Penn Tweaks Application Requirements to Remove SAT Essay

The University of Pennsylvania has reshaped its application requirements for the 2015-16 admissions cycle, doing away with the requirement that applicants submit the writing portion of the SAT or ACT.

“The decision to no longer require the essay portion of the SAT or ACT is one we considered carefully,” said Eric Furda, dean of admissions, in a news release. “Our internal analysis as well as a review of the extensive research provided by the College Board showed that the essay component of the S…


2 For-Profit Colleges Will Pay Former Students $2.3 Million in Settlement

[Updated (7/30/2015, 4:26 p.m.) with a statement from Lincoln Educational Services.]

Kaplan Career Institute and Lincoln Technical Institute will pay a combined $2.3 million to former students to settle claims by the Massachusetts attorney general, Maura Healey, that the two colleges intentionally misled students. Specifically, Ms. Healey says the colleges advertised job-placement rates of more than 70 percent, when in reality they were much lower, and used unfair recruiting tactics to attract p…


U. of Oregon Graduate Student Admits to Falsifying Data for 4 Papers

A graduate student at the University of Oregon has admitted to faking the data behind four scientific papers, the blog Retraction Watch reports. David E. Anderson told the blog he had made an “error in judgment” in falsifying the data.

His former supervisor, the brain researcher Edward Awh, who now works at the University of Chicago, has requested that the papers be retracted.

“I take full responsibility for my actions, as they do not reflect the integrity of research conducted in the lab of Dr….


How to Simplify the Fafsa? Student-Aid Officials’ Group Weighs In

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators is out with recommendations for how to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the Fafsa. Making the application less cumbersome is a popular cause, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the College Board, and the chairman of the U.S. Senate’s education committee, Lamar Alexander, among others.

In a report released on Thursday, the student-aid administrators’ group recommended that the Fafsa be m…


U. of New Hampshire’s President Condemns Guide to ‘Bias-Free Language’

A University of New Hampshire guide to “bias-free language” drew criticism on Wednesday from social-media posts that cited it as an example of political correctness gone too far, and it was even condemned by the college’s president. The Associated Press reports the president, Mark W. Huddleston, said the guide, which calls use of the word “American” problematic, among other things, is not campus policy.

“I am troubled by many things in the language guide, especially the suggestion that the use o…


U. of Cincinnati Police Officer Who Killed Unarmed Black Man Is Charged With Murder

[Last updated (7/29/2015, 3:13 p.m.) with footage from the officer's body camera and details from a news conference held by city leaders.]

The University of Cincinnati police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man during a traffic stop this month has been indicted by a grand jury and charged with murder, the Hamilton County prosecutor, Joseph T. Deters, announced on Wednesday.

The Associated Press reports that Mr. Deters said during a news conference that the officer, Ray Tensing, had “…


Federal Trade Commission Opens Broad Investigation of U. of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix is the subject of an extensive investigation by the Federal Trade Commission to determine whether it engaged in deceptive practices, according to a corporate filing on Wednesday by its parent company, the Apollo Education Group.

Details about the inquiry are scant, but, according to the filing, the commission is seeking “information regarding a broad spectrum of the business and practices” at the giant for-profit educator, “including in respect of marketing, recruiting,…


Layoffs Take Effect at U. of Akron (and Prompt a Mocking Craigslist Ad)

Looming layoffs at the University of Akron became a reality this week, with staff members in its Multicultural Center, UA Press, and registrar’s office among those who learned their jobs were being eliminated.

The Plain Dealer reports that on Monday the Ohio university’s Board of Trustees approved plans, announced this month, to eliminate more than 200 positions. The measures are intended to plug a $60-million budget shortfall over the next three years, as the university plans an ambitious move


Blackboard Is for Sale in Auction That Might Draw $3-Billion Bids

Blackboard, the giant provider of learning-management software, is for sale. According to the Reuters news agency, the privately held software company is seeking a buyer unfazed by an estimated $3-billion price tag. The company has hired two banks to conduct an auction to find such a buyer. Blackboard was taken private in a buyout four years ago. Since then, it has faced increased competition from educational-technology start-ups.

Blackboard’s majority owner, private equity firm Providence Equity Partners LLC, has hired Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) to run an auction for the company, the people said this week.

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Wheaton College (Ill.) Ends Student Health Insurance Over Contraceptive Rule

Wheaton College of Illinois will stop providing students with health insurance because of its objections to the Obama administration’s controversial rule on access to contraceptives, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Many other religious colleges have asserted that the contraceptive mandate violates their religious beliefs. The Obama administration’s attempts to compromise on the rule have so far failed to satisfy those institutions, several of which have filed lawsuits over the mandate.