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Beyond the News

Orientation and engagement activities introduced by Iowa Lakes Community College administrators have driven down the student loan default rate. President Valerie Newhouse says the two trends are intertwined.

Community college students who take out the smallest loans default at the highest rates, and many borrowers who get into trouble make no effort to fix their problems.

Those are two findings in a new report, “A Closer Look at the Trillion,” which calls for institutional and federal policy changes to help students and community colleges better manage debt.

Earlier this year, former College of DuPage President Robert Breuder almost won himself a $763,000 golden parachute to leave the institution in March 2016, three years before his contract expired; that contract has since been voided by the college’s board, and the package reduced to $495,000.

In an apparent response, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed two new laws limiting terms for community college presidents and restricting their severance packages.

Professional and continuing education students at Oregon State University can earn a digital badge for completing a course, workshop or certificate program.

More colleges and universities now offer digital badges as a form of micro-credential or “subdegree” to students who pass individual courses or certifications, and want to show potential employers what they’ve learned. The programs target professionals needing a skills boosts and hobbyists.

States not in compliance with The Choice Act risk losing GI Bill funding. (Click to enlarge)

States that have not offered veterans discounted tuition at public universities are now required by law to do so, reflecting the oft-nomadic lifestyle of vets and their need for greater access to higher education.

In-state tuition for this group, which includes 17 states and the District of Columbia, became nationally mandated on July 1, 2015, through a new provision of the GI Bill known as the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act (since dubbed the “Choice Act”).

Robin Engel, University of Cincinnati’s new vice president for safety and reform.

Criminal justice professor and public safety expert Robin Engel’s extensive background working with both law enforcement and community advocates should give plenty of credibility to her leadership of the police reform initiative launched by University of Cincinnati after an officer-involved shooting near campus this summer.

President Obama scrapped his long proposed college rating system in favor of a “scorecard” system unveiled in September. The news caught higher ed leaders by surprise, leaving some dismayed to be left out of the planning process.

Incoming Kent State freshmen studying at the university’s Florence, Italy, campus have opportunities to take sightseeing trips to Bologna and other cities.

Study abroad has been reserved traditionally for upperclassmen, but institutions that include Michigan State, Kent State, Florida State, American University and the University of New Haven are offering students the chance to learn overseas before or during their first year of college.

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.

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