U.S. Higher Education News for September 26, 2015

 

Beer, Julie Crothers. “Educators Worry Dual-Credit Degree Requirement Asks Too Much of Teachers.” Goshen News [IN] 26 Sep. 2015.

. . . Dual credit courses offer students the opportunity to earn college credit for coursework through a postsecondary institution that they complete while enrolled in high school.

Locally, secondary schools partner with Indiana University, Purdue University and Ivy Tech Community College, among others, to offer the courses.

According to federal education data, dual credit enrollment has increased 75 percent over the past eight years, with more than two million students enrolled in classes across the country.

But impending changes to the academic requirements for educators could dramatically affect high schools’ ability to offer dual credit courses.

The Higher Learning Commission, a federal organization that accredits higher education institutions in 19 states including Indiana, adopted a new policy in June that requires educators who teach dual credit courses to hold a master’s degree in their field, or a master’s degree in a different field combined with 18 hours of graduate coursework in the subject they are teaching. . . .

Obtaining the 18 necessary graduate courses will not only be costly–ranging in price from several hundred to several thousand dollars, according to local college data–but time consuming for teachers.

And for those needing the full 18 credit hours, time is of the essence [because the new standards will be enforced in the fall of 2017].

The HLC’s policy change was first proposed as going into effect in January 2016, but after commission leaders were contacted by concerned educators, the implementation date was pushed back to Sept. 1, 2017. . . .

 

Harrison, Bobby. “IHL Officials Looking for More Funds for Financial Aid.” Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal [Tupelo, MS] 26 Sep. 2015.

Normally the Legislature passes funding bills late in the session, but in 2016 House and Senate members will be asked early in the session to provide additional funds for college financial aid.

Institutions of Higher Learning Commissioner Glenn Boyce told legislative leaders earlier this week that if they did not provide a deficit appropriation of $5.5 million for financial aid, students who have state scholarships and grants will not receive the level of funding during the spring semester as they did during the fall semester.

Without the deficit appropriation, the level of financial aid will be reduced by 15 percent for 29,909 students in the eight public universities, 15 community colleges, and private Mississippi colleges.

Boyce said it is important for the Legislature to address the issue early on in January to let students know what their costs will be for the spring semester. . . .

IHL officials said the deficit appropriation is needed because financial aid was not fully funded for the 2015-16 school year during the past legislative session.

In addition, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning is requesting an increase in financial aid of $14.2 million to $52.1 million for the 2016-17 school year.

With state tuition increasing nearly every year and federal assistance being reduced, officials say state financial aid is crucial.

“We are very concerned about the issue of access and are considering how this issue will look 10 to 20 years down the road,” Boyce said. . . .

 

“Idaho Voters Should Get Chance to Cut Tuition” [Editorial]. Spokane Review [WA] 26 Sep. 2015: A, 12.

Idahoans fed up with state university and college tuition hikes have an opportunity to cut the bills by as much as 22.7 percent by increasing the state’s cigarette tax. There should be more than enough indebted students and parents willing to sign petitions that would put that deal on the 2016 ballot.

Idaho campuses, like others across the country, have raised tuition to punishing levels as legislative support for higher education gave way to other priorities; in Idaho’s case, tax cuts. The share of budget spending dedicated to postsecondary education dwindled to 8.6 percent in 2015 from a far-from-robust 13.5 percent in 1994.

In reality, tuition hikes are tax increases on the middle class. The Washington Legislature finally acknowledged the shifting of burden this year and set aside funding that will roll back tuition by as much as 20 percent on some campuses over the next two years.

Tuition in Idaho may be low by comparison with other Western states–only two charge less–but that is not much solace to students graduating with more than $20,000 in debt and job hunting in a state where compensation remains skimpy. Too many, discouraged by the math, drop out.

A ballot measure filed by a new group, StopTuitionHikes.com, would change the equation by adding $1.50 to the current 57-cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes. That’s a big jump–only Washington’s $3.025 per pack would be higher among its neighbor states–but the group’s leader takes heart from a 2010 poll that showed substantial support for tax increases if the revenues were dedicated to improving public health.

William Moran says 10 percent of a projected $7 million revenue boost would be set aside for fighting tobacco use, but the bulk would flow through to students in the form of tuition reductions. A provision in earlier versions of his proposal that would have capped tuition increases has been set aside in a bid to garner support from university leadership. . . .

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And here are some other items of possible interest from newspapers published outside of the U.S.:

 

“Council Demands Increase in Retirement Age of College Teachers.” Indian Express 26 Sep. 2015.

The State Council of Higher Education would submit a fresh proposal to the UT administration requesting it to increase the retirement age from 58 to 65 at all private and government colleges in Chandigarh.

The issue has been raised time and again by teachers of colleges across the city, but a decision in this regard from the UT administration is long pending.

Over the past few months, there has been representation from various educational institutions for an increase in the retirement age. Panjab University VC Arun Kumar Grover, who is also the chairman of the State Council of Higher Education, said there is a need for a common retiring age across all educational institutions.

“The retirement age for teachers in many Union Territories like Delhi, Pondicherry and Goa is 65. In Chandigarh, there is a difference in the retirement ages of teachers who are allotted through the UPSC, which is unfair. For instance, at PEC, the retirement age was increased to 62, but at Chandigarh College of Architecture, it is still 58,” he said.

“If Chandigarh has to be promoted as a knowledge city, this issue needs to be addressed and a proposal will be sent to the administration soon,” Grover added.

 

Dean, Alex. “Japan’s Humanities Chop Sends Shivers down Academic Spines; Japanese Universities Are Cutting Humanities and Social Sciences in Favour of ‘Practical’ Subjects, Sparking Global Concern.” Guardian [UK] 26 Sep. 2015.

More than 50 Japanese universities are to close or downsize their humanities and social science departments after education minister Hakuban Shimomura urged the country’s higher education institutions to offer a “more practical, vocational education that better anticipates the needs of society.”

The move has caught the attention of academics across the world, prompting many to speak out in opposition.

“It’s shocking,” says Sophie Coloumbeau, an English lecturer at Cardiff University. “The decision implies an extremely narrow, shortsighted and, I would say, mistaken view of what society’s needs are.”

Fiona Beveridge, head of the University of Liverpool’s School of Law and Social Justice, agrees: “I don’t think the future needs of society can be met only with STEM graduates. Cultural and creative industries will require students with humanities backgrounds.”

British humanities departments, already thought by many to be underfunded, are also facing problems of government perception. Education secretary Nicky Morgan raised tensions last year with her assertion that “the subjects that keep young people’s options open and unlock the door to all sorts of careers are the STEM subjects.”

The comment angered academics across the country, including Coloumbeau. “Morgan’s statement, and others like it, set up an unproductive opposition between the humanities and sciences,” she says. “It’s important to make sure such lazy generalisations don’t translate into government policy without being effectively challenged.”

 

Lichfield, John. “All Thing Being Equal: The Crisis in France’s Universities; Low Fees and Selection Lotteries Have Created Headaches in Higher Education.” Independent 26 Sep. 2015.

Ella, 18, is just beginning her first year of medical studies in Paris. Although she is part of a class of 1,500 students, she has already learned one lesson. Never leave your lecture notes unguarded.

“You could leave your laptop behind and no one would go near it,” she said, “but some students steal your notes and destroy them. They think that, by screwing you up, they improve their own chances of passing first year.”

Welcome to the bear-pit of the French university system. There is almost no selection; fees are minimal; classes are gigantic; and the first year failure rate is five times higher than in Britain.

Two studies published in recent days have cast renewed doubt on the health of higher education in France. No French university proper made the top 100 in the QS world rankings of universities published last week. A survey this week found that foreign exchange students awarded French universities the lowest level of academic satisfaction in the European Union.

There is a growing drumbeat for radical reform–including a report handed to President François Hollande which mentions the S-word–selection.

In the name of “Egalité”, French universities are non-selective and cheap (Euro 180 or £133 tuition fees a year). An extra 65,000 students–the equivalent of four new universities–will enter the system this year, but funding has been cut in the drive to reduce the state budget deficit.

As a result, pre-admission selection of students does occur–but by lottery. Unlucky applicants wind up in the less sought-after courses. . . .

 

“Students Can Save Us from Seagulls.” Irish Independent 26 Sep. 2015: 28.

The eminent Professor Ciarán Ó Cathain surely had a point when he suggested that Irish politicians are more interested in seagulls than students. The President of Athlone Institute of Technology said the “wild birds, it seems, concern our parliamentarians far more than the fate of 215,000 students in higher education.”

That is hardly surprising. As far as we know, students have not been involved in stealing mobile phones, dive-bombing motorcyclists and attacking sheep over the summer – unlike the savage sea birds.

If those in higher education want to help they should come up with constructive suggestions to tackle the gull menace. Students have nothing to do in the summer. They should be enlisted as seagull wardens, protecting the public from attack.

It’s high time they were made to work for those grants.

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Posts in This Daily Series from the Last Seven Days:

September 19, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/21/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-19-2015/

September 20, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/21/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-20-2015/

September 21, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/22/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-21-2015/

September 22, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/25/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-21-2015-part-1/

September 22, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/25/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-21-2015-part-2/

September 23, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/26/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-23-2015-part-1/

September 23, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/26/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-23-2015-part-2/

September 24, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/28/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-24-2015-part-1/

September 24, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/28/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-24-2015-part-2/

September 25, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/29/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-25-2015-part-1/

September 25, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/29/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-25-2015-part-2/

 

 

4 thoughts on “U.S. Higher Education News for September 26, 2015

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