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Behind the News

About 70 students are currently enrolled in the Goucher Prison Education Partnership, which receives no public funding. (Photo: Rob Ferrell courtesy of Goucher College)

A small-scale program that will give prisoners Pell Grants to pursue college degrees represents a symbolic step toward expanding access to higher education. But only a fraction of the inmates who could benefit will receive financial aid, experts say.

The push for campuswide sustainability and a fresh commitment to student health drive institutions to rethink their dining strategies. This might mean buying more food from local farmers and better educating students about their dietary habits.

Along those lines, Stanford University is the first higher ed institution in the nation to earn the United States Healthful Food Council’s REAL certification—an acronym for Responsible (nutrition), Epicurean (preparation), Agricultural (sourcing) and Leadership.

A new report by the American Council on Education examines most commonly used diversity strategies in higher ed admissions. (Click to enlarge)

Most public discussions about the use of race and ethnicity in higher education admissions decisions ignore targeted recruitment and some of the other strategies that have been used most often to increase campus diversity, says a new report by the American Council on Education.

More students now do their research on the web, bypassing resources offered by their campus libraries as digital usurps print in curricula, a recent survey says.

Colleges and universities cannot require registration of service dogs.

Higher ed administrators with questions about service dogs on campus can find answers in new guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Consumer advocacy groups support new financial-aid payment rules that have raised concerns.

Colleges and universities using third-party providers to process students’ Title IV payments face changes aimed at giving students more choice in receiving financial aid dollars. A new federal proposal could especially affect institutions that issue tuition refunds directly to students’ debit cards.

If it’s finalized as is by Nov. 1, The Department of Education proposed rule on campus debit cards and Title IV payments will have a major impact on third-party service providers.

Some of the regulations in the rule include restrictions on fees and limitations on access to student information. It would also require schools to issue paper checks as an option, even if they’ve already gone paperless.

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri says the Clery Act, signed into law in 1990, has outlived its usefulness.

Speaking in June to a national conference hosted by Campus Safety magazine, McCaskill said the current law “doesn’t accomplish squat.” If McCaskill gets her wish, Clery would be replaced with a law that requires more effective reporting. “To be honest with you, I am OK removing the Clery Act completely,” she said.

A biomass plant opened on Middlebury’s campus in 2009, marking a significant step toward the college’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2016.

Fossil fuel and private prison divestment may make the biggest headlines when it comes to how colleges invest endowment funds—but it’s not actually that common a practice. A growing number of colleges and universities now seek bigger impacts—and substantial financial returns—with a strategy known as “ESG.”

Officials at Antioch College, which was resurrected after being closed several years, expect to have 70 to 75 first-year students in fall 2015. Plans are beginning on a new dorm.

Your school has been rescued—now what? How do you restore students’ and parents’ faith in your revived institution? Institutions like Antioch and Sweet Briar are paving the way.