Category Archives: Government

Politics and policy in higher education.


Education Dept. Revokes Recognition of Embattled Accreditor of For-Profit Colleges

[Last updated (9/22/2016, 8:26 p.m.) with additional reaction.]

The U.S. Education Department has decided to revoke the federal recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, the much-maligned accreditor of many for-profit colleges.

Emma Vadehra, chief of staff to the secretary of education, wrote in a letter on Thursday that she agreed with the recommendations of Education Department analysts and the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrit…


Governor Can’t Unilaterally Cut Colleges’ Budgets, Kentucky Justices Rule

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s governor, Matt Bevin, overstepped his legal authority in cutting public colleges’ budgets by 2 percent, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

In March, Governor Bevin, a Republican, ordered that the budgets of the commonwealth’s public colleges be cut by 4.5 percent — a number later revised to 2 percent. That prompted Attorney General Andy Beshear of Kentucky, a Democrat, to sue the governor, saying the order was “unconstitutional and illegal.”…


Bill in Congress Would Use Research Funds to Curb Sex Harassment in Academe

Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat of California, plans to introduce a bill on Thursday that would target sexual harassment in academe through the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and dozens of other federal agencies that award lucrative research and development grants.

The legislation states that, if a research professor is found responsible for violating a college’s sex-harassment policy, the college would be required to report the finding to all federal agencies t…


After Closing Campuses, ITT Says It Will Cease Operations Entirely

ITT Educational Services Inc., which last week announced it would close all of its campuses following a new wave of federal scrutiny, will now cease operations. The company said in a federal filing on Wednesday that it would close, effective on Friday.

Last week’s announcement disrupted the education of tens of thousands of ITT students, who can now either transfer to other institutions or apply to have their loan debt discharged by the U.S. Education Department. The company has said it was the …


Chapel Hill Student Says University Botched Investigation of Her Rape by a Football Player

[Updated (9/13/2016, 4:30 p.m.) with a statement from the university.]

A female student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says that she was raped by a football player there, and that the institution has failed in its handling of her case, The News and Observer reports.

The student, Delaney Robinson, said in a public statement on Tuesday that she was raped the night of February 14; that the campus police peppered her with insensitive questions; that investigators, while questioni…


South Carolina Governor Asks University Trustees to Pay Back Expenses

Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, has asked the trustees of the Medical University of South Carolina to return the university-reimbursed money they spent on fine dining and luxury hotels, the Charleston Post and Courier reports.

Harold Jablon, one of the trustees, has agreed to pay back $20,000. A recent investigation by The Post and Courier found that the board members rack up big bills when they meet in Charleston. Since 2011, the trustees have spent $560,000 on food, drink, and lo…


Minnesota Revokes 2 For-Profit Colleges’ Authorization Following Fraud Ruling

State officials in Minnesota have taken steps toward closing two for-profit colleges after a judge ruled that the colleges had committed fraud, the Star Tribune reported.

The judge’s findings stemmed from a lawsuit filed in 2014 by the state’s attorney general, Lori Swanson. The suit had accused Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business, which are owned by the same company, of misleading students.

The lawsuit focused on a now-shuttered program in criminal justice. The judge ruled th…


As For-Profit ITT Announces Closure, Thousands of Students and Employees Face Uncertainty

[Last updated (9/6/2016, 6:54 p.m.) with news of a lawsuit filed by ITT employees, and more context.]

The more than 40,000 students and 8,000 employees of ITT Educational Services Inc. on Tuesday grappled with the fallout of the for-profit’s announcement that it would close in response to heightened scrutiny from the federal government.

“It is with profound regret that we must report that ITT Educational Services Inc. will discontinue academic operations at all of its ITT Technical Institutes pe…


Hillary Clinton Names Rohit Chopra to Her Transition Team

Hillary Clinton, ahead in polls as the Democratic presidential nominee, has named Rohit Chopra, a former student-loan watchdog at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to her transition team, Politico reported on Tuesday.

At the agency, Mr. Chopra sued two for-profit-college companies — ITT Educational Services Inc. and Corinthian Colleges Inc. — over accusations about abusive lending practices.

Mr. Chopra was also a vocal critic of student-loan-servicing companies and arrangements between c…


U. of Texas Graduate Student Is Released From Iranian Jail

A University of Texas at Austin graduate student who was arrested in Iran and sentenced to 10 years in prison has been released, The Dallas Morning News reports. Omid Kokabee, a doctoral student in physics, was arrested and charged with working with foreign nations in 2011, and sentenced the next year.

Mr. Kokabee had been released from jail in April for medical treatment. A lawyer for the student told state media that Mr. Kokabee would have “conditional freedom” for the remaining years of his s…