Category Archives: Finance

The money that makes academe tick.


U. of Hawaii Board Votes to Disinvest in Fossil-Fuel Companies

The University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents voted on Thursday to divest the system’s financial holdings in any companies involved in the production of fossil fuels, Pacific Business News reports.

The university, which plans to carry out the divestment by 2018, joins other higher-education institutions in choosing to rid itself of some or all of their investments in the fossil-fuel industry. They include the New School, Pitzer College, Stanford University, Syracuse University, the University of D…


College Chiefs in Illinois Enjoy ‘Fantasy World of Lavish Perks,’ Report Says

A report by members of the Illinois State Senate asserts that the state’s public-college presidents enjoy a “fantasy world of lavish perks,” many of which have been awarded without taxpayer input, the Chicago Tribune says.

The report stemmed from an investigation into presidential compensation that followed a controversy over a lucrative severance deal for Robert L. Breuder, president of the College of DuPage.

Many colleges have asserted that the kinds of perks criticized in the report are neces…


U.S. Senator’s Bill Would Make Public 4-Year Colleges Free for All

Bernard Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont and long-shot candidate for the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, introduced a bill on Tuesday that would make attending all four-year public colleges free. The College for All Act, the cost of which would be split between the federal government and the states, has virtually no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Congress.

The bill proposes a tax on transactions in the financial sector to offset its estimated $470-billi…


Education Dept. Proposes Reining In Deals Between Colleges and Banks

The U.S. Education Department on Friday proposed new regulations aimed at reining in agreements between colleges and banks that want to market their products to students. The proposed rules, scheduled for publication in Monday’s Federal Register, represent the Obama administration’s latest effort to curb those agreements, which can leave students on the hook for fees they may have incurred unintentionally.

Colleges and banks have reached hundreds of deals that, for example, allow students’ finan…


Citing Threats of Disruption, Sweet Briar’s President Won’t Attend Commencement

The president of Sweet Briar College will not attend what is slated to be the institution’s final commencement ceremony, writing in an email to the campus on Friday that he did “not want anything to distract from what should be a celebration of our students’ academic success.”

Faculty members and alumnae of the Virginia women’s college had asked James F. Jones Jr. not to attend the Saturday ceremony because of his role in the decision to close the institution. In his email, Mr. Jones cited threa…


State Residents at U. of California Will See Tuition Frozen for 2 Years

In-state undergraduates at the University of California won’t face tuition increases for the next two years, according to the terms of a deal struck between Gov. Jerry Brown and the system’s president, Janet Napolitano, reports the Los Angeles Times.

In November system regents approved a tuition plan — over the governor’s objections — that could have raised tuition by as much as 5 percent in each of the next five years. That measure was one component of long-running negotiations that seemed to…


U. of Texas’ Next President Says $1-Million Salary Is Too High

Gregory L. Fenves, soon to be president of the University of Texas at Austin, turned down a $1-million salary because he feared it would hinder his ability to work with the Legislature and would be seen negatively by students and faculty members, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Mr. Fenves, who was chosen last month to take over the flagship campus, said in emails obtained by the newspaper that a $1-million salary was “too high for a public university,” and that it might prompt “widespread…


Minority of Colleges Report ‘Socially Responsible Investing’

A sizable minority of colleges manage their investments according to “socially responsible” principles, according to the results of a new survey by the Commonfund Institute.

Among the key takeaways from the survey, which was conducted jointly with the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges:

  • One-fifth of the 200 institutions surveyed said they used ethical screening guidelines to avoid investing in cer…

Ex-President of Westfield State Will Pay $185,000 to Settle Suit Over Spending

A former president of Westfield State University, who is accused of spending thousands of dollars on lavish hotels and vacations, has agreed to pay $185,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the Massachusetts attorney general, The Boston Globe reports.

A 2014 report by the state’s inspector general found that the former president, Evan S. Dobelle, had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in university funds on trips, expensive meals, and even a painting of himself. The report also alleged that Mr…


College of DuPage’s Embattled President Will Take Medical Leave

Robert L. Breuder, the embattled president of the College of DuPage who was expected to be ousted by a newly reconstituted Board of Trustees later this week, will begin a medical leave on Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reports. Mr. Breuder and the previously supportive board have been at the center of controversy since January, when the trustees approved a $763,000 severance package to end the president’s contract in March 2016, three years early.

The Tribune has raised questions about lavish sp…