Category Archives: The States

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New Mexico’s Public Colleges Breathe Easier, as Governor Signs Budget Bill

Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico signed into law on Friday a bill to provide state funds to public colleges and universities in the next fiscal year, nearly two months after her veto of a spending bill jeopardized such funding, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

The veto, of nearly $745 million in support for higher education, appeared to cast New Mexico as the next fiscal battleground, after Illinois, in which a  deadlock between a Republican governor and a Democratic legislature resulted…

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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,…

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U. of California President’s Office Faces New Scrutiny After Scathing Audit

The fallout continues for Janet Napolitano, president of the 10-campus University of California system, following a scathing state-audit report that accused her office of hiding tens of millions of dollars in secret reserve funds and of tampering with what were supposed to be confidential responses from the campuses in a survey the auditor sent to them.

According to The Mercury News, the university’s Board of Regents agreed during a special meeting on Thursday to hire an independent consultant…

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Tennessee Law Is Hailed as Offering Unprecedented Protection of Campus Speech

A new Tennessee law prohibits public colleges from disinviting speakers based on their controversial viewpoints or from charging student groups higher security fees to host speakers expected to trigger unrest.

Among its other provisions, the measure, signed on Tuesday by Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, requires colleges to adopt broad protections of free expression consistent with a landmark statement adopted in 2015 by the University of Chicago. It also bars public colleges from limiting studen…

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Janet Napolitano Disputes Finding That Her Office Held $175 Million in Undisclosed Funds

The University of California’s Office of the President did not disclose $175 million in its reserve funds to the university’s Board of Regents or California’s Legislature, according to a state audit released on Tuesday. The audit’s findings were disputed by Janet Napolitano, the UC system’s president, who wrote that figures in the audit had mischaracterized the office.

The audit found that the Office of the President had spent less than it budgeted while asking for funding increases based on pre…

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New York State Is Set to Test Free Tuition

New York is set to offer free tuition to public colleges for state residents who earn less than $125,000 a year, reports the Associated Press. Under a deal between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, and legislators, students from such families will be able to enroll at campuses of the State University of New York or the City University of New York without paying tuition.

While other states allow free tuition to community colleges as well as other reduced tuition programs, the New York effort is …

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Iowa State U. Defends 9/11 Assignment Against Lawmaker’s Criticism

When an Iowa State University lecturer assigned students to write about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, from the perspective of a terrorist group, he drew harsh criticism from an Iowa legislator, but campus administrators have defended the assignment.

The 500-word paper was part of an online course taught by James Strohman for the university’s department of world languages and cultures, The Des Moines Register reported. The assignment has been part of the course for years, but it r…

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Arkansas Is Poised to Shield Public-College Police From Records Requests

Arkansas legislators have overwhelmingly voted to provide the campus security forces of public colleges and schools with broad exemptions from the state’s freedom-of-information law.

The unusual measure, which the State Senate voted on Tuesday to approve and send on to Gov. Asa Hutchinson, declares a host of records kept by campus police and security offices at public colleges to be confidential and exempt from open-records requests. They include any information that, if disclosed, “could rea…

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State Spending on Higher Ed Continues Upward Trend

For the fourth year in a row, state spending on higher education is up nationwide.

The annual “Grapevine” survey, conducted by the State Higher Education Executive Officers and the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University, shows a 3.4-percent average nationwide increase in spending over the 2016 fiscal year, although that figure could be changed by legislation pending in Illinois.

Hawaii, Idaho, South Dakota, and Virginia posted the largest growth, increasing by arou…

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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…