Category Archives: Government

Politics and policy in higher education.


Thousands of Veterans Have Filed Complaints Against Colleges in New U.S. System

Thousands of veterans and active-duty members of the armed services have filed complaints against colleges through an online system created just over a year ago, officials in the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a meeting of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, the officials said the VA had received 2,711 complaints as of February 22 and the Pentagon had received 223 as of September 30, 2014. (The Defense Department’s benefit progra…


Grinnell College Seeks Education Dept. Investigation of Its Sexual-Assault Policies

Grinnell College has asked the federal government to help determine whether the Iowa institution complied with federal sex-discrimination law in three cases of sexual violence, the Associated Press reports.

The college’s request, to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, is unusual. Typically a complaint from another party about an institution prompts an investigation by the office. Nearly 100 American colleges are now under investigation for their compliance with the gender…


3 Higher-Education Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Raise Research Funding

Three higher-education leaders are urging federal lawmakers to repeal sequestration and increase research funding in the budget for the 2016 fiscal year.

In a letter on Friday, the presidents of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the Association of American Universities, and the American Council on Education wrote that continued limits on federal investment in scientific research and higher education would threaten the position of the United States as the world’s top economic…


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’

[Updated (3/2/2015, 12:35 p.m.) with response from a trade association representing the five agencies.]

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 …


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…


Bipartisan Sex-Assault Bill Is Back on the Senate’s Agenda

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Thursday released a bill meant to fight sexual assault on college campuses. The “Campus Accountability and Safety Act” bears the same name as one introduced last summer by many of the same senators, and calls for many of the same requirements for campuses, including:

  • The designation of confidential advisers to arrange support services for victims of sexual assault.
  • Specialized training for everyone who handles campus rape cases.
  • A biennial survey of studen…

House Approves Modest Expansion of 529 College-Saving Plans

Seeking to capitalize on the recent brouhaha over President Obama’s effort to roll back tax breaks on 529 college-saving plans, the Republican-led House of Representatives has passed a bill that would modestly expand those plans.

The uncontroversial measure, which passed the chamber with bipartisan support, would allow plan participants to use the accounts to pay for computers and would let them redeposit refunds from colleges back into the accounts without taxes or penalties. If enacted, the le…


Congressman Wants to Know Who Pays for Climate Skeptics’ Research

A Democratic member of Congress is digging into the funding of a handful of researchers who have questioned the prevailing view on the causes of climate change, The Washington Post reports.

Arizona’s Raul M. Grijalva, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources, wrote letters to seven university presidents asking for information about the funding sources for researchers at their institutions who have publicly questioned whether man-made pollution is to blame…


Student Leaders Want Students on Sexual-Assault Panels

A group of college student-government leaders is calling on the U.S. Department of Education to reverse its recommendation that students not serve on campus hearing panels that resolve cases of sexual assault.

“While we understand and support the good spirit of the recommendation—to ensure well-trained and unbiased participation—we strongly feel that it has significant unintended consequences,” wrote 75 student-body presidents on Monday in a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Among other…