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Your Daily Briefing, a New Feature for Chronicle Subscribers

February 16, 2017

Subscribers to The Chronicle now receive an email newsletter called the Daily Briefing. Through it, readers are presented with everything they need to know in higher ed to start their day. Below is an example of the Briefing, from Thursday. To receive this newsletter, subscribe to The Chronicle.

Welcome to Thursday, February 16. Today Betsy DeVos speaks to a higher-ed group, experts mull a future for private capital in student loans, and we trade student-government war stories.

What undocumented students are thinking.

“I could not go to sleep last night." That's how an undocumented student from Seattle University reacted to this week's news that a 23-year-old participant in President Barack Obama's DACA program had been detained by federal immigration officers.

The Trump White House has ambiguously signaled that it won't make a priority of repealing the DACA program, which offers protection to immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as children. But now, after the DACA recipient was arrested, undocumented students told us that they aren't sure how long those assurances will really last.

Some of them talked to our Katie Mangan and Alex Arriaga about what they fear might come next. Read more here.

This morning.

The U.S. education secretary, Betsy DeVos, will speak this morning to a meeting of the Association of Community College Trustees here in Washington, D.C. Check back tomorrow to see what she says.

Quick hits.

  • A new research brief by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources finds that female higher-ed administrators made 80 cents on the dollar compared to men in 2016.
  • Orange Coast College, a community college in California, suspended a student for filming a faculty member who made anti-Trump remarks in class last year.
  • A new coalition of undergraduate groups formed the No Apologies Initiative, aimed at automatically waiving college-application fees for first-generation and low-income students.
  • Kathie Klages, women's gymnastics coach at Michigan State University, retired after she was suspended during an investigation of Larry Nassar, the team's former doctor. More than 60 women and girls have accused him of sexual assault.

Private capital in student loans.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about expanding the role of private capital in the student-loan arena. Some Republican leaders have even suggested a return to the pre-2010 era, when private lenders were part of the federal system and offered loans that were fully guaranteed by taxpayer dollars. Those notions were front and center on Wednesday, during a panel discussion sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute.

But if any attendees came expecting to hear a plug for restoring the old system, they were quick to hear otherwise from the AEI resident fellow who hosted the event, Jason D. Delisle. His new report says those who wax nostalgic for the old system suffer from “confusion and misinformation.” That program “offered none of the of the benefits private markets usually provide,” Mr. Delisle writes, with the government subsidizing lenders in the program, which was no better at helping students avert delinquencies or defaults than the direct-loan program that replaced it.

If policy makers really want a greater role for private capital, Mr. Delisle had some suggestions: For one, eliminate borrowing under some federal loan programs, like those serving graduate students and parents of students, and invite private lenders to fill the gap — a controversial idea to many people. Those private lenders, he said, should offer loan products that actually use market principles. And, he said, in a departure from their role under the old system, the lenders should also be willing to assume some of the financial risks of the loans they make. —Goldie Blumenstyk

Twitter threads for thought.

Studying middle-market companies.

Even though they account for about a third of total private employment, middle-market companies have not been studied as closely as have small businesses or large companies. Ohio State University’s Fisher School of Business stepped up to the plate in 2011, when it became home to the National Center for the Middle Market. Companies with revenues of $10 million to $1 billion are in the middle market; nearly 200,000 such companies exist in the United States, and most of them are privately held.

As Thomas A. Stewart, executive director of the center, joked during a visit to The Chronicle’s offices on Wednesday, they are “too big to qualify for special exemptions from regulations” but “too small to buy a congressman all their own.” Through its surveys, research, executive education, and outreach to business students and policy makers, the center has revealed more about how those companies are run. Recent Ohio State graduates are taking jobs in the middle market at a much higher rate now than they did before the collaborative effort began. —Ruth Hammond

Comings and goings.

  • P. Barry Butler, executive vice president and provost of the University of Iowa, was named president of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
  • Amy McCormack, senior vice president for finance and administration at Dominican University, in Illinois, was named president of Calumet College of St. Joseph, in Indiana.
  • Cynthia Larive, vice provost for undergraduate education at the University of California at Riverside, will serve as the university’s interim provost.
  • Jennifer Drake, dean of the Shaheen College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Indianapolis, will become academic vice president and provost at Evergreen State College, in Washington.
  • Ande Diaz, associate provost for diversity and organizational development at Allegheny College, in Pennsylvania, was appointed chief diversity officer at Saint Anselm College, in New Hampshire.

$60 million.

That's how much money has been paid through the crowdfunding website GoFundMe for college tuition and related expenses, the website said on Wednesday. It also released a guidebook on how students can create pages to fund their higher education.

Footnote.

Stephen Miller's rapid rise to prominence in the Trump White House has prompted journalists to study his past. Among the findings: As a Duke University student, he was a prominent defender of the athletes embroiled in the 2006 lacrosse scandal, and while at the university he led something called the "Terrorism Awareness Project." On Wednesday, The Washington Post revisited Mr. Miller's high-school days, unearthing a video of Mr. Miller giving a "cringeworthy" campaign speech for student government.

On the collegiate level, student-government campaigns can get much wilder than the (likely satirical) antics of Mr. Miller. Watching the video made me (Andy) recall my own days of covering such elections at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Among the highlights: a joke candidate who promised a narwhal tank for the library, nasty texts between candidates that became public record, and a bid to halt the election by the speaker of the Student Congress that prompted the Student Supreme Court to stop the results from being released. And you think national politics are poisonous.

But unconventional campaigns can have happy endings too. Consider the two students at the University of Texas at Austin who last year ran for the top two student-government posts as a joke, and won. As our Katie Mangan wrote, they got a lot of stuff done.

—Andy, Fernanda, and Adam

Andy Thomason is The Chronicle's breaking-news editor, and Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz and Adam Harris are breaking-news reporters. Reach them at andy.thomason@chronicle.com, fernanda@chronicle.com, and adam.harris@chronicle.com.