Category Archives: Government

Politics and policy in higher education.


Vanderbilt Releases More Information on Elusive Red-Tape Study

Vanderbilt University has released more information about its noted red-tape study, which for months has been trumpeted by some observers as evidence of smothering government regulation in higher education. The Chronicle has repeatedly requested access to the study, which asserts the university spent roughly $150 million to comply with regulations in 2013-14.

The information, released on Friday, takes the form of a fact sheet, a PowerPoint presentation, and a summary that reiterate key points re…


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…


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…


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,…


Financial-Services Company Is Accused of Misleading Students

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has filed a complaint against a financial-services company, Student Financial Aid Services Inc., that it says illegally misled students. The federal bureau announced on Thursday that it had filed a proposed consent order that, if approved by a federal judge, would require the company to pay $5.2 million back to consumers.

The bureau alleges that the company, which provides assistance in filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or Fafsa) a…


Student-Loan Servicer Is Ordered to Pay Back $16 Million to Borrowers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has ordered a private student-loan servicer to refund nearly $16 million to borrowers after the federal agency found evidence of illegal practices. According to a consent order filed by the bureau, Discover Bank overstated in billing statements the minimum amount borrowers had to pay, engaged in illegal collecting practices, and did not provide necessary tax information to borrowers.

“Discover created student-debt stress for borrowers by inflating their b…


Fayetteville State Agrees to Examine if It Treats Women’s Teams Unequally

Fayetteville State University has agreed to investigate whether its women’s athletic programs are given fewer resources than its men’s ones are, The Fayetteville Observer reports.

The agreement, between the North Carolina university and the U.S. Department of Education, was prompted by a complaint from the mother of a female athlete. The mother alleged that female teams have received less financial support from the university, in violation of the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX.

As p…


U. of Wisconsin Professor’s Tweets Draw Criticism From Her Own Colleagues

[Updated (7/16/2015, 6:54 p.m.) with a statement from the executive committee of Madison's Faculty Senate.]

A professor’s tweets to incoming students at the University of Wisconsin at Madison have drawn the ire of the campus’s College Republicans as well as a prominent faculty group, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of educational policy and sociology who is also one of the most prominent voices in the academic Twittersphere, sent the tweets more than a mont…


Education Dept. Updates List of Colleges It’s Watching Closely

Last month the U.S. Department of Education updated its list of colleges subject to stricter financial monitoring because of concerns about their management or other problems. The new list of colleges under heightened cash monitoring has 413 institutions subject to the first level of scrutiny and 70 colleges subject to the second, more restrictive level.

The department first made its list public this year, after repeated requests from Inside Higher Ed. The first level of heightened cash monitori…


A Brief History of Scott Walker’s War Over Higher Education

Since he was elected Wisconsin’s governor, in 2010, Scott Walker has been waging war against the status quo in higher education. Now he’s running for the Republican nomination for president in 2016.

Mr. Walker, who will kick off his campaign on Monday, is considered to be one of the front-runners in the Republican field of more than a dozen declared candidates. As governor, he has earned a reputation for pushing controversial, conservative-minded reforms. Now, as he sets his sights on the White …