All posts by Allie Bidwell


U. of Virginia Teams Up With ‘Crowdfunding’ Site to Finance Research

The University of Virginia announced this week the creation of a university “crowdfunding” portal designed to enable alumni and other donors to support research projects.

The university is one of the first to start such a fund-raising effort through a partnership with a crowdfunding start-up company. UVa is teaming up with Useed, a company focused on promoting fund raising in higher education by soliciting donations for university research projects or student-proposed entrepreneurial projects.



Student-Loan Report Prompts Calls for Refinancing Options

Frustrated borrowers with private student loans have often said they feel trapped in their debt, struggling with high monthly payments and few options to ease the burden. Their concerns received backing from a report released on Wednesday by a federal consumer-protection agency.

The report, issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, calls for more flexible repayment options and a refinancing market for private student loans.

In the report, the agency analyzes the more than 28,000 commen…


Johns Hopkins U. Announces $4.5-Billion Fund-Raising Campaign

The Johns Hopkins University announced on Saturday the details of a $4.5-billion fund-raising campaign—the largest the university has ever pursued and one of the largest currently under way.

The university’s “Rising to the Challenge” campaign seeks to create hundreds of endowed professorships, raise undergraduate financial aid, and strengthen research support, among other goals.

The campaign will serve as a way “to foster our capacity for collaboration, to invest in faculty in unprecedented ways…


Harvard Receives $50-Million Gift for Research and Entrepreneurship

Nearly two months after across-the-board cuts in federal spending took effect, university researchers are beginning to feel the squeeze in their budgets. But researchers at Harvard University can breathe a little easier, as an alumnus on Monday announced a $50-million donation to the university that will support basic biomedical research and student entrepreneurship.

The gift comes from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, headed by the businessman Len Blavatnik, and will support grants across the u…


College of Saint Mary Releases Its Own Expanded Scorecard

After President Obama announced the release of his administration’s “College Scorecard,” in February, higher-education experts and administrators gave the tool mixed reviews, saying that some of the terms and data could be confusing for students, and that it did not provide enough options for comparisons between institutions.

Those sentiments prompted some colleges to create their own versions of the scorecard. One of those comes from the College of Saint Mary, in Omaha.

The college’s scorecard,


Proposed Student-Loan Reforms Set Activists and Lawmakers at Odds

Washington — With interest rates on federal student loans set to double this summer, student-advocacy groups have intensified their calls for Congress to find a way to avoid the increase, and lawmakers are scrambling to pass legislation that would overhaul the student-loan system.

President Obama’s loan-reform proposal, which he released on Wednesday as part of his budget for the 2014 fiscal year, suggests switching to a market-based rate, in which interest rates would be set annually and fixe…


Sequester Watch: Congress Votes to Protect Military Tuition Assistance and Limit NSF Spending

Congress completed work on a stopgap spending bill on Thursday that includes provisions to restore military Tuition Assistance Programs but also limit spending on political-science research.

The Senate approved two amendments on Wednesday to the bill, known as a continuing resolution, which will finance government operations through the end of the 2013 fiscal year, on September 30. The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday, and the House of Representatives followed suit on Thursday, to avoid the …


Sequester Watch: Air Force and Coast Guard Suspend Tuition Assistance Programs

The Air Force and the Coast Guard have become the latest branches of the United States military to suspend their Tuition Assistance Programs, following significant, across-the-board cuts in defense spending that took effect this month in a process known as sequestration.

New enrollments in the Air Force’s Tuition Assistance Program were suspended as of 5 p.m. on Monday, officials announced on Tuesday morning. Although the Coast Guard has yet to publicly announce its program’s suspension, news of…


Sequester Watch: Army and Marines Suspend Tuition Assistance Programs

The Army announced on Friday that it had suspended new requests in its Tuition Assistance Program, joining the Marine Corps in halting the program due to significant cuts in federal spending that took effect last week.

The Marine Corps, which made its announcement on March 2, and the Army said they would not accept new enrollments in their Tuition Assistance Programs, which provide financial support for active-duty troops who are attending high-school-completion courses and certificate programs…


Outlook for Nonprofit Higher Education Is ‘Volatile,’ Report Says

Lower-rated nonprofit colleges and universities that do not respond proactively to the challenges outlined in Standard & Poor’s 2013 outlook report run the risk of developing weaker credits, according to the report from the credit-rating agency.

The report predicts an “increasingly volatile” view of the nonprofit higher-education sector, meaning there may be an increased number of positive and negative rating changes during the year. The report also predicts that higher-rated universities—thos…