

Louisiana’s public colleges would face a significantly smaller funding cut than initially feared under a budget proposal unveiled on Friday by Gov. Bobby Jindal, The Advocate reports. In recent weeks leaders panicked over the $400-million figure being floated as the amount that could be cut from the state’s public colleges.

Mr. Jindal’s latest proposal would drop that figure to $211-million, and the plan suggests ways to mitigate the cut, including selling off parts of campuses and allowing colleges to raise their graduate students’ tuition.

F. King Alexander, president of the Louisiana State University system, said on Friday he was optimistic that leaders could work with legislators to further lessen the proposed cuts. “This is the worst-case scenario, and it could only get better from here,” he said.

Mr. Jindal is one of a handful of governors across the country who have proposed drastic cuts in public higher education.

Southern University System President Ron Mason noted that the cuts outlined by Jindal’s administration are much less than higher education leaders had been bracing for, but still significant. “The only manageable scenario is zero cuts,” he said.

Jindal’s plan offers up several recommendations for filling the gap in funding: increased fees for students — dubbed “excellence fees,” increasing the price of advanced degrees that aren’t directly tied to the state’s Taylor Opportunity Program, giving the schools more autonomy over risk management, and raising the state’s cigarette tax to provide a tax credit program for students and businesses that donate to colleges and universities.

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Diversity Declined at Medical Schools Barred From Considering Applicants’ Race

Report: “Racial Diversity in the Medical Profession: The Impact of Affirmative Action Bans on Underrepresented Student of Color Matriculation in Medical Schools”

Authors: Liliana M. Garces, assistant professor of higher education at Pennsylvania State University at University Park, and David Mickey-Pabello, doctoral student in sociology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Summary: The study, published in the March/April issue of The Journal of Higher Education, attempts to gauge how medic…


UNC Athletes Got Special Treatment in Grad Admissions, Former Official Says

The academic-fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has focused largely on how fake undergraduate classes helped athletes maintain their eligibility to compete. In an article in The News & Observer over the weekend, a former UNC official says athletics officials also sometimes asked the university’s graduate school to bend the rules to admit athletes in order to extend their eligibility.

Cheryl Thomas, who was the graduate school’s admissions director from 2002 to 2010, told the newspaper that, roughly once a year during that period, someone from the athletics department or the UNC administration would contact her with a request to find a place for an athlete. She gave the newspaper details about two athletes—a football player and a men’s basketball player—who were admitted to graduate programs under such circumstances. Neither player completed his program; one of them skipped classes and examinations, and flunked out.

Ms. Thomas said her unwillingness to toe the line over such admissions, along with other unrelated management concerns, put her at odds with her supervisors. She resigned in 2010 after nearly 22 years as a university employee.

The current dean of the graduate school and a former dean who admitted one of the athletes said academic departments have different criteria for admission and can request exceptions to allow for a late application or low grades and test scores. They declined to discuss decisions regarding specific students.

Ms. Thomas said admitting unqualified athletes to highly competitive graduate-school programs so they can continue playing is fundamentally wrong. UNC’s graduate school typically rejects about two-thirds of the roughly 15,000 students who apply each year. “You can’t turn down thousands of people and say yes to one just so he can play basketball,” she said.

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Review Finds Flaws in U. of Minnesota’s Handling of Vulnerable Human Subjects

An external review of the University of Minnesota’s research practices has found flaws in its handling of human subjects, particularly patients who are at risk of impaired decision making or are otherwise vulnerable, the Pioneer Press reports.

The release on Friday of a report describing the review’s findings followed years of controversy over the death of Dan Markingson, a schizophrenia patient who was participating in a drug trial at the university. Mr. Markingson committed suicide in 2004 at …


Amid Protests, U. of North Carolina Board Votes to Close Poverty Center

The University of North Carolina system’s governing board has unanimously approved a proposal to close a center on poverty at the Chapel Hill flagship, a move critics have called politically motivated, The Charlotte Observer reports.

The controversial vote capped a Friday meeting that was briefly derailed by student protests. The interruption prompted the Board of Governors to relocate to another room that the protesters were barred from entering.

The proposal to close the Center on Poverty, Wo…


Faculty Union Rips U. of Delaware President’s Column Endorsing ‘Learner-Centric’ Education

The faculty union at the University of Delaware has assailed the president over a column he wrote suggesting that professors give up some of their autonomy in course design, among other things, The News Journal reports.

The union called the ideas presented in Patrick T. Harker’s February 5 column in The Philadelphia Inquirer “an affront to the mission of university education and to core values of academic life.”

In the column, Mr. Harker argues that universities nationwide must embrace a more “l…


Theodore Hesburgh, Longtime Notre Dame President and Giant of Higher Education, Dies at 97

The Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, the longtime president of the University of Notre Dame and a legendary figure in American higher education, died on Thursday night, the university said. He was 97.

Father Hesburgh, who led the Roman Catholic institution from 1952 to 1987, catapulted it to national prominence, earning it a reputation as one of the best-known Christian universities in the world. He was also a champion of civil rights, serving on the first U.S. Commission on Civil Rights as he fought …


U. of Oregon Amends Its Response to Sexual-Assault Lawsuit

The University of Oregon on Thursday dropped a counterclaim it had filed as part of its response to a lawsuit by a student who contends that the university mishandled her sexual-assault complaint against three basketball players, The Register-Guard reports.

In a lawsuit filed in January against the university and its head basketball coach, Dana Altman, the student alleged that the institution and the coach had made winning games a higher priority than investigating her claim.

The university file…