English Language Feeds
This crea ...
Rick Waugh, Chair of York University’s Board of Governors, has announced the appointment of Dr. Rhonda Lenton as the next President and Vice-Chancellor of York University, effective 1 July 2017, for a five-year term. Prior to her nomination, Dr. Lenton served as York University’s Vice-President Academic and Provost since 2012. Succeeding Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri, she becomes York’s eighth President. More
Four in 10 educational institutions in the US have reported a decrease in the number of international applicants for the fall 2017 intake, according to responses from an inter-associational survey.
Application unease is high in the US’s top student markets – China and India – but universities report concerns are highest among students in the Middle East. Seemingly negative perceptions of the US as a study destination are also mirrored in a separate survey of international education agencies.
Released by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, the survey on US education institutions was conducted in partnership with IIE, International ACAC, NACAC, NAFSA, and the College Board.
“International educators expressed concern that the political discourse … could be damaging to international student recruitment efforts”
The preliminary findings of the survey, which consists of responses from 250 institutions, aimed to gauge international applicants’ perceptions of the US.
China sent 328,547 students to the US in 2015/16, accounting for almost 32% of all international students, according to Open Doors data. However, a quarter of institutions who responded to the survey found a decline in undergraduate applications from China, and 32% cited a decline in graduate applications.
India tells a similar story, with 26% of institutions reporting a drop in undergraduate applications, and 15% reporting a drop in applications for graduate study.
As a result of these concerns, over three quarters of institutions (77%) expressed apprehension over application yield.
Corresponding with the top-line results, 39% of responding institutions reported a decline in undergraduate applicants from Middle Eastern students while 31% reported a comparable decline for graduate applicants.
The Middle East was also the region where student concerns around studying in the US were especially high, according to 79% of institutions.
Meanwhile, 36% said students in Asia expressed a lot of concern and 34% reported Latin American students.
Perceptions that the climate in the US is less welcoming are high. Students are reportedly concerned that benefits and restrictions around visas could change, including the ability to travel, re-enter after travel, and work.
Not surprisingly, students are also worried the Executive Order travel ban might expand to include additional countries.
There is also a perceived rise in student visa denials at US embassies and consulates in China, India and Nepal, the report found.
Still, 35% of institutions reported a rise in international applications, while just over a quarter (26%) of total respondents stated no change in application numbers.
“Over the past year, international educators expressed concern that the political discourse surrounding foreign nationals in the US leading up to the November 2016 US presidential election could be damaging to international student recruitment efforts,” the report states.
“This survey was intended to be a snapshot of student/family perceptions and institutional activities as opposed to a deep-dive into applicant numbers.” According to AACRAO, a complete and final report will be available by March 30, after a full review of the data.
Still, 35% of institutions reported a rise in international applications
Education agencies also report a deterioration in the perception of the US among students. A recent survey by the American International Recruitment Council of its members found many students are changing their study plans as a result of US governance and policy.
For the 2017/18 intake, 75% of the responding agents said they have seen students change their plans. Close to a third (32%) reported that this is the case for more than 50 student clients – a 15% increase compared to the current academic year 2016/17, according to AIRC.
However, almost a quarter of responding agents (24%) reported no changes in application and enrolment patterns.
Survey results are based on responses from 33 agencies around the world.
Agencies reported that US visa issuance was the top worry among students. But, concerns about the welcoming atmosphere in the US and the potential limitation of work options post-graduation followed closely behind.
Agencies were also asked about alternative study locations other than the US. Fifty-eight percent (58%) said institutions in Canada could meet their student clients’ plan of study; many more than reported for the UK or Australia, AIRC said.
The post International applications down for 40% of US HE institutions, survey reveals appeared first on The PIE News.
An initiative to increase international student work and internship opportunities and a redesigned interactive website to promote Victorian education are among the latest services launched by the Victorian government to support the state’s international education industry.
The services, which focus on improving the safety and wellbeing of international students studying in Victorian institutions, were announced this week at the Study Melbourne Student Centre.
“It is vital that we continue enhancing the experience of our international students”
“It is vital that we continue enhancing the experience of our international students so Victoria’s education sector keeps its competitive edge and continues to create jobs for our state,” Small Business, Innovation and Trade Minister Philip Dalidakis said in a statement.
“Victoria leads the country in international education and these programmes are an important part of the government’s support for the wellbeing and safety of our international student community.”
The LIVE programme, which stands for Lead, Intern, Volunteer, Experience, will encourage international students to take up work and internship opportunities within Victorian businesses and organisations. It is expected to both benefit local businesses and prepare students for working life.
“LIVE is definitely a great hub for international students to start their career, in terms of internships and graduate opportunities,” doctorate student and former Victorian International Student of the Year Balaji Trichy Narayaswamy told The PIE News.
“Most international students don’t have the necessary Australian work experience; it can be hard for them to find an employment. So, I feel that the LIVE programme would bridge the existing gap between the potential employers and international students,” he added.
The rollout of a revised set of guidelines to improve the application process for the International Student Welfare programme was also announced, following a pilot year.
The programme, which provides A$4m over four years for activities to improve welfare and the student experience, will now offer two funding models instead of one, with options of up to $5,000 for International Student Group activities or grants up to $75,000 for Wellbeing Partnership Activities.
A website, study.melbourne, was also launched in English and Chinese to promote study in Victoria and provide prospective and current students with information.
Education is Victoria’s leading export industry. It attracts 175,000 international students, Australia’s second largest student population after New South Wales.
See more photos from the launch here.
The document outlining the Trump administration's first budget, released in a bare-bones outline Thursday, states that the White House plan "safeguards" the Pell Grant program and would leave the key financial aid source for needy students on "sound financial footing for the next decade."
But many advocates for low-income students say the opposite is true. By taking about a third of the program's multi-billion-dollar surplus and cutting other college access programs, they assert, the new administration would jeopardize Pell's long-term sustainability and harm the prospects of low-income students.
What the White House is calling its "skinny budget" -- a broad outline of the detailed 2018 fiscal proposal due from the administration later this spring -- seeks an overall cut of 13 percent of the Department of Education's funding from the current year. To offset steep proposed increases in military spending, the budget blueprint seeks $54 billion in cuts across the board to nondefense spending.
Trump wrote in his budget message that the administration's blueprint makes tough choices to reinvest in the country's military without adding to the federal deficit. "In these dangerous times, this public safety and national security budget is a message to the world -- a message of American strength, security and resolve," he said.
Higher education aid programs absorbed much of the brunt of those cuts to education funding. The proposed budget must be approved by Congress and possibly may not be passed in any form resembling the outline submitted by the administration. But it serves as a guide to the White House's priorities.
The budget preserves current levels of funding for the federal Pell Grant program by taking $3.9 billion from the program's $10.6 billion surplus -- a cushion that advocates had hoped to see preserved, if not used to strengthen the grant or restore year-round Pell.
It eliminates entirely support for the SEOG program -- which serves students with household incomes similar to Pell recipients -- while calling for "drastic" cuts to the Federal Work-Study program.
The proposal also seeks heavy cuts to two other college-access programs that direct funding to institutions and nonprofit organizations that help low-income students prepare for and enroll in college. The TRIO program would be allocated $808 million, a 10 percent cut from current funding levels. The GEAR UP program's annual budget would be reduced by a third in the proposed budget, to $219 million. GEAR UP's 2018 funding would also exclude any new grant awards to local partners.
"This is a budget that beats plowshares into swords," said Terry Hartle, senior vice president of government and public affairs at the American Council on Education. "It very clearly moves money from the domestic agencies into the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security."
Representatives of college and university groups as well as college-access advocates focused much of their ire on the cuts to Pell, saying the program would be worse off the next time it experiences serious demand.
"Taking money out of a discretionary program that operates like an entitlement program is never a good idea," said Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
The budget document doesn't specify whether the White House will propose maintaining the maximum yearly Pell Grant at $5,920. While advocates have called for increasing the maximum value of the grant to improve the purchasing power of low-income students, overall demand for the grants has slackened recently as the economy has improved and fewer individuals have returned to college. But funding for the program doesn't automatically rise with demand.
"If we get a recession and demand for the Pell Grant spikes, we're going to get a shortfall really fast," said Ben Miller, senior director for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress.
President Trump and congressional Republicans garnered headlines and praise recently from some leaders of minority-serving institutions for meeting with presidents of historically black colleges and universities in Washington. But the new executive order on the White House HBCU initiative signed by the president last month did little more than move the initiative from the Department of Education into the White House. And the budget plan doesn't include new money for HBCUs or deliver on Pell increases sought by the leaders of those institutions.
The budget proposes holding Title III and Title V support for HBCUs and minority-serving institutions steady at $492 million, although an analysis from New America found that's a drop-off of $85 million from current funding levels.
Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and a key player in discussions between the White House and HBCU representatives, said despite criticism of those meetings from corners of historically black colleges, they were justified. While money was taken from the Pell surplus, Taylor argued that in the context of a 13 percent reduction for the department, the Pell Grant proposal could have been much worse.
"I would make the case that the meeting with the White House was important, because if we hadn't gotten a commitment from the president advocating for HBCUs, we could have seen cuts to our Title III funding," he said.
The budget proposal said that funding to TRIO programs would be cut "in areas that have limited evidence on the overall effectiveness in improving student outcomes." Exactly where those cuts would occur won't be known until the full budget proposal is released in the spring. But Taylor said he is confident in the case to be made for the effectiveness of TRIO programs serving students at HBCU campuses.
"If they are objectively not working and you can't measure their success, then that's fair game," he said.
Alma Adams, co-chair of the congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, said claims from the White House that the Trump administration would prioritize support for historically black colleges "ring hollow" after the release of the budget outline.
Other key Democrats in Congress blasted the proposal for breaking promises to workers and the middle class.
"Deep cuts to funding and eligibility for campus-based aid, college access programs, and a significant raid of Pell Grant funds would harm low- and middle-income families and their ability to access and succeed in higher education," said Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the senior Democrat on the Senate education committee. "I will continue to fight to protect students' access to affordable higher education, and I hope Republicans join me and reject this anti-education Trump budget."
Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia, ranking Democrat on the House education committee, said the proposal would "endanger public education, make college less affordable and reduce the availability of work force training."
Some Republicans cautioned that Congress, not the president, has ultimate authority to enact appropriations bills, while generally holding back on offering criticism of the budget outline. But Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate education committee, warned that the federal budget won't be balanced with cuts to discretionary spending.
"Runaway entitlement spending -- more than 60 percent of spending -- is the real cause of the $20 trillion federal debt," Alexander said.
North Carolina Republican Virginia Foxx, chairwoman of the House education committee, said the document shows that Trump plans to deliver on his promise "to begin getting our nation's fiscal house in order."
"No one will agree with every proposal outlined in this budget, and it is up to Congress to carefully review the details," Foxx said in a statement. "That is precisely what we will do in the coming weeks. We look forward to working with the president to implement fiscally responsible policies that promote economic prosperity, keep workers safe and help ensure all Americans have access to an excellent education."
The White House blueprint isn't a binding document or even a guide to what Congress might do in the appropriations process. But Draeger, of NASFAA, said it couldn't simply be dismissed out of hand.
"The administration has offered up a menu of acceptable cuts to Congress," he said.
The proposed cuts affecting higher education go far beyond the Department of Education. The budget proposal zeroes out funding entirely for multiple programs involving the arts and research across several federal agencies. It would eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
As expected, the White House is seeking to eliminate funding for the National Sea Grant College Program, a network of 33 college and university programs conducting research and focusing on conservation to serve the needs of local communities and industries. The proposed Sea Grant cuts come amid major reductions in other environmental programs. The Environmental Protection Agency's budget would be slashed by 31 percent -- more than the reductions sought in any other federal agency.
And the skinny budget seeks a 20 percent overall cut to the National Institutes of Health. University groups say those cuts would damage the research mission of universities.
"It puts us a step back instead of moving our country forward in ensuring we will be at the forefront of the next big discoveries," said Jennifer Poulakidas, vice president of congressional and government affairs at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. "This budget would nearly ensure an innovation deficit."
Supporters of higher ed funding said now much of the action on the budget will shift to Capitol Hill, even as universities and other observers await the full White House budget in the spring.
Former Education Secretary John B. King Jr. called on Congress to reject the administration's proposal outright.
"If this proposal were enacted, all students, particularly students of color and low-income students, throughout the entire continuum of our education system would suffer, as would the nation's businesses, who desperately need a skilled work force to be successful," said King, who joined the Education Trust last month as its president and CEO.
Hartle, of the American Council on Education, said the proposal is the start of a long and complicated process for passage of a budget.
"Do we like what's in here? No," Hartle said. "Is this going to be the last word? Absolutely not."Student Aid and LoansEditorial Tags: Trump administrationFinancial aidIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
Emily Rutledge spends 16 hours a week in the University of North Georgia’s university relations office for her federal work-study job, tracking times the press mentions the university, helping to coordinate logistics for events like commencement and assisting graphic designers.
It’s the first year Rutledge, a 19-year-old sophomore, has taken part in a work-study job. She qualified for the program last year but had already landed other work before coming to campus -- she worked two jobs as a freshman, as a waitress and in retail, to earn money she needs to pay for college.
Rutledge has yet to lock in her major, but she thinks her current job will prepare her for a future career more than the ones she worked last year. She doesn’t plan on working in retail or restaurants, and she feels she’s gaining more experience and skills tackling different tasks in an office setting. Plus, her current managers on campus allow her to strike a better balance between being a student and an employee than did her managers last year.
Overall, Rutledge supports work-study, she said.
“If you don’t work for it, you don’t get it,” she said. “I think it’s really beneficial, because it shows you have to work to earn the money. It’s not just a handout.”
Now, however, Rutledge and other students in the federal work-study program are entering a period of uncertainty after President Trump released his budget proposal Thursday. Trump’s budget plan calls for substantial changes and cuts to the federal work-study program.
The president’s broad budget outline calls for reducing Federal Work-Study “significantly” and reforming it to direct funds to “undergraduate students who would benefit most.” It does not contain specific amounts for how much the program, which spends about $1 billion annually on hundreds of thousands of student jobs, would be cut. Nor does it spell out how remaining work-study funds would be reallocated.
The proposal from Trump, who consistently talked about jobs on the campaign trail and in the Oval Office, surprised many supporters of Federal Work-Study. Few forms of student aid would seem more politically aligned with that message than one in which students work for the funds they receive.
Some liberal backers worried that the budget discussions could redirect an ongoing debate about the program away from who receives its funding to whether it should be cut. Federal Work-Study has been criticized for disproportionately sending money to elite campuses and middle-class students instead of institutions that serve low-income students, they noted. Still, some conservatives cheered the proposal as a step toward getting the federal government out of a student aid business in which they believe it should not participate.
Those who work in student employment were surprised by the proposal. Janna McDonald is the director of the office of student employment at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the president of the National Student Employment Association. The association’s email Listserv was very quiet Thursday morning after Trump’s budget proposal was unveiled, she said. Members were likely digesting the news and processing it.
“All through the campaign it was working, working, working,” McDonald said. “To go and have this be one of the things they want to cut, it doesn’t measure in congruence with everything that has been said.”
Federal work-study jobs are supposed to be connected to students’ field of study or help them build skills for the work force, McDonald said. Those students often turn out to be more competitive for jobs once they graduate and enter the work force. They also tend to be more likely to graduate than students who would work even if they were not a part of the work-study program -- and research has indicated work-study recipients who are from low-income families and who attend public institutions receive more of a boost than work-study recipients with high incomes and those at private institutions.
Work-study jobs can also be a major boost to campuses that aren’t located near a large number of appropriate entry-level jobs for students to hold while attending class, McDonald said. Some states, like Indiana, have their own work-study programs, but the loss of the federal program could mean a budget gap that prevents some institutions from offering students on-campus jobs. The federal program generally funds 75 percent of a student’s wage, while institutions contribute the rest.
“This will actually hurt the educational numbers, because those students who depend on work-study money for rent and food and gas money to get to and from college won’t be able to find those opportunities elsewhere,” McDonald said. “Some of those students will be unemployed.”
A Program With Issues
Still, many agree the federal work-study program has its issues. The program cost the federal government slightly less than $1 billion in each of the last several years. About 671,000 students received aid from it in 2013-14, and the average award amount came in at $1,669, according to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. But just 46 percent of dependent undergraduate recipients came from families with incomes of less than $42,000.
Critics argue the program skews too heavily away from low-income students and gives too much money to students from families with higher incomes. Only 8.2 percent of the dollars that went to dependent undergraduates in 2013-14 went to students from families with incomes below $6,000, according to NASFAA. More than a third, 35.2 percent, went to those from families with incomes of $60,000 or more.
It should be noted students with family incomes of more than $60,000 can have difficulty paying their bills at many private colleges. Still, the way the aid breaks down by income bracket is controversial. That breakdown is due to the way the work-study program disburses funds and its legislative history. The program, started in 1964, disburses funding to colleges and universities instead of directly to students. Those colleges and universities then break up the funding they receive and award it to students, exercising broad discretion.
The overall funding level for the program has changed little in recent years, and it uses a two-formula funding mechanism that results in it sending more money to established institutions that generally attract wealthier students. That’s because a large chunk of federal work-study money is sent to institutions using a “base guarantee” designed to protect college and university budgets from year-to-year funding shocks. That guarantee benefits institutions that have been in the program for a long time -- for many institutions, it’s linked to participation in the program in the 1970s. The remaining money goes to a “fair share allowance” formula that sends money to institutions based on the unmet financial need of their students.
Many agree that the net effect of this structure is that Federal Work-Study sends more money to wealthier institutions that have higher sticker prices and have taken part in the program for a longer time. The institutions’ high sticker prices mean they can offer work-study funding to middle-income students, because those students are still judged to have financial need. On the other hand, colleges and universities that have grown recently and tend to serve lower-income populations receive less funding.
Research from 2015 by Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University, found that the 322 most selective private colleges in the country receive 4 percent of Pell Grant funds, which would indicate they enroll a low number of low-income students. Those institutions received 22 percent of Federal Work-Study funds, Kelchen found.
A March research brief from the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment included similar data. A third of dependent undergraduates at private four-year institutions took part in Federal Work-Study jobs, it said. Only 2 percent of dependent undergraduates at public two-year colleges and 7 percent at public four-year colleges did the same.
Depending on how they are structured, cuts to the Federal Work-Study program could skew it even more toward institutions that enroll few low-income students. Cut the program in half, and it would receive less than $500 million. Last year, the base guarantee funding formula accounted for about $660 million in spending, according to Megan McClean Coval, NASFAA'S vice president of policy and federal relations.
“I’m just throwing this out in hypothetical terms,” she said. “We shouldn’t just be thinking that if the funding is cut in half, what I received last year at my school will be cut in half. That’s not the case. It could be even worse than that. There are a lot of schools that don’t have base guarantees.”
Of course, the Trump administration has yet to share how much of a cut it wants to make to Federal Work-Study. Nor has it spelled out what changes it would make to direct funds to undergraduates judged to most need them.
Coval thinks the Federal Work-Study program has many defenders on Capitol Hill. A fight over cutting the program could obscure the debate about its funding formula. But Coval believes it could also draw more attention to the idea of changing the formula itself.
Not everyone is hopeful that the discourse will follow that path. Iris Palmer is a senior policy analyst at the liberal-leaning think tank New America. She thought that Federal Work-Study seemed like a form of student financial aid the Trump administration could support.
Palmer acknowledges criticisms of the program. But she’d hoped to have a discussion about shifting its funding from elite institutions and wealthy students and toward low-income students who need assistance to stay in class.
“We wanted to have that conversation, and instead we’re probably going to have a conversation about not getting it significantly reduced,” Palmer said. “Having both of those conversations at the same time is actually really hard. That, I think, is unfortunate.”
Some conservative thinkers were heartened, however. Mary Clare Reim is a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation who supports the idea of cutting Federal Work-Study. All sides would be best served if students turned to the private sector for the jobs they need, she said.
“I think it’s a meaningful first step in rolling back a lot of waste in higher education funding,” Reim said of the Trump budget proposal. “Generally, I think it’s hard to find a justification for federal involvement here, especially since we’ve seen a lot of the funding for Federal Work-Study programs is not specifically geared toward low-income students.”
Whatever path the conversation takes, it will have an effect on students. Rutledge, the sophomore at the University of North Georgia, said she could not afford to attend college without also holding a job.
“I have loans taken out,” she said. “I have other scholarships. This is definitely necessary for my living expenses and paying toward textbooks and everything I need. I wouldn’t be able to do it without working.”Student Aid and LoansEditorial Tags: Trump administrationImage Source: iStockIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
U of California strengthens faculty policies against sexual harassment and assault in light of scandals
After years of bad news about sexual harassment and assault involving professors within the University of California, its Board of Regents voted this week to strengthen the systemwide Faculty Code of Conduct’s policies against such behavior.
Specifically, regents approved an amendment to the code making sexual harassment and assault violations of faculty responsibilities. Previously, sexual misconduct did not explicitly constitute a violation.
The board also clarified the deadline by which campus chancellors must initiate disciplinary proceedings against a faculty member accused of misconduct, putting it at three years. It also eliminated any timeline for making reports of harassment and assault involving faculty members.
The system’s Berkeley campus faced criticism in 2015 for not taking harsher action against a well-known professor of astronomy accused of repeatedly sexual harassing students over many years. The professor, Geoff Marcy, eventually resigned, but reports of perceived “slaps on the wrists” to system professors accused of assault kept coming. Gabriel Piterberg, a professor of history at the Los Angeles campus, for example, was allowed to return to teaching after a brief suspension and a fine, even though the university settled with two graduate students who said he’d repeatedly harassed them and forced himself on them. He never admitted to any wrongdoing.
Most recently, documents obtained by The Mercury News in San Jose showed that more than 110 university employees were determined to have violated the system’s sexual misconduct policies during the past three years. The San Francisco campus had 26 cases, according to the newspaper, while Los Angeles had 25 -- including a French professor who wrote hundreds of love poems to a graduate student. That campus also reportedly saw a cancer researcher send sexually explicit jokes to colleagues, even after having been accused of sexual harassment twice before.
The university system has made attempts at reform, however, with President Janet Napolitano declaring that it become a “national leader” in prevention and response to sexual misconduct. As part of that effort, she appointed a joint committee of administrators, faculty leaders and students to examine the system’s policies and Academic Senate bylaws governing faculty conduct and discipline.
The policy changes approved at this week’s board meeting were recommended by that committee and reviewed by Napolitano and at the campus level. They’ll “further the university’s goals of ensuring an equitable and inclusive education and employment environment free of sexual violence and sexual harassment,” according to the meeting agenda.
There’s also a new timeline for involuntary leave for professors found to be an immediate threat to the campus community. Instead of charges being brought within 10 days -- deemed by the committee to be “untenably” quick -- a chancellor must now inform the faculty member within five days of the allegations being investigated, along with grievance and other information.
"This strengthens the ability of a chancellor to take this interim measure, if appropriate, when investigating an allegation against a faculty member," said Claire Doan, university spokesperson.
The changes, effective by July 1, also say that the chancellor must be informed about an alleged violation of the code when it’s reported to a department chair or higher up the administrative chain, including the coordinator for Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibit gender discrimination in education, in cases of alleged sexual misconduct. Any disciplinary action must be initiated within three years of the report. But there is “no limit on the time within which a complainant many report an alleged violation.”
That's something that victims' advocates have supported elsewhere, since some may need significant time before they're ready to report misconduct. Disciplinary action must come with a finding of probable cause, and all policy is still subject to the system's other due process protections for faculty members.
California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, was at this week's meeting said, "There seems there was a level of tolerance which was outrageous and frankly I still question the lack of accountability with some of that, and it's on all of us," ABC News reported.Threats Against FacultyEditorial Tags: FacultyTitle IXImage Source: TwitterImage Caption: Recent UCLA protest against Professor Gabriel Piterberg's return to campus after a suspension for alleged sexual misconduct.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
Upper Iowa University has been put on notice by its accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, after staff members at one of its locations for years mishandled academic and financial aid information.
The private university, based in Fayette, Iowa, also runs 25 educational centers in seven states. In fall 2013, the university said it learned that a “handful” of employees at one of its five Louisiana locations had changed students’ grades and improperly handled financial aid information.
“It was a small number of employees, they were released immediately, and I am unable to comment further on the investigation,” Karl Easttorp, executive director of the university’s office of communications and marketing, said in an email. “However, I can assure you that these actions are not representative of UIU’s culture and values.”
Easttorp did not say how many university staffers were fired, nor how many students were affected by their actions. According to a website that Upper Iowa set up in response to being put on notice, the university has contacted students who may have been affected.
Since the case involved federal financial aid funds, Upper Iowa notified the U.S. Department of Education, which joined the investigation. The university then notified the HLC last year.
“The university worked closely with legal experts and the U.S. Department of Education to conduct a thorough investigation and self-reported those findings to the HLC,” Easttorp said. “The HLC then conducted their own examination. UIU has already put into place many changes that we believe will prevent this kind of thing from happening again.”
The Higher Learning Commission on Feb. 23 put Upper Iowa on notice, meaning the institution remains accredited but must take remedial steps ahead of the HLC’s scheduled on-site evaluation in 2018. The university can first be removed from notice in February 2019.
In a disclosure notice published on its website, the accreditor said it received reports of “fraudulent staff activity related to the distribution of federal student financial aid, entry or upgrade of grades for students, and identity theft between 2008-2013” and “concluded that the university did not have sufficient oversight of its operations.”
The notice references two accreditation criteria that the university is in danger of not meeting: one related to ethical behavior and operational integrity, the other to governance and administrative structures that enable institutions to fulfill their missions.
“Efforts have already been made to address these concerns, and will continue to be our focus,” the university said. “We are fully committed to working with the HLC over the next two years to remove the ‘on notice’ designation.”
Upper Iowa is scheduled to undergo a routine comprehensive accreditation re-evaluation during the 2019-20 academic year.
A spokesperson for the HLC declined to comment beyond the contents of the disclosure notice. A spokesperson for the Education Department also declined to comment.Editorial Tags: AccreditationCollege administrationFinancial aidIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
The free community college programs picking up steam across the country generally allow students to study whatever they want. But a new free community college initiative in Arkansas is looking to push students into the areas where the state has work force needs. To some free-college advocates, the initiative is more restrictive and limiting than other Promise programs, as the efforts are called.
Last week, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed an act creating the Arkansas Future Grant, or ArFuture. Hutchinson is Republican and both houses of the state's Legislature are led by Republicans. The first grants would be available this fall.
The grant doesn’t require a minimum high school grade point average to qualify but goes to any traditional or nontraditional student -- meaning recent high school graduates and adults -- who enrolls in a science, technology, engineering or math field, or another high-demand field, at any of the state’s community or technical colleges. As a last-dollar grant, ArFuture would go to students only after they’ve received federal and state aid. Grant recipients must participate in a mentor or community service program, and after graduation, they must work full time in Arkansas for at least three years.
If students don’t fulfill the requirement, the grant converts to a loan that must be repaid to the state.
“This was a strategic decision to drive student enrollment to programs that lead them to employment,” said Maria Markham, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.
Markham said based off some Tennessee Promise data, they're expecting to see about 7,000 students utilize ArFuture.
“Part of the purpose of choosing high-demand fields is that we know those jobs are available if a student successfully completes,” she said, adding that nursing, welding, truck driving and advanced manufacturing are high-demand careers in the state.
But there are some major differences between the type of Promise programs free community college advocates have been endorsing and the plan Arkansas is rolling out, with its loan conversion, for instance.
“If this experimental approach returns better outcomes in STEM, it’s worth learning, but it could burden students with debt who weren’t advised properly, prepared enough or committed to completing the STEM requirements for their degrees or certificates, or who decide to change their majors,” said Marta Kanter, executive director of the College Promise Campaign, in an email.
But Kanter said there isn’t a widely agreed-upon definition for a Promise proposal, and so ArFuture is certainly a Promise program, but in an early stage and narrowly focused, with risks.
Although the Arkansas program is limited, Morley Winograd, president and chief executive officer of the Campaign for Free College Tuition, also described the program as a good first step.
“It’s better than not doing it, but there is a philosophical challenge in making a Promise that is revocable. We try to encourage states not to do that, and in this case, it’s an explicit revocation … which is problematic,” he said.
Arkansas, however, wouldn’t be the first state to offer a free tuition program that is revocable or converts to a loan if requirements aren’t met. ArFuture was partially based off a work force development scholarship program in South Dakota that also converts to a loan if students don't meet requirements.
“In Arkansas, this reflects a desire on the part of the governor and the Legislature to make this an economic development plan more than a broad economic opportunity for everybody,” he said. “You can’t fault Arkansas for saying this is just about economic development and putting all the requirements on it, but what they may not have understood is by doing that they limit the power of the program to create additional enrollment.”
Those broader universal programs tend to have larger impacts on college enrollment and work force skills, he said.
Arkansas’ eastern neighbor, Tennessee, for instance, is showing sharp increases in enrollment and retention in its Promise program’s second year.
But there are also differences in the cost of the two programs.
This year the total cost of the Tennessee Promise is $25.3 million. In Arkansas, the state is canceling out two other state grants -- the Workforce Improvement Grant and the Higher Education Opportunities Grant -- in order to fund the estimated $8 million cost of ArFuture. The need-based work force grant went to nontraditional students who were at least 24 years old.
Students receiving the Higher Education Opportunities Grant, also known as Go!, will continue to receive it until they graduate or no longer meet eligibility requirements, while the work force grants weren’t renewable at all, Markham said. The Go! grant is need based and goes specifically to low-income students pursuing a certificate, two-year or four-year degree.
“Most students who qualify for WIG and Go! will also qualify for ArFuture, because ArFuture is much broader,” she said.
Arkansas is pretty familiar with Promise programs. There’s the Arkadelphia Promise, which is a last-dollar scholarship that allows graduates of Arkadelphia High School to attend any public or private university in the country, up to the maximum tuition at the University of Arkansas. And the El Dorado Promise, which is a first-dollar scholarship that allows students in that city to attend any public two-year or four-year institution in the country. Both, however, are privately funded, with El Dorado’s dollars coming from Murphy Oil Company.
Sylvia Thompson, the director of El Dorado Promise, said in the 10 years the program has existed, it has helped end the flow of families leaving the area. About 25 percent of the El Dorado Promise scholars attend a two-year institution.
“Our [K-12] population has remained the same, and according to surveys all the other schools in this area have continued to decline, but ours has stabilized,” Thompson said, adding that the El Dorado Promise serves the purposes of stabilizing the city and school-age population, while the ArFuture grant is focused on getting the state’s residents to work.
The requirements and the specificity of the Arkansas grant also reflect the work force development competition between states.
“Tennessee talks about how they use their free college as a recruitment tool to get companies to that state, and some of this is Arkansas and Kentucky trying to mitigate that recruiting edge and have the ability to carry that pitch into some economic leverage with future employers,” Winograd said.
That competition isn’t just in the South, with movement in New York and Rhode Island in the Northeast to push for free college plans, although they are focusing on economic opportunity and not just work force skills, because they’re Democratic states, Winograd said.
“Free high school spread this very same way,” he said, adding that it began in cities and towns and eventually states caught on. “It became an economic competitive thing for communities.”Community CollegesEditorial Tags: Financial aidImage Source: Arkansas governor's officeImage Caption: Governor Asa Hutchinson signs Arkansas Future Grant into law.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
Georgia Institute of Technology
- Daniel Baerlecken, architecture
- Tamara Bogdanovic, physics
- Sam Brown, biological sciences
- Young Mi Choi, industrial design
- Osvaldo Cleger, modern languages
- Michael Damron, mathematics
- Mark Andrew Davenport, electrical and computer engineering
- Shatakshee Dhongde, economics
- Caroline Genzale, mechanical engineering
- Eric Gilbert, interactive computing
- David Alan Goldberg, industrial systems and engineering
- Karen Head, literature, media and communication
- Chris LeDantec, literature, media and communication
- Juan Moreno-Cruz, economics
- Nga Lee (Sally) Ng, chemical and biomolecular engineering
- Alexander Oettl, business
- Machelle Pardue, biomedical engineering
- Peng Qui, biomedical engineering
- Devesh Ranjan, mechanical engineering
- Julian Rimoli, aerospace engineering
- Maryam Saeedifard, electrical and computer engineering
- Sven Simon, earth and atmospheric sciences
- Jennifer Singh, history and sociology
- Le Song, computational science and engineering
- Frank Stewart, biological sciences
- Phanish Suryanarayana, civil and environmental engineering
- Alejandro Toriello, industrial systems and engineering
- Kari Watkins, civil and environmental engineering
- Michael Wiedorn, modern languages
- James Wray, earth and atmospheric sciences
- Shuman Xia, mechanical engineering
- Lizhen Xu, business
- Josephine Yu, mathematics
- Alenka Zajic, electrical and computer engineering
- Eric Cooper, biology
- Kevin Schultz, physics
Illinois Wesleyan University
- Amanda Coles, history
- Emily Kelahan, philosophy
- Noël Kerr, nursing
- Manori Perera, chemistry
- Ilia Radoslavov, music
- Amanda Vicary, psychology
- Won Yul Bae, sports management and media
- Michelle Bradshaw, occupational therapy
- Chrystyna Dail, theater arts
- Marella Feltrin-Morris, modern languages and literatures
- Cristina Gómez, mathematics and education
- David Gondek, biology
- Sara Haefeli, music theory, history and composition
- Christopher Holmes, English
- Narges Kasiri, management
- Patrick McKeon, exercise and sport sciences
- James Mick, music education
- Matthew Price, physics and astronomy
- James Rada, journalism
- S. Alexander Reed, music theory, history and composition
- Mary Lourdes Silva, writing
- Jennifer Tennant, economics
- Andrew Utterson, communications
- Ivy Walz, music performance
- Ian Woods, biology
- Brittnie Aiello, criminology and criminal justice
- Jimmy Franco, chemistry and biochemistry
- Sirkwoo Jin, management
- Susan Marine, higher education
- Sally Shockro, history
Prairie State College
- Angela Hung, biology
- Justin Pariseau, history
- Matthew Robert Steele, library and distance education
Around 80% of Chinese students who left to study overseas returned to China in 2016, according to new statistics from the Ministry of Education.
Also referred to as ‘sea turtles’, the number of Chinese returnees reached 432,500 in 2016, an increase from 409,100 in 2015.
The appeal of the opportunities available on these students’ return is one reason why they decide to return home, according to Shiny Wang, director of college counseling at Tsinghua University High School in Beijing.
“There are more and more career opportunities and formalities for international Chinese to take important roles back home”
“Students believe there are more opportunities for them to find jobs and develop if they come back than staying overseas to do so, which seems more and more difficult,” he told The PIE News.
The competition for job offers and the difficulty obtaining visas also “push them back naturally”, he added.
Jill Tang, founder of talent recruitment company for graduates with foreign degrees, Career X Factor, agreed the attractiveness of bringing their overseas education back home is a pull for many Chinese students.
“There are more and more career opportunities and formalities for international Chinese to take important roles back home and make an impact in their home country by leveraging their overseas education and experience,” she said.
China is the number one country globally in terms of volume of outbound students – 544,500 went abroad for their education last year, an increase from 523,700 the year before.
According the ministry’s figures, around 36% of the students who went abroad in 2016 studied a postgraduate degree, while 31% went for an undergraduate degree.
The vast majority (91%) of Chinese students were self-funded, while around 30,000 went abroad on a government scholarship.
Of those that have been abroad on a government-sponsored scholarship, 98% have returned to China.
Wang added that a lot of students also still struggle with understanding and adapting to the cultural differences they encounter overseas, which may encourage them to come home.
Meanwhile, family “has always been one of the key reasons why they return home”, added Tang.
“I think the proportion coming back home after studying overseas will definitely increase in the near future,” she said. “The economic environment has a high talent on demand for those entrepreneurial, innovative and globally minded Chinese [students].”
WHEN Andrés Manuel López Obrador winds up a stump speech in the main square of Jilotepec, a small town in the eastern state of Veracruz, the crowd surges forward. It takes him 15 minutes to pass through the commotion of backslapping, selfies and jabbing microphones to reach the car parked outside the tent where he spoke. The point of the rally is to promote Mr López Obrador’s party, Morena, in municipal elections to be held in Veracruz in June. But his main goal is much bigger: to win Mexico’s presidency on his third attempt, in 2018.
That is a prospect that thrills some Mexicans and terrifies others. A figure of national consequence for more than 20 years, AMLO, as he is often called, has fulminated against privilege, corruption and the political establishment. Sweep away all that, he tells poor Mexicans, and their lives will improve. Many others hear in that message the menace of a charismatic populist who would punish enterprise, weaken institutions and roll back reforms. The biggest worriers view him as a Mexican version of the late Hugo Chávez, an autocrat who wrecked Venezuela’s economy and undermined its democracy.
TO THE deafening beat of big bass drums and the occasional firecracker, tens of thousands of banner-waving trade unionists marched through the heart of Buenos Aires on March 7th, in protest at job losses and inflation. “We’re up to here,” said Silvia Blanchoux, a hospital cleaner, gesturing with a hand across her throat. “My rent has gone up, and my daughter is unemployed.”
The protest coincided with a strike by teachers. This stirring of opposition comes at a delicate time for Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, and his efforts to repair the damage inflicted by the populism of his Peronist predecessors, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her late husband, Néstor. In October Mr Macri’s centre-right Cambiemos (“Let’s change”) coalition faces a mid-term election for almost half of congress. This will be a symbolic referendum on the government.
In fact, it is surprising that Mr Macri, a former businessman, remains as popular as he is (his approval rating is around 50%). His victory in November 2015 was unexpected. He inherited a country whose future was mortgaged: international reserves were negligible; a dispute with bondholders...
How protesters showed the horror
ON MARCH 7th a team from an international human-rights group arrived in Guatemala to evaluate state-run institutions for disabled people. One stop on their itinerary was the Hogar Seguro (Safe Home) Virgen de la Asunción, a shelter for indigent children, which had been the subject of reports about sexual abuse, violence and overcrowding. The team arrived too late. That night, a fire engulfed a girls’ dormitory, killing at least 40 adolescents and severely injuring a dozen.
A tragedy at Hogar Seguro was preordained. In interviews with survivors, the team from Disability Rights International (DRI) discovered that 800 children were crammed into a home built for 500. At least two staff members have been jailed for sexually abusing residents. Last year, 142 children ran away. Survivors said staff had locked around 60 girls in a room as punishment for a recent escape attempt; when the girls set mattresses ablaze to protest against their confinement, they were unable to get out.
Hogar Seguro is not an isolated case. The fire is “an indictment of the whole social...