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With a Strong Stance on Safe Spaces, U. of Chicago Sends a Mixed Message to Students

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 5:43pm
While some applauded the clarity of a dean’s letter, others found it callous, out of touch, or simply misunderstood.
Categories: Higher Education News

A Brief Guide to the Battle Over Trigger Warnings

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 5:30pm
A message to incoming students from a University of Chicago dean has touched off a debate about the use of the warnings on college campuses. Here's what you need to know about them.
Categories: Higher Education News

Federal Judge Blocks U. of North Carolina From Enforcing 'Bathroom Bill'

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 4:09pm
The decision follows a federal appellate court's ruling that transgender students are protected by Title IX's prohibition of sex discrimination.
Categories: Higher Education News

Have You Used Trigger Warnings in the Classroom?

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 11:46am
A controversy at the University of Chicago has touched off a fierce debate over the practice. We want instructors who have used such warnings to tell us about their experiences.
Categories: Higher Education News

Berkeley Suspends Its ‘Global Campus’ Because of Budget Deficit

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 11:45am
The project, proposed in 2015 and due to be built near the University of California campus, was supposed to be off-limits to budget cuts.
Categories: Higher Education News

Trading One Marathon for Another, an Olympic Runner Returns to the Classroom

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 10:59am
After his summer in Rio, Jared Ward is hitting the ground running for another semester of teaching and researching statistics at Brigham Young University.
Categories: Higher Education News

The Real Story Behind the U. of Connecticut’s ‘Scholars House’

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 2:57am
The university’s new residential community was created in an attempt to put more African-American men on a path to graduation. But some critics have depicted the program as a step toward segregating black students.
Categories: Higher Education News

A New Era for Grad-Student Organizing

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 2:56am
Changing realities in higher education and the broad scope of a decision this week by the National Labor Relations Board are feeding a growing appetite among graduate students to fight for better working conditions.
Categories: Higher Education News

College Republican Chapters Are Trying to Keep Trump From Tearing Them Apart

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 26, 2016 - 2:55am
With the fall semester starting and the November election fast approaching, the chapters are withholding endorsements, focusing on down-ballot races, and sometimes even splintering.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Chicago's Condemning of Safe Spaces and Trigger Warnings Reignites Debate

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 6:06pm
A letter from the dean of students cited academic freedom as the reason it opposes the practices. Some observers say that's a backwards argument.
Categories: Higher Education News

Education Dept. Cuts Off Federal Aid to New Students at For-Profit ITT

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 12:51pm
The department's move may be its most substantial action against a single for-profit educator since its heightened scrutiny of Corinthian Colleges caused that company to fold.
Categories: Higher Education News

Education Department Cuts Off Federal Aid to New Students at For-Profit ITT

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 12:51pm
The department's move may be its most substantial action against a single for-profit educator since its heightened scrutiny of Corinthian Colleges caused that company to fold.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Vermont Cancels Game at Chapel Hill Over 'Bathroom Bill'

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 12:34pm
The decision is the latest move in protest of North Carolina's House Bill 2, which mandates that people use only the public bathrooms that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Vermont Cancels Game at Chapel Hill Over 'Bathroom Bill'

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 12:34pm
The decision is the latest move in protest of North Carolina's House Bill 2, which mandates that people use only the public bathrooms that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates.
Categories: Higher Education News

Fraternity at Texas A&M Is Suspended After a Student Dies

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 12:12pm
A search warrant stated that fraternity members did not want the police to be called because drugs were involved in the incident on the College Station campus.
Categories: Higher Education News

Fraternity at Texas A&M Is Suspended After a Student Dies

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 12:12pm
A search warrant stated that fraternity members did not want the police to be called because drugs were involved in the incident.
Categories: Higher Education News

Increased Oversight of ITT and the Impact on Students

U.S. Department of Education Blog - August 25, 2016 - 12:00pm

In recent years, ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT) has increasingly been the subject of state and federal investigations and this year it has twice been found out of compliance with its accreditor’s standards. Over time, ITT’s decisions have put its students and millions of dollars in taxpayer funded federal student aid at risk. In response, over the last couple of years, we at the Department of Education have increased our financial oversight over ITT and required the school to boost its cash reserves to cover potential damages to taxpayers and students.

These investigations are still ongoing and last week ITT still failed to address its accreditor’s concerns. In response, today we’re announcing further federal action: To protect prospective students and taxpayers, we’re no longer allowing ITT to enroll new students with federal aid. In addition, in case the school’s actions cause it to close, we’re increasing the amount of cash reserves it must send us and we’re ending its installment payment plan for the amount previously required. Finally, we’re slowing down when ITT receives student aid from the government to ensure that ITT is handling its finances properly.

As a current ITT student with federal loans, you have some options:

  1. You can continue your courses at ITT with your federal student aid. There’s no immediate change to your program.
  2. You can transfer your credits to a new school (if that school accepts them) and complete your education.
  3. You can pause your education and wait to see how this matter resolves itself in the coming months. If ITT closes before you finish your program and you don’t transfer your credits, you will likely be eligible to discharge your federal loans.

I imagine you have some questions. Let me try to answer a few of them for you.

I’m close to graduating. Can I finish my degree?

Yes, unless ITT chooses to close instead of continuing to teach students. If you’ve already started classes at ITT, you can continue using federal aid there as long as the school remains open. New students will not be able to use federal student aid for classes at ITT.

If ITT eventually closes, will I still have to repay my federal student loans?

If ITT closes you may be eligible for a closed school loan discharge. If we reach that point we’ll share information on that process as you consider your options through the Federal Student Aid’s announcement page.

I just recently enrolled at ITT, but I haven’t started classes yet. Can I still use federal aid?

No. If you are a new student who has never been enrolled at ITT in a previous semester, you cannot start classes at ITT in the fall semester of 2016 using federal student aid. I know this is probably a major disappointment and inconvenience, but it’s too risky. You should still pursue a higher education. You might want to use our College Scorecard to explore your options and find the program that’s right for you.

Will this impact my GI Bill benefits?

No. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will notify affected GI Bill students that, at this point, the Department’s actions do not directly affect their GI Bill benefits. These actions, however, do raise significant concerns about ITT’s financial viability. Current GI Bill students at ITT should carefully consider the potential impact that the Department’s actions may have on their educational goals.

If you are a GI Bill student and have questions about your GI Bill benefits, please contact the VA’s Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551 or visit the GI Bill website. If you are eligible for the GI Bill and want to explore your education options, you can use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to find the program that’s right for you.

I already completed my degree at ITT. Is it worthless?

No. You completed your degree at an operational and accredited institution. Nobody can take away your credentials or the skills you gained.

I already completed my ITT program but I feel like I was defrauded. Can I get my money back?

The actions we’re taking against ITT today are based on the operational and financial risk they pose to students and taxpayers, not on a finding that they defrauded students. There are, however, a number of open federal and state investigations into ITT campuses. If those investigations find evidence of fraud or other illegal behavior surrounding your specific program, you might be eligible for relief.   You can also go to Federal Student Aid’s borrower defense page to learn more about how to file a claim if you believe the school misled you.

I’m nervous that ITT may close and I don’t want to start over. Should I transfer my credits?

That’s an option. It’s a choice that only you can make and one that you should consider carefully. Each student’s circumstances will be unique.

Here are a few key things to consider:

  1. Whether your credits transfer will be up to the new school. It’s likely to vary based on the type of program and school you’re considering.
  2. If you transfer your credits, you may not be eligible to have some or all of your federal loans discharged if ITT ultimately closes.
  3. Before you transfer, ask yourself: Is the type of program I’ve started still the right one for me? Will finishing it open up the career opportunities I want? You may want to check out our College Scorecard as you think about the answers to those questions.

Where can I go to get updates on what’s happening with my school? What’s the most reliable place for information?

Your school should update you directly. We’ll also post updates if there are major changes on Federal Student Aid’s announcement page.

Ted Mitchell is U.S. Under Secretary of Education.

The post Increased Oversight of ITT and the Impact on Students appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Iowa Professor Wants Athletics Mascot to Show More Smile, Less Scowl

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 11:08am
Resmiye Oral sent emails to the athletic department and Faculty Senate requesting that Herky the Hawk's face show a wider range of expression in university publications.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Iowa Professor Wants Athletics Mascot to Show More Smile, Less Scowl

Chronicle of Higher Education - August 25, 2016 - 11:08am
Resmiye Oral sent emails to the athletic department and Faculty Senate requesting that Herky the Hawk's face show a wider range of expression in university publications.
Categories: Higher Education News

Nine Organizations Partner on Official Comments for State Authorization Regulations

WCET Frontiers Blog - August 25, 2016 - 11:01am

Nine higher education organizations partnered to submit comments to the Department of Education regarding its proposed state authorization regulations for distance education. By working unison, we provided a strong and consistent single voice in making recommendations to the Department.

The Partners

Contributing to the letter are six distance learning associations with total memberships of over 1,000 institutions:

We were pleased to be joined by the following partners who provided additional expertise and perspectives:

The Biggest Issues

The letter indicates support for many of the recommended regulations. All of the partners support increased information for students and improved consumer protections. Some of the proposed regulations need clarifications for institutions to understand how to comply. Other proposed rules simply fall short in meeting the Department’s own goals.

Our comments focused on:

  • While the Department recognizes reciprocity as a means for an institution to obtain approval in a state, they want to assure that all state can still enforce their consumer protection laws. SARA allows states to enforce “general-purpose laws” that are applicable to “all entities doing business in the state, not just institutions of higher education.” The Department’s definition of “consumer protection” should mimic SARA’s or states could define it too broadly.
  • State Complaint Processes. Institutions would be denied offering aid in states without a complaint process that meets Departmental requirements. Apparently, the expectation is that out-of-state institutions will: a) know which states are out-of-compliance, b) lobby those states to change their process, and c) hope that they are lobbying for change that meet the Department’s needs. While we support all students having a reliable route for complaints, this process simply will not work. We suggest alternatives
  • Professional Licensure Notifications. The Department substantially underestimated the time for institutions to comply and the ability of state agencies to respond. A delay in enforcement time is needed
  • “Adverse Actions” Notifications. Much clarification is needed as the types of actions differ greatly by accrediting and state agencies. We also recommend that institutions be required to report actions “taken” not actions “initiated.” The latter is often an investigation that does not result in negative consequences for the institution.

Thank you to all our  partners who provide great advice and support throughout the process.

WCET and SAN Comments

We also submitted a second set of comments that reflected the interests of the WCET State Authorization Network (SAN) members. We expressed support for the issues (listed above) that were raised in the joint letter. We also included several requests for clarification that were submitted by WCET SAN members. They had very good questions about the meaning of some terms or how they might be enforced.

What’s Next?

The Department will consider the comments and has said that it will issue a final regulation by the end of the calendar year. If the final regulation is released before November 1, then the regulations become law on July 1, 2017. If they wait until November or December, then they become law on July 1, 2018. At its discretion, the Department may announce that it will delay enforcement of parts of the regulations until a later date.

Bottom Line

If you are not in compliance as an institution or for your professional programs in a state in which you wish to enroll students, don’t hesitate to do so. Avoid the rush. You could get trampled.

The state regulators or licensing boards have no incentive to hurry your application to meet a federal requirement. They do all they can, but they often have minimal staffing.

Happy authorizing!!

Cheryl Dowd
Director
WCET State Authorization

 

 

Russ Poulin
Director, Policy and Analysis
WCET – WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies

 

Support our work.  Join WCET.


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