Category Archives: Finance

The money that makes academe tick.


National Default Rate for Student Loans Rises, Breaking Streak of Declines

For the first time since 2013, the overall three-year cohort default rate on federal student loans has risen, if ever so slightly, the U.S. Department of Education announced on Wednesday.

The percentage of borrowers defaulting on their student loans within the first three years of entering repayment ticked up fractionally, from 11.3 percent to 11.5 percent, for those who began repayment in 2013-14. However, that number is still lower than it was for students who entered repayment in the 2012 fi…


Are Small Colleges Doomed? Not So Fast

Most small and midsize private colleges appear to be financially secure, says a report from the Council of Independent Colleges.

The Financial Resilience of Independent Colleges and Universities” looked at financial data from the years 2001 to 2014 at 559 private institutions. Researchers analyzed resource sufficiency, operating results, financial assets, and debt management.

The study found that 67 percent of the colleges are “at or above the … threshold of financial viability.” Financial indi…


Texas A&M Removes Provost Over Conflicts of Interest

After an internal investigation found conflicts of interest between the provost and her spouse, Texas A&M University at College Station removed the provost and named an interim, The Eagle, a local newspaper, reported on Wednesday.

The office of the provost, Karan L. Watson, who last August announced her intent to step down after seven years in office, was responsible for paying Nancy Watson, her spouse, more than $114,000 during her time in the position. Nancy Watson, who owns a consulting ser…


President of Financially Troubled Bethune-Cookman U. Will Retire Early

Edison O. Jackson, president of the financially troubled Bethune-Cookman University since 2012, announced on Tuesday that he would be retiring a year before his contract expires, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported. The news comes just days after the revelation that the university planned to proceed with a dormitory-construction contract costing $306-million over 40 years even though Mr. Jackson’s signature on the document had been forged.

According to the newspaper, the historically black u…


Despite Forged Signature, Bethune-Cookman U. Proceeds With $306-Million Dorm Contract

A $306-million contract to construct new dormitories at Bethune-Cookman University is moving forward — even though the university president’s signature on the contract was forged, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

The contract was first made in 2014 with the company TG Quantum, which was created specifically to bid on the dorm project and did not have any other business contracts before its deal with Bethune-Cookman. The contract included an aggressive financing agreement that amounted to…


Bernie Sanders Says He Did Not Help Burlington College Secure a Loan

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, said that his office did not help his wife, who was president of Burlington College, secure a loan for the since-closed liberal-arts institution, the Burlington Free Press reports.

Mr. Sanders’s wife, Jane Sanders, brokered a land deal for the college in 2010, when she was its president. The college purchased the former headquarters of the state’s Roman Catholic diocese for $10 million with plans to expand and recruit more students.

Ms. Sand…


Pair Used IRS Data-Retrieval Tool in $12-Million Scam, Indictment Says

Two men were indicted on Wednesday on 23 federal charges related to a $12-million identity-theft conspiracy that used the personal information of students applying for federal financial aid.

According to the indictment, the men, Taiwo K. Onamuti, 29, of Doraville, Ga., and Muideen A. Adebule, 49, of Indianapolis, used the Free Application for Federal Student Aid’s data-retrieval tool, which allows students to electronically fill out tax information while applying for grants and scholarships. In…


Does State Support Have ‘Weak’ Connection to Tuition? Association Begs to Differ

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities is arguing against the implications of a new report from the American Enterprise Institute about the relationship between state funding for higher education and rising tuition at public colleges and universities.

The report, “Pennies on the Dollar: The Surprisingly Weak Relationship Between State Subsidies and College Tuition,” says state disinvestment in higher education has played a small role in the increasing cost of tuition. And th…


University of California Will No Longer Pay for Regents’ Dinners and Parties

The University of California will no longer pick up the tab for dinners and parties thrown by the university’s Board of Regents, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The change in policy came hours after a report that the university had reimbursed regents to the tune of more than $225,000 for such events since 2012.

The regents threw parties and dinners at lavish hotels, the report said, and some of them were “poorly timed.” A recent event, which cost $270 a person on May 17, was held immediatel…


U. of Maine Approves a Restructuring of Its Presque Isle Campus

Trustees of the University of Maine system took another step on Sunday toward streamlining operations and reducing costs by approving a reorganization of the University of Maine at Presque Isle, the Portland Press Herald reports.

The campus, like many regional public institutions across the country, has seen enrollment shrink and has struggled to close budget gaps in recent years. With about 1,300 students, Presque Isle is the second-smallest campus in the Maine system. Under the reorganization,…