Behind the News

Too Little, Too Late

Illinois suspends financial aid award program early

In the midst of the debate in Congress over whether or not to double interest rates on Federal student loans in July comes another hot-button aid issue—states are running out of aid money altogether. At the end of March, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) announced it would need to suspend making Monetary Award Program (MAP) awards for FAFSAs filed on or after March 14.

Shout Out Day Success

On February 29, St. Catherine University (Minn.) students, alumnae, faculty, staff, and friends made their presence and appreciation for their school known in a big way. That Wednesday, designated Shout Out St. Kate’s Day, was a chance for everyone to share what drew them to the school, what they think sets St. Kate’s apart, and more. The hashtag #ShoutOutStKates earned trending status on Twitter. Daily total impressions on the university’s Facebook page jumped from 19,000 the day before to 232,000 that day.

Compliance Made Easy

Wading through compliance rules can be daunting for even the most seasoned administrator. The Higher Education Compliance Alliance, a new online resource, was launched on March 1 to help answer the most burning federal law and regulation questions.

The website features information on more than two dozen topics, including accounting, affirmative action, campus safety, HEOA compliance obligations, lobbying and political activities, and tax compliance, to name a few.

UC YouTube

There is more to YouTube than videos of talking dogs. Its vast collection of educational videos includes those from University of California Television (UCTV). In March, order was brought to the chaos by the creation of channels offering original programming funded by YouTube. Existing content creators ranging from TED to Madonna were invited to participate; UCTV has bragging rights as being the only university channel. “YouTube is moving into the content creation business by [investing] in a select few channels,” explains Lynn Burnstan, UCTV’s director.

Network Support After Dark

Most institutions not offering 24/7 helpdesk support

Few students—traditional or nontraditional—complete their work within the 9-5 work day. Rather, libraries and dorm rooms are bustling late into the night with students burning the midnight oil. But, according to findings from the 2012 ACUTA (The Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education) ResNet Survey, only 9 percent of colleges and universities offer 24/7 network support.

Apple Dives Into Textbook Game

On January 19, Apple held a much-hyped education event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City where the company revealed its move into the textbook distribution market with the release of the iBooks 2 and iBooks Author apps.

Notable for its higher ed implications, iBooks Author is available as a free download from the Mac App Store and lets anyone with a Mac create iBooks textbooks and publish them to Apple’s iBookstore. Education technology experts weigh in on how this could change how professors disseminate information.

Donor Giving Strong

An Atlas of Giving report reveals that the education sector was the strongest for charitable giving in 2011. The sector received $54.30 billion in 2011, an increase of 9.8 percent over 2010 when donors gave $49.44 billion. Education still falls in second place to religious charities, with education accounting for 16 percent of total giving in 2011 and religion at 36 percent.

People Watch

Former University of Colorado system President Alexander E. “Sandy” Bracken has been appointed the Quigg and Virginia S. Newton Endowed Chair in Leadership at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He succeeds former CU President Hank Brown, who held the chair from 2008 to 2010. Bracken served as the 19th president of the University of Colorado in 2000 and most recently served as executive director of the Bard Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado- Denver’s School of business from 2001 to 2007.

Politics and Higher Ed

The President and frontrunner candidates on tuition costs

When President Obama called for more college graduates during his 2009 State of the Union Address, higher education leaders embraced the challenge. His 2012 speech challenging colleges and universities to control tuition—and adding there would be dire funding consequences if they didn’t—was not as well received.

Booksellers Respond to Textbook Slump

In this digital age, at a time when everybody is tightening their belts, it should come as no surprise that students are buying fewer textbooks. How many fewer? Two recent surveys show that 70 percent of students polled at the University of California, Riverside say the rising costs of higher ed have caused them to skip buying textbooks altogether. And findings from a 2011 Pew survey, “The Digital Revolution and Higher Education,” indicate that 62 percent of college presidents anticipate more than half of textbooks used by their undergraduates will be digital within 10 years.

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