Higher Ed Press Clips January 2013

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January 1-4, 2013

Denver Post:
Colorado State tested new TB drug approved Monday by the FDA –
The first new drug for tuberculosis approved by federal regulators since 1970 was tested at Colorado State in 2007, the university stated Thursday.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave initial approval for use of the drug bedaquiline Monday to be part of the regimen to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.  The CSU research team was led by Anne Lenaerts and Ian Orme, with collaborators at Johnson & Johnson Co., which discovered the drug in 2005, revealed the drug could be a fast-acting, highly effective treatment of tuberculosis.

Inside Higher Ed:
Overtime, less remedial coursework:  Study shows decade long dip in remedial course taking –
Some of the public agitation currently sweeping state legislatures and public policy circles over remedial education is driven by the impression that more and more underprepared students are pouring into higher education, and then lingering too long in unsuccessful remedial programs.  New data from the U.S. Education Department raise some doubt about the first of those two hypotheses.  A study released Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics, "First-Year Undergraduate Remedial Coursetaking: 1999-2000, 2003-04, and 2007-08," shows that the proportion of first-year undergraduate students reporting that they took remedial courses rose slightly from 2003-4 to 2007-8, to 20 percent from 19 percent.  But the 2007-8 figure was significantly lower than the 26 percent reported by first-year students in 1999-2000, a pattern that holds for many different types of institutions and students, as seen in the tables below.

Ed Week:
Blog: College Tax Credits Saved in Fiscal-Cliff Deal –
Tax credits for college expenses were among the items saved when Congress agreed late last night on a deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff."  The American Opportunity Tax Credit, which can trim up to $10,000 off the cost of a college degree, was extended for five years. It allows families to get a maximum $2,500 tax credit in higher education related expenses annually for four years.   The credit was introduced as part of the 2009 stimulus bill and has been supported by President Obama as an effort to keep college affordable.
The full credit is available to individuals whose adjusted gross income is less than $80,000 or for married couples making less than $160,000. The credit can be applied to course-related books and supplies, in addition to tuition and fees.

Wall Street Journal:
Educators Debate Academic Merits of Free Online Courses –
As millions flirt with free college-level courses online, educators are still debating their academic merits.  Elite schools allow their professors to offer courses on Coursera, Udacity and edX, but so far, most aren't willing to award students credit for those classes, which suggest that they're not fully endorsing the pedagogy quite yet.  While the most sophisticated MOOCs—massive open online courses—go beyond a video lecture, some academics still question the quality of additional content such as quizzes and group discussions.   MOOC homework assignments are often different from those required in their classroom counterparts. For example, exams may require less analytical thinking—and some users say their online classmates lack the knowledge to contribute meaningfully to conversations. Using a peer-review model to grade essays, as Coursera has done, exposes similar issues.

NY Times:
(New York) Education Commission Recommends Core Reforms –
Forcing teachers to pass a kind of bar exam, like the ones aspiring lawyers and doctors must sit for. Extending the number of hours and days students must spend in school, to break with academic calendars formed in an agrarian age. Consolidating school districts; making schools a hub for health care and social services; and giving 4-year-olds in the state’s poorest areas access to full-day prekindergarten.

January 5-8, 2013

Denver Post:
Colorado Democrats plan tax breaks shaky state budget –
Just as Colorado's state budget is finally showing signs of improvement, the first bill Senate Democrats will introduce when the legislative session opens Wednesday provides $120 million in tax breaks in the form of tax credits.  Some 370,000 families would benefit, including workers caring for their parents, said the incoming Senate president, Democrat John Morse of Colorado Springs. "We need to help working families just hanging on," he said. But Morse conceded that the economy is so dicey that revenues could dip in the March forecast, which could lessen the amount of the tax credits or possibly shelve them altogether. The plan to give tax breaks comes at the same time Democrats admit an education proposal still in the works relies on a tax increase to provide more money for schools. An outside group likely would push for the tax increase, which could come as early as November or in the 2014 election.

Veterans face confusion using GI Bill at state universities –
RALEIGH, N.C. — In choosing to serve her country in uniform, Hayleigh Lynn Perez knowingly accepted a nomadic life. Now the former Army sergeant says she and thousands of other veterans trying to get a higher education are being penalized for that enforced rootlessness.  Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the federal government will pick up the full in-state cost for any honorably discharged service member wishing to attend a public college or university. But because the often intricate rules governing residency differ from state to state, and even within university systems, many veterans face a bewildering battle to exercise the benefits they've already fought for.

Denver CBS 4:
Passion For Savings Has Salesman Making His Mark –
For many parents, it’s a conversation that starts in the delivery room, “How are we going to pay for college?”  Chris Haeck learned the value of money and saving at an early age. With a father who was a CPA, if he wanted something, he had to save for it himself.  Now he uses his lifetime of money lessons in work at CollegeInvest. It’s nonprofit, self-supporting part of the Colorado Department of Education (sic) which helps low- and middle-income save for college.

Ed News Colorado:
2103 Legislative Preview –
The mix of big, complicated issues with a new cast of characters in the legislature could mean an intense and unpredictable year for education in the 2013 Colorado General Assembly.  The 120-day session opens Wednesday morning with Democratic control of both houses, new leadership in each chamber, a large cadre of freshman members and a list of significant education issues waiting in the wings.

Inside Higher Ed:
Growth for Online Learning: Survey finds online enrollment slow but continued growth –
MOOCs may have snared most of the headlines, but traditional, credit-based online learning continued to chug along just fine last year, thank you very much.  More than 6.7 million, or roughly a third, of all students enrolled in postsecondary education took an online course for credit in fall 2011, according to the 2012 iteration of the Babson Survey Research Group's annual Survey of Online Learning. While the upturn in the number of online enrollees (9.3 percent) represented the smallest percentage increase in the 10 years that Babson has conducted this study, overall enrollment in American colleges and universities fell in 2011 for the first time in 15 years, to put the slowing of online growth in some context.

January 9-25, 2013

Denver Post:
Bill giving Colorado illegal immigrants in-state tuition passes test –
Four years ago when two tearful, undocumented high school students testified in favor of a bill to give illegal immigrants in-state tuition, supporters of the legislation had to hide the girls later because some opponents wanted to deport them.  But on Thursday, only one person showed up to testify against Senate Bill 33, a virtually identical bill that passed the Senate Education Committee on a 6-3 vote — even picking up one Republican vote from Sen. Owen Hill, a freshman from Colorado Springs.

Colorado “on-time” high school graduation rates increasing –
On-time high school graduation rates in Colorado increased by 1.5 percentage points in 2012, to 75.4 percent, according to figures released Thursday by the state's department of education.  The state's expectation is that 80 percent of its students graduate within four years. A total of 120 Colorado schools districts, or 65.3 percent, achieved that mark.
"Schools in Colorado have made greater investments and paid more attention to graduation and dropout rates, and we're seeing the results," said Judith Martinez, the director of dropout prevention and student engagement for the state Department of Education.

Durango Herald:
Tuition bill picks up steam –
Opposition all but melted away Thursday to a bill that gives in-state college tuition rates to children who are in the country illegally. Senate Bill 33 passed the Senate Education Committee on a 6-3 vote that included its first-ever support from a Republican senator.  Proponents have been trying to pass similar bills for a decade, but in previous years they ran up against emotional opposition. The bill gives in-state tuition rates regardless of immigration status to students who attend Colorado schools for three years, graduate and apply for legal residency.

Ed News:
ASSET bill clears Senate Education –
The bill that would make undocumented students eligible for resident tuition rates passed the Senate Education Committee 6-3 Thursday, with one Republican - freshman GOP Sen. Owen Hill of Colorado Springs - joining five Democrats in support.  The committee heard nearly two hours of testimony from 20 witnesses, only one of whom opposed the bill.  Supporters of the bill, who ranged from Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and college presidents to students and business leaders, repeatedly stressed that the bill is needed to give undocumented students hope, to recoup the investment the state made in those students’ K-12 education and to strengthen the quality of the state’s workforce.

Ed Week:
(Blog) State Higher Ed. Funding Shows Signs of Improvement –
There was a glimmer of hope this week for colleges struggling to adjust to prolonged public funding cuts. State financial support for higher education nationwide declined just 0.4 percent from fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2013, according to the Grapevine survey released Monday by the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO).  The previous year, average state cuts were 7.6 percent, which translated into $6 billion less for salaries, course offerings, and other operating expenses. Compared to five years ago, total fiscal support for public higher education is 10.8 percent lower on average in states.

Inside Higher Ed:
Not Getting What You Paid For: Study casts doubt on idea that spending more per student leads to better educational outcomes –
ATLANTA -- Everyone knows there's a reason the most expensive colleges in the country -- generally private residential institutions -- charge so much. The money they spend on hiring the best faculty members (full-timers of course) and on keeping student-faculty ratios low results in a higher-quality education. Right?  The crowd gathered here for a standing-room-only session at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities certainly wanted to believe. From a show of hands at the start of the session, the vast majority of attendees were administrators at those institutions. And the researchers who presented new data on the economics of liberal arts education threw cold water all over that conventional wisdom.

NY Times:
Stagnant College Graduation Rate Is Focus of 2 New Reports –
In an effort to improve the college completion rate and fend off new regulations, a commission of the nation’s six leading higher-education associations is calling for extensive reforms to serve a changing college population — one increasingly composed of older and part-time students.  “This is the first time in the history of modern higher education in which all the communities have come together — community colleges, research institutions, public universities and small liberal arts colleges — and reached agreement that completion needs to be our most important priority,” said E. Gordon Gee, the president of Ohio State University and chairman of the National Commission on Higher Education Attainment.

January 26-28, 2013

Denver Post:
New look at Colorado school financing seeks goal of adequacy, equity –
In his high-poverty swath of the San Luis Valley, Center Consolidated School District Superintendent George Welsh has plugged numbers into the state funding formula and been dismayed at the result.  Even after accounting for such factors as at-risk kids, English-language learners and special education that drive additional dollars into poorer schools, Welsh sees the formula's cost-of-living allowance pump even more money per pupil into affluent districts with far fewer academic challenges.  "Unfortunately, it stacks up to be a haves-vs.-have-nots situation," he said. "Both are held to the same accreditation standard. But one has fewer resources to tap into at the base funding level."

Boulder Daily Camera:
CU-Boulder weighs contract with Coursera to put select courses online for free –
The University of Colorado is weighing a contract with Coursera, an online provider that allows top-tier universities to make a select few of their courses available for free to hundreds of thousands of students worldwide.  CU system Ken McConnellogue expects CU to make a decision some time in February regarding a partnership with Coursera which offers massive open online courses, or MOOCs. The classes made available would be produced by professors on the flagship Boulder campus.  "We're in contract negotiations with Coursera, but nowhere near being able to talk about the details," McConnellogue said.

Summit Daily:
Colorado Mountain College to consider three for interim president –
Three candidates are in line to serve as the interim president of Colorado Mountain College while the school carries out a search for a new permanent president.  Board members Mary Ellen Denomy of Battlement Mesa and Pat Chlouber of Leadville presented three names in a special telephone meeting of the trustees Wednesday afternoon. The trustees agreed to interview all three candidates by phone during the board's next regular board meeting, which is set for 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday at the CMC central services building, 802 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs.  The agenda includes a time for public comment shortly after the start of the meeting.  The three candidates under consideration for the interim president's position are:  • Charles Dassance of Ocala, Fla., president of College of Central Florida from 1996-2011. He holds a PhD. in higher education administration from the University of Virginia. • Dennis Michaelis of Waco, Texas, president of McLennan Community College from 1988-2009. He holds a PhD. in higher education administration from Kansas State University.  • Lin Stickler, executive vice president at Colorado Mountain College from 2006-2010. She holds a master's of public administration from the University of Colorado.

Ed Week:
Cost Increasing Factor in Students’ College Choice –
Money matters more than ever to students. It's increasingly affecting their college choices and is one of the main reasons they are pursuing a degree.  "The American Freshman: National Norms," an annual survey and report published by UCLA's Cooperative Institutional Research Program released Jan. 24 gives a snapshot of the attitudes of first-time, full-time college students across the country.  It found that more students in 2012 believe that the current economic situation significantly affected their college choice (66 percent) compared to 62.1 percent in 2010 when the survey first posed the question. Considering the most important reasons for choosing a college, this year 43.3 percent of freshmen cited "cost of attending" compared to 40.6 percent in the 2011 survey. In 2004, just 31 percent of freshmen thought cost was "very important."

Inside Higher Ed:
For-profit Grand Canyon University enrolls a growing number of undocumented students –
Grand Canyon University is used to playing unexpected roles. A for-profit, Christian university investing heavily in a physical campus and a newly anointed Division I athletic program, the college has few precedents to follow. But over the past year, Grand Canyon has found itself in another seemingly contradictory situation: in a state whose political leaders are staunchly opposed to illegal immigration, Grand Canyon’s undocumented student population has been booming.  Just over 300 students on Grand Canyon’s Phoenix campus lack legal documentation to reside in the U.S. Most were brought across the border by their parents when they were young. The 300 students make up 5 percent of the student body -- a proportion that far exceeds undocumented students’ representation at public colleges and universities and could be among the highest at any four-year college in the state.

Wall Street Journal:
College Degree, No Class Time Required –
David Lando plans to start working toward a diploma from the University of Wisconsin this fall, but he doesn't intend to set foot on campus or even take a single online course offered by the school's well-regarded faculty.  Instead, he will sit through hours of testing at his home computer in Milwaukee under a new program that promises to award a bachelor's degree based on knowledge—not just class time or credits. "I have all kinds of credits all over God's green earth, but I'm using this to finish it all off," said the 41-year-old computer consultant, who has an associate degree in information technology but never finished his bachelor's in psychology.  Colleges and universities are rushing to offer free online classes known as "massive open online courses," or MOOCs. But so far, no one has figured out a way to stitch these classes together into a bachelor's degree.  Now, educators in Wisconsin are offering a possible solution by decoupling the learning part of education from student assessment and degree-granting.