Category Archives: Government

Politics and policy in higher education.


Bill in Congress Would Bar Colleges From Compelling Students Not to Sue

A bill introduced in Congress on Tuesday would forbid colleges that receive federal financial aid to require students to agree to mandatory arbitration clauses, which have been used by for-profit colleges to prevent students from suing them.

The bill was introduced by two Democrats — Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Rep. Maxine M. Waters of California — on the day after Corinthian Colleges ceased operations and closed down its 28 remaining campuses.

“As we have seen with Corinthian College…


Lawmakers Investigate Education Dept.’s Role in Forgiving Student-Loan Debt

A group of Democratic lawmakers is pushing the U.S. Department of Education to more frequently forgive the loan debt of students who attended colleges that engaged in “fraudulent activities.”

Five U.S. senators and a member of the House of Representatives wrote a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday, stating that the department should “take immediate action” to inform students eligible for debt relief — including those who attended the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges — of thei…


Education Dept. Issues New Guidance on Campus Sexual Assault

The U.S. Department of Education has released new guidance reminding colleges that they must designate Title IX coordinators. In the new documents, the department’s Office for Civil Rights describes colleges’ responsibilities under the anti-discrimination law and the role of the coordinator in depth.

The position of Title IX coordinator has proliferated on campuses since 2011, when the department said it would more strictly enforce the law, which requires that students’ reports of sexual assault…


Newspaper’s Investigation Digs Into Florida’s For-Profit Higher-Ed Sector

Looking for some reading material on for-profit colleges in Florida? The Miami Herald has you covered, and then some. The newspaper just released the results of an extensive investigation into the sector’s presence in the state, complete with some eye-opening findings. Among them:

  • Florida’s state lawmakers have passed more than a dozen laws that have helped the sector expand — while accepting more than $1 million in campaign contributions from the colleges that benefited.
  • The state body charged…

Ohio Lawmakers Abandon Threat to Faculty Unions

In the face of heavy resistance from Ohio’s faculty unions, state lawmakers have stripped a budget bill of proposed language that would have rendered a large share of public-university faculty members ineligible to bargain collectively.

As taken up by the state House of Representatives’ Finance Committee last week, the bill would have classified as supervisors or managers, and therefore ineligible for union representation, any public-university faculty members who “participate in decisions w…


Democratic Lawmakers Push Idea of ‘Debt-Free College’

Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on Tuesday introduced resolutions to “ensure that students have access to debt-free higher education.” The Washington Post reports the push comes amid a broader effort by the Democratic Party to promote college affordability as a central issue in the 2016 presidential campaign — and to push the front-runner, Hillary Clinton, to propose a national plan for debt-free college.

The coalition advancing the resolutions includes six s…


Cost of College Ratings? For Education Dept., at Least $4 Million

The U.S. Education Department has budgeted more than $4 million to build its controversial college-ratings system, Inside Higher Ed reports. The department’s contract with RTI International shows that it has already paid the company at least $1.8 million to construct a website and test ratings models. The contract also shows that the system might allow colleges to annotate or provide context to their evaluations.

The road from President Obama’s 2013 announcement of the system has been a long slo…


U. of Wisconsin Flagship Will Cut 400 Positions in Response to Budget Cuts

The University of Wisconsin at Madison will cut 400 positions, merge or close academic programs, and reduce support programs in response to anticipated state budget cuts, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The announcement, from the flagship’s chancellor, Rebecca M. Blank, is the latest development in a battle over funds between the university system and the state government.

“I want to emphasize that these changes, as difficult as they are, cannot and will not stop with this year’s budget,”…


Judge Tosses Lawsuit Over Education Dept.’s Firing of Debt Collectors

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by a group of student-loan debt collectors that the U.S. Department of Education fired in March.

The ruling, which dismissed the collectors’ request for a stay of the agency’s decision, came just over a month after the department abruptly canceled its contracts with the companies — Coast Professional, Enterprise Recovery Systems, National Recoveries, Pioneer Credit Recovery, and West Asset Management — which it said had provided inaccurate inf…


In Early Iowa Campaign, Hillary Clinton Highlights College Affordability

Fresh off the announcement that she would run for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton visited a community college on Tuesday as part of her days-old campaign in Iowa. Here’s some of what she said about higher education in a roundtable discussion held at Kirkwood Community College: