Moody’s Issues Negative Outlook for Higher Education

On the heels of a similarly downcast assessment by Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service has issued a negative outlook for the higher-education sector in the United States. The credit-rating agency also issued individual reports on median benchmarks for the finances of public and nonprofit private colleges, noting significant tuition-revenue declines at both types of institutions.

While American higher education faces limited growth prospects over the next 12 to 18 months, Moody’s says, p…


Could a Gainful-Employment Rule Have Helped Corinthian’s Students?

With the fate of Corinthian Colleges Inc.’s 75,000-plus students now up in the air, a student-advocacy group says that many of them could have been protected from the coming upheaval if a strong “gainful employment” rule had been in effect.

The Institute for College Access and Success had previously identified 114 career-focused programs where more students default on their loans than graduate. This week, in a seize-the-moment move, the organization noted that 25 of those 114 were part of instit…


U. of Washington Students Say They Can Work to Help Pay Tuition

In recent years, a few student groups have come up with ideas to pay their tuition and fees with a portion of their income earned after graduating. For example, the UC Student Investment Proposal has been proposed by students at the University of California at Riverside, and the Pay It Forward concept developed in a class at Portland State University.

Now, students at the University of Washington have come up with their own version—one that relies more on students’ earnings during college, rathe…


New Index Reports Uptick in Giving to Higher Education

Charitable giving to more than 500 colleges in the United States grew by 0.8 percent in the three months that ended in April, compared with the same period in 2013, according to the fund-raising-technology company Blackbaud Inc.

The increase is reported in a new higher-education specialty index that is based on the latest data provided by Blackbaud’s client institutions. The 558 colleges and universities represent more than 10 percent of all American higher-education institutions and account for…


Laureate’s Credit Rating Drops Because of Growing Debt

Moody’s Investors Service announced on Friday that it had downgraded the ratings outlook of Laureate Education Inc., to negative from stable. The credit-rating agency affirmed the for-profit education company’s B2 Corporate Family Rating but lowered its senior secured bank-credit facilities to B2 from B1.

Laureate has become increasingly leveraged because of debt-financed acquisitions, and Moody’s said it was concerned that returns on those investments would be insufficient to support a B2 ratin…


Death of ‘Patent Troll’ Bill Is Mixed Blessing for Research Universities

Congress now seems unlikely this year to pass patent-reform legislation aimed at controlling so-called patent trolls. That’s both good news and bad news for the research universities that have been in the thick of the debate.

The bad news, according to John C. Vaughn, executive vice president of the Association of American Universities, is that there will be no new law, yet “there is a problem out there to be solved.” The good news, he says, is that proposals being pushed by the computer and inf…


UCLA Sets $4.2-Billion Campaign Goal, Largest by a Public University

The University of California at Los Angeles announced on Friday a $4.2-billion campaign, the largest goal sought to date by a public university in the United States.

The Centennial Campaign is scheduled to conclude in 2019, the 100th anniversary of the university’s establishment. The bulk of the campaign’s total—$1.65-billion—is earmarked to build up the university’s research, while $1.5-billion would go toward student aid and faculty support, including endowed professorships. Some $800-million …


College Provides $750,000 to Fight Blight at Its Doorstep

Bottom Line

A three-story residence on Osborn Street, near Providence College, was among the properties that the Smith Hill Community Development Corporation renovated for use as affordable housing. The college has pledged $750,000 to the organization to support its work. (Smith Hill Community Development Corporation)

Plenty of urban colleges struggle with neighborhood blight, and Providence College is among them. Situated on 105 acres overlooking Providence, R.I., the college borders Smith Hill, where aban…


When Laying Blame for Rising College Costs, Don’t Forget About Enrollment

In recent months, higher-education news coverage across the country has focused on the increased share of public-college costs being shifted from state governments to students.

The prevailing story line goes like this: States have “disinvested” in higher education during the past quarter-century, “cutting” money for public colleges and forcing institutions to raise tuition to cover the loss of tax dollars. As a result, many of the stories proclaim, students are neck-deep, or worse, in student-lo…


U. of Phoenix Lectures by Clayton Christensen Redefine ‘Model Students’

Disruption models

When Clayton M. Christensen spoke to an audience of liberal-arts-college officials in New York this month about the ways “disrupters” could use the advantages of distance education to upend higher education as we know it, he made his point with an example from his own experience with the University of Phoenix.

In 2011, Phoenix asked him to deliver some 90-minute lectures on innovation and other business principles. Rather than hold them where he teaches, at Harvard Business School, Phoenix rent…