Category Archives: Government

Politics and policy in higher education.

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Education Dept. Clarifies Rule Governing Online Courses

The Education Department on Thursday clarified a key piece of a new distance-education regulation, making it clearer that the reciprocity agreement known as SARA, under which more than 1,300 colleges have already been approved to offer online courses across state lines, would satisfy the new regulation.

The clarification removes the question mark over the legality of those colleges’ programs.

In a blog post about the department’s action, Russell Poulin, director of policy and analysis at the WI…

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Sues Nation’s Largest Student-Loan Servicer

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is suing Navient, the country’s largest servicer of federal and private student loans, for failing borrowers during every stage of repayment, the federal agency said on Wednesday in a news release.

In the lawsuit, which seeks undisclosed damages, the bureau states that Navient violated the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

Navient provided borrowers with b…

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Anchorage Faculty Senate Votes No Confidence in U. of Alaska President

The University of Alaska at Anchorage’s Faculty Senate voted no confidence last week in the university system’s president, James R. Johnsen.

The Friday vote, reported in the Alaska Dispatch News, was in response to changing university priorities following a $50-million cut in state funding over two years.

As part of its “Strategic Pathways” initiative, begun last year, the university consolidated its three education programs into a single entity on the Juneau campus, leaving Anchorage and Fairba…

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Following Plagiarism Reports, Trump Aide Bows Out of White House Post

Monica Crowley, whom President-elect Donald J. Trump had chosen to serve as director of strategic communications for the National Security Council, has decided not to take the job following allegations that she had plagiarized parts of a book and her doctoral dissertation.

“After much reflection I have decided to remain in New York to pursue other opportunities and will not be taking a position in the incoming administration,” Ms. Crowley said in a written statement to The Washington Times. “I…

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City College of San Francisco, Which Fought Accreditor, Wins Back Full Recognition

City College of San Francisco, the community college that vigorously fought efforts by its accreditor to strip it of its accreditation, has been reaccredited for the full term of seven years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges moved to strip the college of its accreditation in 2013, citing problems in the college’s finances as well as its governance. That spurred the college’s leaders to scramble in an effort to save it. After variou…

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In Shift, Education Dept. Will Automatically Forgive Student Loans Incurred at Defunct For-Profit

With one week left before its leadership changes hands, the U.S. Department of Education announced on Friday that it would automatically grant loan-debt relief to former students at the American Career Institute, a defunct for-profit college in Massachusetts. The move is a shift from how the department has so far granted relief to defrauded borrowers, requiring them to apply for it.

The department said in a news release that it would send emails to former students of the institute starting on Tu…

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2 More University Mergers Are Announced in Georgia

Four universities are to become two in the latest round of mergers approved by the University System of Georgia.

The Board of Regents voted on Wednesday to begin the consolidations, the Associated Press reports. The mergers will take effect as early as the fall of 2018.

Armstrong State University, in Savannah, and Georgia Southern University, in Statesboro, will merge under the Georgia Southern name, bringing the total number of students at the university to around 27,000. And Abraham Baldwin A…

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Columbia U. Is Mostly Mum on Accusations of Plagiarism Against Top Trump Aide

Columbia University has declined to comment on recent reports that Monica Crowley, an appointee of President-elect Donald J. Trump, plagiarized portions of her 2000 Ph.D. dissertation at the university.

An examination of Ms. Crowley’s 2000 dissertation by Politico revealed more than a dozen instances of language and information that was either improperly cited or printed without attribution. Columbia University cited confidentiality concerns in a statement issued on Tuesday.

“We have no commen…

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Colleges Are Accused of Using Civics Instruction to Promote Liberal Activism

Colleges can expect to see their civics-education offerings come under fire from conservatives as a result of a report issued on Tuesday by the National Association of Scholars, an advocacy group.

The NAS, which takes a traditionalist view of higher education, argues in its report that a “New Civics” movement in higher education has supplanted objective teaching about the United States’ system of government with efforts to encourage students to engage in liberal or leftist political activism.

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New Federal Guidance Is Hailed as Helping Adjuncts Collect Unemployment

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued long-awaited guidance clarifying when states should deem colleges’ contingent faculty members eligible for unemployment compensation.

The department’s new guidance spells out what criteria the state agencies should use in determining whether such instructors have lost their jobs — rendering them eligible for unemployment compensation — or are simply without work during the summer months. It includes criteria for determining whether colleges had previo…