A Senate investigation has revealed that between 2009 and 2012, Apple avoided paying taxes on $44 billion in profits that it earned offshore.
Where the corporation did pay taxes on its offshore earnings, it paid at a much reduced rate. Taking advantage of low corporate tax rates in Ireland, it made that country the base–at least for tax purposes–of some of its vast international operations. But, Ireland’s corporation-friendly 12% tax rate wasn’t low enough. So Apple used its leverage to arrange a special tax deal in Ireland and pays just 2% on the profits that it earns through Apple Sales International.
But that’s just proverbial the tip of Apple’s tax avoidance iceberg.
It turns out that Apple Operations International, which has accounted for more than 30% of the company’s total profits—an estimated $30 billion between 2009 and 2012–does not have a tax status in any nation. So, the billions of dollars in profits which that entity produces have somehow gone completely tax free.
As close as investigators have been able to determine, in 2011, a particularly profitable year, Apple paid about $10 million in taxes on net international earnings of about $22 billion. Continue reading
COLUMBUS, OHIO—Faculty and staff members from colleges and universities across the U.S. met in Ohio over the weekend to address the some of the toughest issues facing student success in America’s higher education system.
The rapid drive to move students’ classes from campuses to online and the Gold Rush mentality behind many entrepreneurs pushing the new teaching schemes — especially the latest incarnation known as MOOCs (massive open online classes) — was a hot topic at the 5th national meeting of the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education (CFHE).
“The use of MOOCs as substitutes for classes where students get feedback and guidance from a live teacher undermines our campaign’s key principle—that colleges in this country need to be affordable and give our people a good quality education,” says Eileen Landy, professor of sociology at State University of New York, Old Westbury and an officer in United University Professions.
Proposals to use MOOCs are popping up across the U.S. through spin-offs from Stanford, Harvard and other big name universities as well as from for-profit vendors.
“Let’s not be confused about this,” says Steve Hicks, President of the Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties. “A Harvard MOOC is not a Harvard education and we need to help parents to understand that.” Continue reading
This is a re-post from the “On the Issues” blog of the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education [
Although the details are shameful, it’s good to see the mainstream press publicizing the facts about higher education faculty appointments and compensation. A recent NBC report highlights these facts from the most recent annual survey on faculty appointments and compensation conducted by the American Association of University Professors: more than 3 out of 4 faculty members in American higher education today work in low-paid, insecure (often part-time) appointments that usually offer no health or other benefits. The median pay in these positions (often called “adjunct” positions) is $2,700 per course. Continue reading
Reviews of Recent Books Concerning Current Issues in Higher Ed: No. 6
Donoghue, Frank. The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities. New York: Fordham U P, 2008.
In this seminal work of the corporatization of American universities, Frank Donoghue offers a much longer historical view than most other authors focusing on the topic. Some have started in the mid-1970s, when economic recession and the “Rust Belt” decline of American manufacturing and working-class economic security, along with post-Baby Boom demographics, created new fiscal pressures on our universities. Others have looked back to the late 1940s, when the G. I. Bill eliminated many previous socio-economic obstacles to a earning a college degree and drove the very rapid expansion of our universities–the public university systems, in particular. But Donoghue starts in the post-Civil War era, when the establishment of most of our land-grant universities marked the beginnings of the modern university in America. He not only historically delineates the tension between the proponents of utilitarian education and the proponents of “liberal arts” education, but he emphasizes that, from the beginnings of the modern American university, this tension has been inherent in our shifting conception of the core mission of our universities. The Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties marked previous high points for the proponents of utilitarian education, and it is hardly surprising that at the turn of this century, as the nation seems to have settled into a second Gilded Age, the proponents of utilitarian education have once more moved into the foreground. Unlike most critics of the increasing corporatization of our universities, Donoghue does not, however, view this as a cyclic phenomenon. Instead, he believes that most colleges and universities have already passed a tipping point and are moving inexorably toward an increasingly corporatized state in which the humanities and social sciences are being reduced from major disciplines within the curriculum to basic skill sets and diversions for dilettantes and subversives. Continue reading
Reviews of Recent Books Concerning Current Issues in Higher Ed: No. 5
Bradley, M. J., R. H. Seidman, and S. R. Painchaud. Saving Higher Education: The Integrated, Competency-Based Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree Program. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2012.
This book proposes an idea previously treated at some length by Robert Zemsky in his book Making Reform Work: The Case for Transforming American Higher Education (Trenton, NJ: Rutgers U P, 2009). The three-year baccalaureate degree seems to offer a somewhat painless way of mitigating some of the most pressing issues in higher education. It has a clear appeal to many students, politicians, and college and university administrators. But it has also been met with misgivings by a growing number of student advocacy groups, most faculty, and many employers.
The authors developed the program that is the focus of the book at Southern New Hampshire University, and they take great pains to distinguish the “Integrated” program that they developed from the more common “Accelerated” and “Prior Learning” models.
In the “Accelerated” model, students take the same number of course credits, delivered over the same number of contact hours, that they would in a four-year baccalaureate program. But, by scheduling classes in both the daytime and the evenings and on weekends, and by taking a full semester-load during the summers, the students can complete the required work in three, rather than four, years. Since most colleges and universities do not charge, or charge a reduced rate, for credits beyond the designated full-time load, students in the Accelerated Program save considerable money on their tuition and are also able to enter the workforce and to earn incomes that reflect their new credentials one year sooner than their peers. Administrators, who are held to account for graduation rates, tend to like the idea of a program that presumably provides more incentives to graduate in a timely way. On the other hand, critics will quickly point out that the “Accelerated” model requires such an intensive commitment to study that it often exacerbates problems with retention and lowers the graduation rates that it is ostensibly designed to improve. Continue reading
Reviews of Recent Books Concerning Current Issues in Higher Ed: No. 4
Kezar, Adrianna. Embracing Non-Tenure-Track Faculty: Making Change to Support the New Faculty Majority. New York: Routledge, 2012.
A faculty member at the University of Southern California, Kezar has written several books on the issues currently confronting higher education. In Embracing Non-Tenure-Track Faculty, she makes the case that an over-reliance on adjunct faculty affects the quality of the instruction that an institution provides and should be reflected more pointedly both in formal institutional appraisals such as accreditation reports and in annual media rankings of institutions.
Kezar founded the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success, the aim of which is to promote innovative and substantive ways of maintaining the quality of instruction provided by our institutions even as the composition of the professoriate undergoes unprecedented changes.
The subtitle of Kezar’s book acknowledges the emergence of a national advocacy group for adjuncts, the New Faculty Majority, which is based in Akron, Ohio. Kezar advocates for fundamental changes in the institutional treatment of adjunct faculty that align with the primary aims of the New Faculty Majority: an adequate period between the signing of a teaching contract and the first day of classes to allow the instructor to prepare the course effectively; compensation for course preparation if a course is canceled between the time a contract is signed and classes begin; provision of adequate office space, basic computer equipment, and clerical support; compensation that takes into account the amount of instruction that is likely to occur informally outside of the designated class period; some voice for adjunct faculty, and especially for experienced adjunct faculty, in curricular decisions; and some provision of support for the continuing professional development of adjunct faculty. Indeed, Chapter 11 of Kezar’s book has been written by Maria Maisto, the President of the New Faculty Majority, and is titled “Taking Heart, Taking Part: New Faculty Majority and the Praxis of Contingent Faculty Activism.”
Kezar’s book is actually a collection of essays, identified as “chapters,” and the twelve chapters are divided among three sections: “Setting the Stage: Background and Context,” “Case Studies,” and “Synthesis of Lessons Learned.” The first and the third sections consist of two chapters each, and the bulk of the book, eight chapters, is presented in the middle section. Continue reading
The AAUP released several important reports this week that deserve a close reading.
The AAUP Statement on the Affordable Care Act and Part-Time Faculty Positions criticizes colleges that seek to deny coverage to adjunct faculty who work 30 hours a week under the Obamacare law, by cutting classes or failing to recognize the actual hours of work undertaken by adjunct faculty.
The AAUP Statement on the Defunding of Political Science Research at the National Science Foundation expresses deep concern about the efforts in Congress to ban NSF funding for political science research, largely for political reasons.
The AAUP also this week released its report on Southern University, Baton Rouge, which used an assertion of financial exigency to fire tenure faculty under dubious circumstances.
Reviews of Recent Books Concerning Current Issues in Higher Ed: No. 2
Altbach, Philip G., Patricia J. Gumport, and Robert O. Berdahl, eds. American Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century: Social, Political, and Economic Challenges. 3rd Edition. Eds. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins U P, 2011.
In selecting the essays included in this collection, the editors have attempted not only to provide an overview of the major issues confronting America’s colleges and universities, but also to suggest how at least some of those issues are affecting higher education on an international scale.
The authors collectively address several paradoxes. First, although the American system of higher education has long been and still remains the best in the world, there is a growing sense that its future is more uncertain than it ever has been–and may be perilously uncertain. Second, although higher education has always been defined by some degree of continual flux, there is a growing sense that the changes that are currently occurring are more definitive and more irreversible than previous cycles of change. And, lastly, the movements toward more specialization in the curriculum and toward more contingent employment among the professoriate seem to have reached critical tipping points, beyond which it will be increasingly difficult to readjust institutional missions in response to shifting political, economic, and cultural pressures.
The collection includes seventeen essays, which are divided into four sections: The Setting, External Forces, The Academic Community, and Central Issues.
Reviews of Recent Books Concerning Current Issues in Higher Education: No. 1
Ginsberg, Benjamin. The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters. New York: Oxford U P, 2011.
Ginsberg’s book has very quickly become a seminal work in the growing body of scholarly literature dedicated to higher education’s institutional self-examination. This literature has been written almost equally by administrators and faculty, who share a singular focus on the increasing corporatization of our colleges and universities. Not surprisingly, most of the administrative authors of these studies have expressed largely positive views of corporatization, while most of the faculty have presented decidedly negative views of it. What the administrators have typically seen as the salient benefits of corporate modeling in shaping the future possibilities of our institutions, the faculty have generally regarded as a further compounding of the trends that have turned our institutions into misshapen caricatures of what they have traditionally, and ideally, thought themselves to be or sought to be.
Sources: National Center for Education Statistics, Bloomberg News, Chronicle of Higher Education, Blumenstyk and Fuller
Number of post-secondary institutions newly accredited between 2005 and 2009: 483.
Percentage of post-secondary institutions newly accredited between 2005 and 2009 that were private for-profit institutions: 77%.
Percentage of total accredited post-secondary institutions in the U.S. that were private for-profit institutions in 2009: 26.2%.
Percentage of students in post-secondary institutions enrolled at private for-profit institutions in 2010: 9%.
Percentage increase in enrollments at private for-profit institutions between 2005 and 2009: 235%.