AAUP Chapter Meeting – September 23, 2016

IMPORTANT! The first UNE AAUP Advisory Chapter open meeting takes place on September 23 from noon to 1.  Biddeford Campus Location: Pickus 214 Portland Campus Location: Pharmacy Dean’s Conference Room 123 The purpose of the chapter meeting is to get the word out that we are not a collective bargaining chapter, that we hope to …

IMPORTANT!

The first UNE AAUP Advisory Chapter open meeting takes place on September 23 from noon to 1. 

Biddeford Campus Location: Pickus 214

Portland Campus Location: Pharmacy Dean’s Conference Room 123

The purpose of the chapter meeting is to get the word out that we are not a collective bargaining chapter, that we hope to work within the existing system, and that our modest goals are to enhance the quality of our educational programs by strengthening the role of faculty at the institution. This is also a great place for existing chapter members to network and discover how to integrate into our efforts. 

This meeting is open to all faculty of the University.   

Anyone seeking to join the email list should contact Thomas McLaughlin, Ph.D., UNE AAUP Chapter Secretary at chalmersmclaughlin@gmail.com

Innovation – Everyone Says It’s the Answer

“Innovation — Everyone Says It’s the Answer, but Is It What Colleges Need?” is the title of a recent article by Scott Carlson in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Innovation as a vision, it turns out, may not be so innovative after all! Reporting on a panel discussion hosted by The New America Foundation and featuring Charles …

“Innovation — Everyone Says It’s the Answer, but Is It What Colleges Need?” is the title of a recent article by Scott Carlson in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Innovation as a vision, it turns out, may not be so innovative after all!

Reporting on a panel discussion hosted by The New America Foundation and featuring Charles L. Isbell, Jr. (Senior Associate Dean in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology), Bridget Burns (Executive Director of the University Innovation Alliance), and Amy Laitinin (director of higher-education policy at The New America Foundation), Carlson captures several of the key pressures for innovation, in addition to the possible negative repercussions.

Colleges and universities, though, are not necessarily in the driver’s seat, as Carlson reports:

Actually, the panelists pointed out, it might not be entirely colleges’ problem. Too many of the incentives around higher education, they said, focus on inputs — more applicants, more students, the time those students spend in class — rather than outcomes, like graduation rates or the jobs students get after college. And that focus applies to the innovation conversation as well.

With incentives focused on inputs and the new, the innovation agenda exists in tension with the important outcomes assessment conversations within colleges and universities.

Carlson’s article can be read in its entirety at http://www.chronicle.com.une.idm.oclc.org/article/Innovation-Everyone-Says/237820. It is behind the Chronicle‘s paywall, but many university libraries subscribe to the periodical.

LIU Lockout Ends – 12 Days of Educational Disruption

Writing for The Guardian, Rose Hackman reports on the possible longterm significance of the lockout at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus in “LIU Lockout: US Professors and Students Seen as Disposable Commodities.”  In the midst of contract negotiations, the administration locked out the faculty over Labor Day weekend, a pre-emptive move intended to pressure the …

Writing for The Guardian, Rose Hackman reports on the possible longterm significance of the lockout at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus in “LIU Lockout: US Professors and Students Seen as Disposable Commodities.” 

In the midst of contract negotiations, the administration locked out the faculty over Labor Day weekend, a pre-emptive move intended to pressure the union into concessions just as classes were about to start. Faculty were denied access to their university email and offices, and the administration quickly sought to put replacement “teachers” in classes.

Hackman’s reporting focuses considerable attention on possible relationship between race and educational investments. LIU has two campuses: Brooklyn and Post. The Post campus is situated in the leafy suburbs of eastern Long Island, and its student body is considerably less diverse.

Ben Saunders, a professor of psychology at LIU Brooklyn, says that he feels the campus in Brooklyn is effectively funding the suburban Post campus, echoing critiques long made over the centuries by black public intellectuals: that communities of color are systematically plundered to support unrealistic standards of living for whiter communities.

Also at issue in the LIU lockout was educational quality. Much of the reporting on the lockout included examples of unqualified or marginally qualified individuals hired to stand before students in the first weeks of the term. Hackman spotlights the experience of one LIU Brooklyn student, Nichia McFarlane:

McFarlane says after the lockout was announced, and after she realized courses were not being taught by the qualified professors she had been looking forward to, students received emails from the administration saying their time to un-enroll without incurring a financial penalty had been shortened. She had to make a split-second decision that very day, and withdrew.

‘As they were locking out faculty, they were trying to lock in students. It felt like a con or a scam. I don’t want to think that about the university that I am going to.’

Teaching is a highly skilled profession requiring years of apprenticeship, credentialing, and more. Students are often quite capable of recognizing when instruction is not provided by qualified individuals.

Study finds major access gaps in higher education in developing countries

Global higher education access targets are likely to be missed, according to a study that found that women are at the back of the queue when university enrollment widens in the developing world.

An analysis of higher education participation rates in 3…

Global higher education access targets are likely to be missed, according to a study that found that women are at the back of the queue when university enrollment widens in the developing world.

An analysis of higher education participation rates in 35 countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa by University of Cambridge researchers detected “extremely low” rates for people under 25 in almost all of them: below 10 percent in 31 of the countries, and below 5 percent in 20.

Drawing on U.S.-funded Demographic and Health Surveys conducted between 2007 and 2014, Sonia Ilie and Pauline Rose found that enrollment was generally lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, with participation among the young below 2 percent in countries including Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda and Tanzania.

However, average attendance rates mask “vast differences” in participation between the poorest and richest in each country, write Ilie and Rose in the journal Higher Education. There are five countries where the number of poor young people going to university is “not statistically different from zero”: Burkina Faso, Liberia, Malawi, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Tanzania.

More than 5 percent of the poorest half of young people went to university in only four of the 35 countries -- Comoros, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan -- and, even in these nations, richer citizens were three to five times more likely to enroll.

Ilie and Rose found that the overall access trend for poorer young people over the past 40 years has been “one of stagnation.” Richer people have benefited the most, although this has often been relatively gradual: participation rates are estimated to have increased by fewer than five percentage points in 22 of the 35 countries.

Given that the gap in participation between rich and poor “has, if anything, widened over time,” Ilie and Rose wrote that the chances of meeting the goal of equal university access for all women and men by 2030, set out in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, seem “remote.”

The prospects for women are particularly concerning, add Ilie and Rose. They find that, in countries where access is restricted to a very small proportion of under-25s overall, the difference in participation between men and women is small.

However, in 24 of the 30 countries where at least some of the poorest are enrolled, poor young women were the least likely to enter university and, in 15, rich men were the most likely to. In Guinea, the paper says, less than 0.1 percent of poor young women enroll, compared with 1.1 percent of poor young men and 15 percent of rich young men.

Rose told Times Higher Education that “wide inequalities will remain” until standards of primary and secondary schooling are significantly improved.

“Despite recent expansion in higher education in African countries, the evidence shows that the poorest young people in African countries are very rarely getting access,” Rose said. “As higher education expands, there is also some evidence to suggest that gaps in access to higher education between young women and men widen in these countries.

“Public spending needs to focus on the parts of the education system where inequalities begin -- in primary and secondary schooling.”

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As Indiana U’s eTexts initiative grows, a textbook model emerges

Indiana University’s eText initiative is rapidly becoming the go-to way for students there to buy textbooks and other course materials.

The initiative, which began as a pilot in 2009, has a simple goal: ensure all students have access to textboo…

Indiana University’s eText initiative is rapidly becoming the go-to way for students there to buy textbooks and other course materials.

The initiative, which began as a pilot in 2009, has a simple goal: ensure all students have access to textbooks. To do so, IU has developed a model that it says balances benefits and compromises for all partners involved -- faculty members, publishers, students and the university.

“We don’t ask students to bring their own desk and chair to the classroom,” Bradley C. Wheeler, vice president for information technology, said in an interview. “Why do we ask them to waste their own time running around, playing games trying to find the book they need, when we can simplify the process electronically and have the university buy it wholesale?”

Essentially, the eTexts initiative treats textbook acquisition as software licensing. In course sections where faculty members opt in to the program, the university is able to negotiate discounted prices by promising publishers that virtually every student in the section will buy the textbook. The course materials are then delivered through an ereading platform controlled by IU, giving the university control over the data collected about how students interact with their textbooks. Students themselves are notified if a course section they wish to enroll in uses an eText, telling them up front how much they will be charged.

The program has over the last 12 months seen a surge in popularity. Last academic year, more than 40,000 students -- about one-third of the university’s total enrollment -- got at least one textbook through the program. This fall alone, more than 27,000 students did the same, suggesting another record-setting year ahead. Now the growth has experts wondering if IU has developed a model the higher education textbook industry has been searching for.

Wheeler said a combination of factors is behind the growth, including the maturation of the smartphone and tablet markets, as well as a growing sense that faculty members and students are more comfortable with digital course materials today than they were a few years ago.

The persistence of the used and rental book market also plays a major role, Wheeler said. While it serves as a convenient and affordable option for students, it represents a tantalizing missed revenue opportunity to publishers.

The life cycle of a traditional textbook goes something like this: student A pays up to several hundred dollars for a brand-new textbook. At the end of the semester, the student may decide to sell the book back to the bookstore, receiving slightly less than list price in return. The book then enters the used-book market, where a new student is able to purchase it for considerably less than the first student. That cycle of depreciation repeats until the publisher releases a new edition, after which the cycle restarts.

Publishers, of course, only make money on the first sale, and as a result they have made several attempts to cut into the used and rental book markets -- for example, pushing for more faculty members to use digital course materials, exploring direct-to-student marketing and sales, and charging students who buy used books to access homework questions.

None of those strategies have addressed the “fundamental problem” of making course materials affordable and accessible to a greater number of students, Wheeler said

“We’ve just had such a distortion in how people who consume pay the people who produce,” Wheeler said. “If every user pays a little bit, you do away with piracy, you do away with … whether a student can afford to buy a book or not. It brings a whole new level of rationality of acquiring course materials.”

Other universities have signed similar agreements with a single publisher, such as the California State University System’s 2012 deal with Cengage Learning. IU has expanded its program to about two dozen publishers, including the five largest -- Cengage, John Wiley & Sons, Macmillan Publishers, McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson -- but also smaller ones, such as its own university press. The publishers aren’t disclosing how much of a discount they give, but students pay substantially less than they would for a traditional print book.

Joseph J. Esposito, a management consultant in the publishing industry, said the initiative is a “major development” in the textbook market that, if copied by other large universities, could shift the balance of power in textbook sales away from resellers and back toward publishers. He described it as a “brilliant move” -- and not just for the university or its students.

“Meanwhile, behind closed doors, they’re uncorking the bottles of champagne in the publishers’ offices, because they’re making more money on this deal than they would have otherwise,” Esposito said.

Picture a class of 30 students. About a dozen of them -- if publishers are lucky -- will buy the newest version of the textbook assigned by their instructor. Among the remaining students, maybe 10 rent or buy the book used, a handful get their hands on pirated copies, and some can’t afford or simply don’t buy it.

With the eTexts initiative, publishers are guaranteed that virtually every student in a class buys the textbook -- an almost unheard-of 100 percent sell-through rate. None of those digital course materials end up in the used book market. And since the textbooks are delivered digitally, the publishers are able to cut down on manufacturing and shipping costs, as well as the markup college bookstores collect, Esposito said.

College bookstores aren’t expressing any concern about the eTexts initiative and similar programs, however. On the contrary, the National Association of College Stores in a statement said it “applauds efforts to make course materials and education more affordable for students.” NACS pointed to institutions such as the University of California, Davis, which works with outside vendors to offer students a choice of where they buy their course materials.

“The campus store is well positioned to play an important role in these programs,” the organization said in the statement. “The store has relationships with students, faculty, other campus services and content providers that are key when creating and implementing a digital course materials initiative.”

While faculty members at IU opt in to using eTexts in their courses, the growing popularity of the program means it is becoming increasingly opt out for students. Many IU students today have a choice between sections using eTexts and those that don’t, but if more faculty members continue to opt in, that may no longer be the case in the future. IU offers an electronic opt-out form for students who want to purchase their own course materials regardless of which sections they enroll in (although “practically no one” has used it, Wheeler said).

A 2015 case study that looked at student participation levels and motivation suggested students prefer eTexts to print textbooks -- as long as their instructors actively used the course materials in the class. In those classes, a slight majority of students said they read and learned more.

IU’s model also raises questions of ownership. Students who pays the fee to access the eText assigned in a course lose access once they are no longer enrolled at the university. That is a much longer window than what many rental programs offer, but still temporary.

But the “notion of physical ownership” is tied to print books, Wheeler said. Students “expect more” from digital course materials -- features like collaboration and searchable highlights and notes, he said.

For print lovers, IU’s agreements with publishers allow students to print as many pages as they want. And for an additional fee, students can order a print copy on top of digital access -- which is still less expensive than opting out and buying a new print copy at list price, Wheeler said.

“I think we’ve struck the right kind of balance with eTexts,” Wheeler said.

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Clemson coach faces criticism over comments about athlete protests

When asked by a reporter about how he would handle one of his players protesting racial inequality by not standing during the national anthem, Clemson University’s head football coach, Dabo Swinney, said he would not resort to discipline.

Then Swinney continued to speak for eight minutes, criticizing athletes who have not stood for the anthem in recent weeks and comparing their form of protest unfavorably to the work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Of those protesting police violence, he said, “Some of these people need to move to another country.”

The suggestion that those who are protesting during the anthem (silently and without disrupting) should consider leaving the U.S. angered many people. And many were stunned that the coach — arguably among the more powerful people at Clemson — would suggest that nonviolent protest over injustices to black people was inconsistent with the work of King, whose career was full of just such nonviolent protest.

Some commended Swinney’s comments, which also included a plea for the country to “love the Lord with all your heart” and to “love your neighbor as you’d love yourself,” as well as repeated references to Jesus. Others, including some Clemson students and faculty members, criticized the coach’s comments, however, for evoking a sanitized version of King’s protests — which historians would argue were far more controversial at the time than sitting or taking a knee during the national anthem is today — and for suggesting that black activists should leave the country.

“I winced when I heard a reporter ask you, a white man who makes somewhere in the area of $5 million a year from the physical labor and bodily risk of unpaid black athletes, if he would ‘discipline’ them for making a political statement,” Chenjerai Kumanyika, a communications professor at Clemson, wrote in an open letter to the coach. “Given that you and I both work on the former plantation of John C. Calhoun, the historical significance of the question is staggering and troubling.”

Other criticism has come from the New York Daily News, Slate and CBS Sports. Some Clemson fans and students took to Twitter, calling the comments “tone-deaf” and a “whitewash” of King’s activism. The university declined to comment on the matter.

Clemson has struggled in recent years to navigate the university’s racist roots. Students and faculty continue to protest that a prominent building on campus is named for Benjamin Tillman, one of the university’s founders and a vocal white supremacist. Tillman was once South Carolina’s governor and represented the state in the U.S. Senate for 23 years. He also helped orchestrate the assassination of a black state senator in 1876.

The university also faced criticism this year when it featured the slave plantation home of Calhoun, a former U.S. vice president with white supremacist views, on its commencement brochures.

Kumanyika, in his open letter, cited the buildings as evidence that there are many ongoing injustices against people of color that are worth protesting, and not by just releasing a statement.

“In the face of the injustices in his own time, Dr. King called for direct action, not press conferences,” Kumanyika wrote. “He and those that fought with him brought the struggle to buses, games, counters, workplaces and other places that were deeply inconvenient and often illegal. Dr. King points out that none of these direct-action efforts were ‘well timed’ in the eyes of his vocally supportive but privileged and paternalistic critics. Coach Swinney, based on your statements, I think that maybe you would not have liked Dr. King if you had known him.”

In his comments Tuesday, the head coach said athletes hoping to take a stand on an issue should do so during news conferences, not when they’re on the field, calling such actions “a distraction” to the rest of the team.

“I don’t think it’s good to use the team as a platform,” Swinney said. “I totally disagree with that. I just think there’s a right way to do things. I don’t think two wrongs make a right. Never have, never will. I think it just creates more divisiveness, more division.”

Though Swinney’s comments went further than most, Clemson’s coach isn’t the only college official to express such a sentiment in recent weeks. While careful to say students have the right to protest racial inequality in any legal way they see fit, some coaches and administrators have also expressed displeasure for this particular brand of activism.

William H. McRaven, chancellor of the University of Texas System and a retired navy admiral, sent a note to system presidents and athletics directors urging them to encourage athletes to show respect by standing during the national anthem. “Those who believe that the flag represents oppression should remember all the Americans who fought to eliminate bigotry, racism, sexism, imperialism, communism and terrorism,” McRaven wrote.

Last month, Jim Harbaugh, head football coach at the University of Michigan, was asked about NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand during the national anthem. Kaepernick is a former player of Harbaugh’s, from when he coached the San Francisco 49ers. “I acknowledge his right to do that,” the coach said. “But I don’t respect the motivation or the action.”

Harbaugh later walked back some of his statement, tweeting that he supported Kaepernick’s motivation, but still took “exception to” his form of protest.

Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for Study of Sport in Society, said it’s disappointing to see college coaches criticize player protests in this fashion. He was critical of Swinney’s comments, in particular, saying they seemed to indicate the coach cares more about winning games than helping his players grow as young men.

College athletics — and sports, more generally — provide a platform that is unavailable to many who wish to protest injustices, Lebowitz said. He said colleges and coaches have a responsibility to, if not outright help players use that platform, at least not disparage those that do.

“I think any coach that tells players to keep protest off the field is, in many respects, deflecting their responsibility as coaches and teachers and as Americans,” Lebowitz said. “It’s important to empower athletes to speak out against injustice, and to do so with courage and conviction.”

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Dabo Swinney of Clemson
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When asked by a reporter about how he would handle one of his players protesting racial inequality by not standing during the national anthem, Clemson University's head football coach, Dabo Swinney, said he would not resort to discipline.

Then Swinney continued to speak for eight minutes, criticizing athletes who have not stood for the anthem in recent weeks and comparing their form of protest unfavorably to the work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Of those protesting police violence, he said, “Some of these people need to move to another country.”

The suggestion that those who are protesting during the anthem (silently and without disrupting) should consider leaving the U.S. angered many people. And many were stunned that the coach -- arguably among the more powerful people at Clemson -- would suggest that nonviolent protest over injustices to black people was inconsistent with the work of King, whose career was full of just such nonviolent protest.

Some commended Swinney’s comments, which also included a plea for the country to “love the Lord with all your heart” and to “love your neighbor as you’d love yourself,” as well as repeated references to Jesus. Others, including some Clemson students and faculty members, criticized the coach’s comments, however, for evoking a sanitized version of King’s protests -- which historians would argue were far more controversial at the time than sitting or taking a knee during the national anthem is today -- and for suggesting that black activists should leave the country.

“I winced when I heard a reporter ask you, a white man who makes somewhere in the area of $5 million a year from the physical labor and bodily risk of unpaid black athletes, if he would ‘discipline’ them for making a political statement,” Chenjerai Kumanyika, a communications professor at Clemson, wrote in an open letter to the coach. “Given that you and I both work on the former plantation of John C. Calhoun, the historical significance of the question is staggering and troubling.”

Other criticism has come from the New York Daily News, Slate and CBS Sports. Some Clemson fans and students took to Twitter, calling the comments "tone-deaf" and a "whitewash" of King's activism. The university declined to comment on the matter.

Clemson has struggled in recent years to navigate the university’s racist roots. Students and faculty continue to protest that a prominent building on campus is named for Benjamin Tillman, one of the university’s founders and a vocal white supremacist. Tillman was once South Carolina’s governor and represented the state in the U.S. Senate for 23 years. He also helped orchestrate the assassination of a black state senator in 1876.

The university also faced criticism this year when it featured the slave plantation home of Calhoun, a former U.S. vice president with white supremacist views, on its commencement brochures.

Kumanyika, in his open letter, cited the buildings as evidence that there are many ongoing injustices against people of color that are worth protesting, and not by just releasing a statement.

“In the face of the injustices in his own time, Dr. King called for direct action, not press conferences,” Kumanyika wrote. “He and those that fought with him brought the struggle to buses, games, counters, workplaces and other places that were deeply inconvenient and often illegal. Dr. King points out that none of these direct-action efforts were ‘well timed’ in the eyes of his vocally supportive but privileged and paternalistic critics. Coach Swinney, based on your statements, I think that maybe you would not have liked Dr. King if you had known him.”

In his comments Tuesday, the head coach said athletes hoping to take a stand on an issue should do so during news conferences, not when they’re on the field, calling such actions “a distraction” to the rest of the team.

“I don’t think it’s good to use the team as a platform,” Swinney said. "I totally disagree with that. I just think there’s a right way to do things. I don’t think two wrongs make a right. Never have, never will. I think it just creates more divisiveness, more division.”

Though Swinney’s comments went further than most, Clemson’s coach isn’t the only college official to express such a sentiment in recent weeks. While careful to say students have the right to protest racial inequality in any legal way they see fit, some coaches and administrators have also expressed displeasure for this particular brand of activism.

William H. McRaven, chancellor of the University of Texas System and a retired navy admiral, sent a note to system presidents and athletics directors urging them to encourage athletes to show respect by standing during the national anthem. "Those who believe that the flag represents oppression should remember all the Americans who fought to eliminate bigotry, racism, sexism, imperialism, communism and terrorism," McRaven wrote.

Last month, Jim Harbaugh, head football coach at the University of Michigan, was asked about NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand during the national anthem. Kaepernick is a former player of Harbaugh’s, from when he coached the San Francisco 49ers. “I acknowledge his right to do that,” the coach said. “But I don’t respect the motivation or the action.”

Harbaugh later walked back some of his statement, tweeting that he supported Kaepernick’s motivation, but still took “exception to” his form of protest.

Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for Study of Sport in Society, said it’s disappointing to see college coaches criticize player protests in this fashion. He was critical of Swinney’s comments, in particular, saying they seemed to indicate the coach cares more about winning games than helping his players grow as young men.

College athletics -- and sports, more generally -- provide a platform that is unavailable to many who wish to protest injustices, Lebowitz said. He said colleges and coaches have a responsibility to, if not outright help players use that platform, at least not disparage those that do.

“I think any coach that tells players to keep protest off the field is, in many respects, deflecting their responsibility as coaches and teachers and as Americans,” Lebowitz said. “It’s important to empower athletes to speak out against injustice, and to do so with courage and conviction.”

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Graduate student enrollments increased by 4 percent, with the biggest relative gains seen among underrepresented minority groups

First-time graduate student enrollments were up 3.9 percent last fall from a year earlier, according to a new report from the Council of Graduate Schools. Each of the last four annual surveys has found that enrollment has increased, but 2015&rsquo…

First-time graduate student enrollments were up 3.9 percent last fall from a year earlier, according to a new report from the Council of Graduate Schools. Each of the last four annual surveys has found that enrollment has increased, but 2015’s bump was one of the biggest since 2009. Contributing to that growth was an increase in the share of underrepresented minority student enrollees, which could be a response to national conversations and institutional initiatives on faculty diversity. At the very least, it’s a possible start to broadening the eventual faculty applicant pool.

“This year’s data are very encouraging in terms of underrepresented minorities seeing very robust growth in their first-time graduate enrollment -- nonwhite Hispanics are up by 7.6 percent [year over year] and African-Americans are up 6.6 percent,” compared to a 2.8 percent increase among whites, said Hironao Okahana, assistant vice president for research and policy analysis at the council and one of the report’s authors.

“There’s still a way to go in terms of their actual numbers,” Okahana said, noting that minority representation within the student body is still relatively low compared to the general population. “But we do think part of this growth comes from how many graduate institutions are working very hard to recruit and retain and help minority students succeed.”

First-Time Graduate Enrollment by Citizenship and Race/Ethnicity, 2005-15

The council doesn’t disaggregate its data on race and ethnicity to show whether enrollments are in master’s or doctoral programs, so it’s too early to tell how many underrepresented minority students will seek their Ph.D.s -- let alone to become faculty members. The vast majority of the enrollments over all last year -- some 83.6 percent -- were in programs leading to master’s degrees or graduate certificates.

Still, at least 22.5 percent of American and permanent U.S. resident first-time graduate students were underrepresented minorities in fall 2015, including American Indian/Alaska Native (0.5 percent), African-American (11.8 percent), native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander (0.2 percent) and Latino (10 percent). Underrepresented-minority women saw particularly big gains in enrollment.

In another trend, new arts and humanities doctoral enrollments were up slightly (0.1 percent) last year from 2014, but not enough to put a dent in a five-year-average enrollment decline of 0.8 percent. New doctoral enrollments in the social and behavioral sciences have declined year over year and over five years by more than 1 percent, as well.

Okahana said the longer-term downward trend could be a response to a shaky academic job market in the humanities. “It’s one thing that could be weighing on a potential applicant’s mind.” At the same time, he said, council member institutions and other groups are working with graduate students to broaden their skill sets and help them “think outside the box” about potential nonfaculty careers. One example of many such programs, which Okahana highlighted, is the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Next Generation Ph.D. Implementation Grants to transform scholarly preparation in the humanities at the doctoral level.

First-Time Doctoral Enrollment by Field and Gender, 2014-15 and 2010-15

Rosemary Feal, executive director of the Modern Language Association, said there’s been a “longstanding and vigorous discussion about the right size of doctoral programs, with much of the argument focused on the equally longstanding decline in the number of tenure-track positions as compared to the number of Ph.D.s who seek those positions.” So enrollment data can reflect “responsible decisions” that graduate programs make to reduce the size of entering classes, as well as decisions students make about whether to apply, Feal said.

Anecdotally, Feal said she’s heard departments describe the “advantages that can follow from limiting the size of entering cohorts,” especially when resources can be spread among fewer students, such as to increase support packages or offer more intangible forms of support.

Over all, applications to doctoral programs decreased by 4.3 percent last year compared to 2014. They increased by 3.8 percent for master’s and other programs. At the master’s level, math and computer science saw the biggest one-year increase in applications, of 11.2 percent.

Engineering, business and health sciences admissions offices were the busiest, seeing 39.3 percent of all applications for 2015. The largest share of doctoral-level applications was in the social and behavioral sciences, at 18.7 percent of all applications reported. These sciences also were highly competitive for admissions, with an acceptance rate of 14.7 percent (only business was lower, at 13.4 percent).

Education doctoral programs saw the largest one-year increase in applications of all broad fields. At the master’s level, math and computer science saw a whopping 11.2 percent jump.

Women made up the majority of first-time students, at 58.2 percent of master’s and certificate-level students and 51.3 percent at the Ph.D. level. According to the survey, women earned 66.4 percent of graduate certificates in 2014-15, 58.4 percent of the master’s degrees and 51.8 percent of doctorates. Among first-time enrollees last year, men were more likely to be enrolled full time than women.

Much graduate school application growth has been led in recent years by international students. First-time international student enrollment continued to climb this year over last, by 5.7 percent, but it was considerably lower than recent increases. Okahana said it’s too early to tell whether it’s a single-year blip or the beginning of a downward trend, and noted that earlier growth was probably unsustainable -- at least in terms of the annual survey.

International students still made up 22 percent of first-time enrollees in graduate school. At research universities with high research activity, about three in 10 were temporary residents. The share of international students among all enrollees was particularly high in math and computer science, at 63.2 percent, and engineering, at 58.5 percent.

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Report finds Georgia’s HOPE programs miss many students

Then Governor Zell Miller deployed soaring rhetoric in 1992 when he called for a new state lottery-funded scholarship program in Georgia.

“With the lottery proceeds, Georgia can provide scholarships by the thousands to deserving students who want to go to college or a vocational school,” Miller said that year in his State of the State address. “This is Georgia’s opportunity to pioneer the most far-reaching scholarship program in the nation — and not only for those who are minorities or who come from lower-income families, but also those middle-income families who are devastated with the cost of education and training beyond high school.”

Georgia would go on to establish the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally, or HOPE, financial assistance program. The state made the first HOPE awards in the 1993-94 academic year. Since then, HOPE, which includes several different scholarships and grants, has come to be viewed as a trendsetting program providing non-need-based aid, also called merit aid, to top-achieving Georgia students who stay in the state for higher education. From HOPE’s inception, the state’s top colleges — such as Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia — have credited it with attracting top students who in the past might well have gone out of state.

HOPE assistance has gone to more than 1.75 million students and totaled more than $7 billion, according to the Georgia Student Finance Commission. The program has been credited with sparking non-need-based-aid programs in many other states.

But a new report out last week argues that HOPE is missing many students with its focus on high achievers. Students from low-income families and minority students are less likely to receive HOPE assistance, the report said. It goes on to argue that recent cuts to the program have hurt its ability to help some students pay for college.

The report, which analyzed 2013 data, concludes by arguing Georgia needs to start a new need-based-aid program and expand other aspects of the HOPE program. It comes at an important time in Georgia, where lawmakers have debated expanding gambling, which could fund scholarships, and in recent years have significantly changed the HOPE program as costs outpaced lottery revenues.

But the report, released Sept. 8 by the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute, also reflects a policy discussion likely to sweep many states in the coming years, experts said. States will have to grapple with the question of how they continue to pay for non-need-based-aid programs for top students while finding ways to expand access for students who haven’t traditionally earned degrees or diplomas.

A main finding of the report is that fewer than half of Georgia’s in-state students benefit from its flagship merit-based-aid programs, the HOPE Scholarship and the Zell Miller Scholarship. The HOPE Scholarship is available to Georgia residents graduating from high school with a 3.0 grade point average and attending in-state institutions. Scholarship amounts fluctuate with tuition and lottery revenue levels but averaged 84 percent of tuition at university system institutions in 2015-16. The Zell Miller Scholarship, created in 2011, is essentially a higher tier of the HOPE scholarship. It has more stringent eligibility requirements — a 3.7 high school grade point average and high standardized test scores — but it covers full tuition in Georgia. Although both the HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships have a number of additional requirements including academic progress, they do not list income limits or requirements.

The HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships only reach about 36 percent of students in Georgia’s university system, the report found — just under 31 percent of students received HOPE Scholarships and 5.5 percent received Zell Miller Scholarships. That left 64 percent of the state’s 239,434 in-state university system undergraduates receiving no non-need-based aid from the state as of the fall of 2013.

The report also found the scholarships skew away from low-income students. About 30 percent of low-income students in the university system received the HOPE or Zell Miller scholarships. Almost 42 percent of middle-income and high-income students received the scholarships.

The point is also demonstrated another way, by comparing an income breakdown of students receiving scholarships to that of the entire student population (as demonstrated in the graphic at the top of this story). Low-income students were 47.6 percent of in-state university system undergraduates in the fall of 2013. But they were just 42.5 percent of HOPE scholarship recipients and 21.3 percent of Zell Miller Scholarship recipients.

Further, students from historically marginalized groups are less likely to receive the non-need-based scholarships, the report found. Just 20 percent of black students and less than 36 percent of Hispanic students within the university system received either the HOPE or Zell Miller scholarships. That compares to 46 percent of Asian-American students and nearly 45 percent of white students.

The findings come as low-income students have increased in number in Georgia’s university system. The report said that in the fall of 2006, about 27 percent of undergraduate students in the system received Pell Grants, which are typically considered a proxy for poverty. By 2014, the portion of Pell Grant recipients rose to 44.5 percent.

Rising numbers of low-income students are connected to increases in enrollment of minority students, who experience higher poverty rates, the report said.

“The students who have the least in financial resources are least likely to actually participate in the programs,” said Claire Suggs, senior education policy analyst at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, and the report’s author. “That certainly has implications about, even, whether or not students would pursue a postsecondary degree.”

The university system dropped 6,500 students in the fall of 2014 for not paying tuition and fees, the report said.

The report finds that another HOPE program, the HOPE Grant, more effectively reaches low-income and minority students. The HOPE Grant is for Georgia residents enrolling in certificate or diploma programs, often in technical colleges. It covers roughly three-quarters of tuition in the technical college system, the report said.

HOPE Grants reached about 74 percent of 69,422 eligible technical college students in certificate or diploma programs, the report found. They reached 85 percent of low-income students, 75 percent of white students, 73 percent of black students, 70 percent of Hispanic students and 54 percent of Asian students.

But the report pointed to issues surrounding the HOPE Grant as well. It no longer meets students’ full financial need after changes put in place in 2011, and funding for mandatory fees and book allowances was eliminated that year as well, Suggs said. Some of those changes were also put in place for the HOPE Scholarship.

But the changes are particularly pertinent for the HOPE Grant, given the current high profile of tuition-free community college programs like the Tennessee Promise.

“For almost 20 years in Georgia, you couldn’t get a degree, but you could go through and get a certificate or a diploma, essentially for free with tuition or mandatory fees being covered,” Suggs said. “That’s no longer the case.”

The report concludes that the HOPE Grant should be restored to cover full tuition plus fees for technical college. It also makes a recommendation for the HOPE Scholarship — eliminate a rule preventing most students who have been out of high school for more than seven years from receiving the scholarship. That rule does not serve adult students who are increasingly enrolling in postsecondary programs, it said.

Perhaps the report’s biggest recommendation, however, is that Georgia create a new stand-alone need-based-aid program. The program wouldn’t replace the HOPE Scholarship’s non-need-based aid, Suggs said.

“That’s one thing that Georgia does not have, a need-based program for students seeking degrees,” she said. “Whether it’s the associate or bachelor’s degree, if you don’t get the HOPE, if you don’t qualify, there really isn’t any other source of state aid you can turn to.”

Such a program could come with a large price tag. Students’ unmet need totaled $660 million across the university system in 2013-14, the report said. The system raised a comparatively small $28.8 million for need-based aid.

While the report does not wade into many specifics on a potential need-based-aid program or how to pay for it, Suggs said legislators could consider several options. The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute has in the past pointed to possibilities from closing tax loopholes, increasing cigarette taxes and more comprehensive tax reform packages. There is also the potential for revenue from casino gaming.

Ultimately, the need is clear, Suggs said. It could be politically palatable, because Georgia needs educated workers, she said.

“I think this is starting to bubble up, and I think there is growing awareness that there are many students who are struggling to cover their cost of college,” Suggs said. “And there is definitely awareness of workforce needs.”

Questions of budgets and aid programs have already come in up in other states. Take Louisiana, which earlier this year decided to stop funding for its merit-based scholarship program amid a budget deficit. Such issues and others raised in the Georgia report will likely come up in other states in the future, experts said.

“These are issues in many states, because quite a few states have copied Georgia’s model for merit aid,” said Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University whose specialties include student aid. “Georgia is one of the states that have scaled back the generosity of merit aid in recent years. To come up with additional money for need-based aid would be difficult, but getting rid of the politically popular merit-based program would be exceedingly difficult.”

Kelchen said the report’s mention of adult students was important because that group is left out of many policies and proposals, including Tennessee’s tuition-free community college program. He was not surprised, however, that the non-need-based aid tended to go toward higher-income students in Georgia.

“The goal of the merit program is to keep top students in the state,” Kelchen said. “These programs have been pretty effective at doing that. They’re not great at increasing overall higher ed attainment.”

The report’s findings point to higher education having to educate more students more efficiently than it has in the past, said George Pernsteiner, president of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. The growing question is whether Georgia’s non-need-based-aid programs and others it inspired fit the needs of states and students today. That includes students from backgrounds who may not have enrolled in high numbers in the past.

“It may be time in many of the states to take a look at what we are now trying to achieve with our higher education systems,” Pernsteiner said. “States now have to be concerned about — and almost all states are concerned about — the educational attainment level of their entire adult population.”

In some ways, this is the next step in an evolving conversation, Pernsteiner said. Early in the 1990s, states like Georgia focused on getting students to go to college and stay in state. Then the conversation was about who should pay. Today, the conversation has shifted to what should be paid for by states.

“What we learned in Georgia and what we learned in Louisiana is the demands on merit systems like the Georgia HOPE program far outstrips the availability of the revenue sources we’ve created to meet that demand,” Pernsteiner said. “At the same time, you’ve got folks saying we’ve got to expand who aid is used for.”

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Then Governor Zell Miller deployed soaring rhetoric in 1992 when he called for a new state lottery-funded scholarship program in Georgia.

“With the lottery proceeds, Georgia can provide scholarships by the thousands to deserving students who want to go to college or a vocational school,” Miller said that year in his State of the State address. “This is Georgia’s opportunity to pioneer the most far-reaching scholarship program in the nation -- and not only for those who are minorities or who come from lower-income families, but also those middle-income families who are devastated with the cost of education and training beyond high school.”

Georgia would go on to establish the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally, or HOPE, financial assistance program. The state made the first HOPE awards in the 1993-94 academic year. Since then, HOPE, which includes several different scholarships and grants, has come to be viewed as a trendsetting program providing non-need-based aid, also called merit aid, to top-achieving Georgia students who stay in the state for higher education. From HOPE's inception, the state's top colleges -- such as Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia -- have credited it with attracting top students who in the past might well have gone out of state.

HOPE assistance has gone to more than 1.75 million students and totaled more than $7 billion, according to the Georgia Student Finance Commission. The program has been credited with sparking non-need-based-aid programs in many other states.

But a new report out last week argues that HOPE is missing many students with its focus on high achievers. Students from low-income families and minority students are less likely to receive HOPE assistance, the report said. It goes on to argue that recent cuts to the program have hurt its ability to help some students pay for college.

The report, which analyzed 2013 data, concludes by arguing Georgia needs to start a new need-based-aid program and expand other aspects of the HOPE program. It comes at an important time in Georgia, where lawmakers have debated expanding gambling, which could fund scholarships, and in recent years have significantly changed the HOPE program as costs outpaced lottery revenues.

But the report, released Sept. 8 by the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute, also reflects a policy discussion likely to sweep many states in the coming years, experts said. States will have to grapple with the question of how they continue to pay for non-need-based-aid programs for top students while finding ways to expand access for students who haven’t traditionally earned degrees or diplomas.

A main finding of the report is that fewer than half of Georgia’s in-state students benefit from its flagship merit-based-aid programs, the HOPE Scholarship and the Zell Miller Scholarship. The HOPE Scholarship is available to Georgia residents graduating from high school with a 3.0 grade point average and attending in-state institutions. Scholarship amounts fluctuate with tuition and lottery revenue levels but averaged 84 percent of tuition at university system institutions in 2015-16. The Zell Miller Scholarship, created in 2011, is essentially a higher tier of the HOPE scholarship. It has more stringent eligibility requirements -- a 3.7 high school grade point average and high standardized test scores -- but it covers full tuition in Georgia. Although both the HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships have a number of additional requirements including academic progress, they do not list income limits or requirements.

The HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships only reach about 36 percent of students in Georgia’s university system, the report found -- just under 31 percent of students received HOPE Scholarships and 5.5 percent received Zell Miller Scholarships. That left 64 percent of the state’s 239,434 in-state university system undergraduates receiving no non-need-based aid from the state as of the fall of 2013.

The report also found the scholarships skew away from low-income students. About 30 percent of low-income students in the university system received the HOPE or Zell Miller scholarships. Almost 42 percent of middle-income and high-income students received the scholarships.

The point is also demonstrated another way, by comparing an income breakdown of students receiving scholarships to that of the entire student population (as demonstrated in the graphic at the top of this story). Low-income students were 47.6 percent of in-state university system undergraduates in the fall of 2013. But they were just 42.5 percent of HOPE scholarship recipients and 21.3 percent of Zell Miller Scholarship recipients.

Further, students from historically marginalized groups are less likely to receive the non-need-based scholarships, the report found. Just 20 percent of black students and less than 36 percent of Hispanic students within the university system received either the HOPE or Zell Miller scholarships. That compares to 46 percent of Asian-American students and nearly 45 percent of white students.

The findings come as low-income students have increased in number in Georgia’s university system. The report said that in the fall of 2006, about 27 percent of undergraduate students in the system received Pell Grants, which are typically considered a proxy for poverty. By 2014, the portion of Pell Grant recipients rose to 44.5 percent.

Rising numbers of low-income students are connected to increases in enrollment of minority students, who experience higher poverty rates, the report said.

“The students who have the least in financial resources are least likely to actually participate in the programs,” said Claire Suggs, senior education policy analyst at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, and the report’s author. “That certainly has implications about, even, whether or not students would pursue a postsecondary degree.”

The university system dropped 6,500 students in the fall of 2014 for not paying tuition and fees, the report said.

The report finds that another HOPE program, the HOPE Grant, more effectively reaches low-income and minority students. The HOPE Grant is for Georgia residents enrolling in certificate or diploma programs, often in technical colleges. It covers roughly three-quarters of tuition in the technical college system, the report said.

HOPE Grants reached about 74 percent of 69,422 eligible technical college students in certificate or diploma programs, the report found. They reached 85 percent of low-income students, 75 percent of white students, 73 percent of black students, 70 percent of Hispanic students and 54 percent of Asian students.

But the report pointed to issues surrounding the HOPE Grant as well. It no longer meets students’ full financial need after changes put in place in 2011, and funding for mandatory fees and book allowances was eliminated that year as well, Suggs said. Some of those changes were also put in place for the HOPE Scholarship.

But the changes are particularly pertinent for the HOPE Grant, given the current high profile of tuition-free community college programs like the Tennessee Promise.

“For almost 20 years in Georgia, you couldn’t get a degree, but you could go through and get a certificate or a diploma, essentially for free with tuition or mandatory fees being covered,” Suggs said. “That’s no longer the case.”

The report concludes that the HOPE Grant should be restored to cover full tuition plus fees for technical college. It also makes a recommendation for the HOPE Scholarship -- eliminate a rule preventing most students who have been out of high school for more than seven years from receiving the scholarship. That rule does not serve adult students who are increasingly enrolling in postsecondary programs, it said.

Perhaps the report’s biggest recommendation, however, is that Georgia create a new stand-alone need-based-aid program. The program wouldn’t replace the HOPE Scholarship’s non-need-based aid, Suggs said.

“That’s one thing that Georgia does not have, a need-based program for students seeking degrees,” she said. “Whether it’s the associate or bachelor’s degree, if you don’t get the HOPE, if you don’t qualify, there really isn’t any other source of state aid you can turn to.”

Such a program could come with a large price tag. Students’ unmet need totaled $660 million across the university system in 2013-14, the report said. The system raised a comparatively small $28.8 million for need-based aid.

While the report does not wade into many specifics on a potential need-based-aid program or how to pay for it, Suggs said legislators could consider several options. The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute has in the past pointed to possibilities from closing tax loopholes, increasing cigarette taxes and more comprehensive tax reform packages. There is also the potential for revenue from casino gaming.

Ultimately, the need is clear, Suggs said. It could be politically palatable, because Georgia needs educated workers, she said.

“I think this is starting to bubble up, and I think there is growing awareness that there are many students who are struggling to cover their cost of college,” Suggs said. “And there is definitely awareness of workforce needs.”

Questions of budgets and aid programs have already come in up in other states. Take Louisiana, which earlier this year decided to stop funding for its merit-based scholarship program amid a budget deficit. Such issues and others raised in the Georgia report will likely come up in other states in the future, experts said.

“These are issues in many states, because quite a few states have copied Georgia’s model for merit aid,” said Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University whose specialties include student aid. “Georgia is one of the states that have scaled back the generosity of merit aid in recent years. To come up with additional money for need-based aid would be difficult, but getting rid of the politically popular merit-based program would be exceedingly difficult.”

Kelchen said the report’s mention of adult students was important because that group is left out of many policies and proposals, including Tennessee’s tuition-free community college program. He was not surprised, however, that the non-need-based aid tended to go toward higher-income students in Georgia.

“The goal of the merit program is to keep top students in the state,” Kelchen said. “These programs have been pretty effective at doing that. They’re not great at increasing overall higher ed attainment.”

The report’s findings point to higher education having to educate more students more efficiently than it has in the past, said George Pernsteiner, president of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. The growing question is whether Georgia’s non-need-based-aid programs and others it inspired fit the needs of states and students today. That includes students from backgrounds who may not have enrolled in high numbers in the past.

“It may be time in many of the states to take a look at what we are now trying to achieve with our higher education systems,” Pernsteiner said. “States now have to be concerned about -- and almost all states are concerned about -- the educational attainment level of their entire adult population.”

In some ways, this is the next step in an evolving conversation, Pernsteiner said. Early in the 1990s, states like Georgia focused on getting students to go to college and stay in state. Then the conversation was about who should pay. Today, the conversation has shifted to what should be paid for by states.

“What we learned in Georgia and what we learned in Louisiana is the demands on merit systems like the Georgia HOPE program far outstrips the availability of the revenue sources we’ve created to meet that demand,” Pernsteiner said. “At the same time, you’ve got folks saying we’ve got to expand who aid is used for.”

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GOP muted in response to for-profit crackdown

When ITT Tech announced last week that it was closing its doors, blaming aggressive regulations by the federal government, it was more evidence to many in the for-profit college sector that the Obama administration aims to regulate their sector out of …

When ITT Tech announced last week that it was closing its doors, blaming aggressive regulations by the federal government, it was more evidence to many in the for-profit college sector that the Obama administration aims to regulate their sector out of existence.

Even if that claim is debatable, many observers with views across the ideological spectrum see the administration taking a harder line on for-profit colleges. But the GOP -- which attacked the Obama as antibusiness for executive actions on issues like EPA regulations and has in the past been a public champion of the for-profit sector -- has been fairly muted in its response.

Republican consultants and education policy experts say there are a number of reasons for that dynamic, chief among them the lack of upside in taking a public stand for a sector -- or specific institutions -- surrounded by such negative perceptions. And some speculate that the lawsuits against Trump University -- while about an institution that has little in common with most of for-profit higher education and that wasn’t really a university -- make this a bad time to be associated with the sector.

The very public collapses of Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech come in the midst of new rule making and other actions aimed at wide swaths of the for-profit sector. The Department of Education in the final months of the Obama administration has pushed through defense to repayment and gainful employment regulations that have been decried by the industry.

The accrediting arm of the department recommended the closure of ACICS, the accrediting body responsible for scores of for-profit institutions. And last month the department denied a for-profit chain’s application to convert to nonprofit status, billing the decision as a signal to other institutions looking to dodge oversight by changing tax status.

Taken together, many in the industry see a target effort by the department. And progressives are cheering the moves and the appointments of student and consumer advocates Rohit Chopra and Bob Shireman as advisers to the Hillary Clinton campaign. It’s a significant reversal from just two years ago, when the administration was seen to be beating a retreat from a crackdown on for-profit colleges.

In the interim, the department has pushed through new regulations and provided the final blow for several for-profit operators. ITT’s closure is fueling debate even outside the for-profit sector about whether the feds are aiming to shut down the industry.

But the event and others preceding it this year have barely generated a press release in response from Republicans in Congress.

“The Tea Partiers don’t really care and the moderate Republicans feel embarrassed,” said Trace Urdan, a for-profit-sector analyst for Credit Suisse. “They feel like they lost this one and can’t get the public behind them on this.”

Whereas Corinthian’s failure and the subsequent discharge of millions in student debt was seen as an embarrassment for the department as well as evidence of flaws in the sector, the unraveling of ITT Tech is being cheered by many for-profit opponents. And Republicans in Congress appear resigned to losing this fight, Urdan and other observers said.

The lesson from Corinthian and ITT’s failures was that these were bad actors doing bad things, he said. Whereas even a few years ago members of both parties would defend the for-profit industry as a whole, no such counterargument is being offered by traditional allies of for-profits in Congress.

Debating the administration’s higher ed policies is impaired when the Republicans’ own presidential candidate has been uninterested in the issue and has yet to offer any real proposals of his own, said Rick Hess, a resident scholar and director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. “It’s a lot easier if you can say, ‘These are our solutions’ …. When you can’t do that it’s tough,” he said.

He said that the for-profit industry has also done a poor job telling its own story to Congress and the American public.

“Republicans don’t want to be out there feeling like they’re spokespeople for a community that’s not making its own case,” Hess said.

That’s hurt the for-profits’ cause not just with mainstream Republicans but also the Tea Party ideologues that have become prominent within the GOP ranks. The final blow to ITT was the department’s announcement that it would lose access to Title IV funds for new enrolling students -- money from federal programs like Pell Grants and Federal Direct Student Loans. Although they are private businesses, most for-profits rely on that federal student aid for revenues. Tea Party Republicans are unlikely to concern themselves with whether a company continues to receive federal dollars to survive, Hess said.

“They’re as frustrated with what they see as handouts and coddling of big business as with anything else, and these guys have no desire to stand up on behalf of large enterprises that seem to be making a lot of money off of federal taxpayers,” he said.

Also looming in the for-profit debate this year, the ongoing legal issues plaguing Donald Trump’s defunct Trump University. Urdan said comparing the real estate seminars to other for-profits is talking “apples and oranges,” but if the lawsuit starts to generate more headlines, it will make things that much more difficult for the sector.

“It certainly doesn’t help anything,” he said.

Critics of for-profit higher education -- without necessarily saying Trump University is the same as an ITT or a Corinthian -- have repeatedly referenced Trump University in their attacks on the Republican candidate.

And some of those critics don’t even need to mention Trump University for people to make a link.

Some opponents of Hillary Clinton -- who has been outspoken in criticizing the for-profit sector in this election year -- note Bill Clinton’s ties to Laureate, another for-profit. But as a USA Today editorial noted, Trump University may be insulating the Clintons in that regard: “In any other election, the Clintons’ ties to Laureate Education would get more attention. In this contest, though, the Democratic presidential nominee is fortunate that her Republican opponent happens to be the founder of Trump University, an operation that makes Laureate look like Harvard.”

The Congressional Response

Jeff Andrade, a Republican consultant who has worked in the Department of Education and on Capitol Hill, said congressional oversight of the Department of Education has been lacking even as Secretary John King takes an increasingly aggressive public tack on for-profits and other higher ed actors like student loan servicers.

“When I worked both as a career person and as a political appointee, we would frequently have to go … and essentially explain a particular policy initiative or direction we were taking,” Andrade said. “That’s par for the course, and I don’t see that going on. I don’t see a lot of hearings being done on any of these.”

Republicans have issued statements criticizing the administration’s recent enforcement actions and filed bills to curtail regulations. But much of the heavy lifting on the committee level has involved raising questions about issues affecting higher ed across the board.

Sheridan Watson, a spokeswoman for Republican Representative Virginia Foxx, said the North Carolina congresswoman has been “very vocal about her belief that the Department of Education has intentionally targeted and sought to dismantle the for-profit college industry with unnecessary regulations that threaten student choice, innovative schools and an American economy that stands to benefit from responsive higher learning institutions.”

Foxx is in line to replace the outgoing Representative John Kline as chair of the House Education and the Workforce committee if Republicans retain control of the lower chamber. Last year she introduced legislation that would eliminate gainful employment and other administrative rules affecting higher ed institutions.

A spokeswoman for Senator Lamar Alexander, the chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, said the Tennessee Republican believes reforms should be made for all higher ed institutions, not just in the for-profit sector.

“This has been exactly the focus of the Senate education committee, which has been working on a bipartisan basis for more than a year to reauthorize the Higher Education Act in a way that helps students at all of our 6,000 colleges and universities,” the aide said.

The HELP committee held a series of hearings on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act last year focusing on issues like accreditation and college affordability. But Steve Gunderson, the president and CEO of Career Education Colleges and Universities, the largest for-profit advocacy group, said the sector had been left to its own defenses by its traditional allies in Congress.

“My real disappointment is that the Republicans, who are our friends, have refused to draw the line anywhere,” he said. “There has been no attempt to push back on what we view as significant overreach.”

He said the for-profits are all collectively blamed for Corinthian and ITT’s woes and that critics such as Illinois Senator Dick Durbin blame the costs to taxpayers of shutting down the schools on for-profits, too.

“People are not willing to stand up to that,” Gunderson said.

The omnibus budget bill negotiations are often the only way for members of Congress to negotiate on issues relating to for-profits, he said. And the Republican members in a position to do that negotiating typically are not experts on for-profit issues. Democrats, however, often are, he said.

Andrade, though, placed some of the blame at the feet of Gunderson and CECU for not focusing on its members’ bread and butter -- providing students with marketable skills and placing them with employers -- and wasting energy constantly rebranding. The association has admittedly been diminished as a lobbying force in D.C. by the financial struggles of its members, if not by poor strategic decisions.

While the for-profit industry sees an existential threat from the Obama administration, some critics of the sector see much more work to be done by the next White House. Barmak Nassirian, a frequent for-profit critic and director of federal relations and policy analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, said the narrative of the Department of Education serving as executioner for the sector is convenient for both the industry’s spokespeople and the Obama administration.

“When you have virtually the entire ideological spectrum adopt that kind of convenient narrative, you run the risk of not fully grasping what actually happened,” he said.

Nassirian said ITT Tech had an unsustainable student-to-teacher ratio and that market forces had as much to do with the chain’s failure as aggressive oversight by the department. Under the next administration, he said regulations like gainful employment rules introduced by King must be further strengthened.

There’s no question for-profits are in a diminished position politically. Multiple observers working on Capitol Hill and elsewhere attribute a good deal of that shift to the Obama administration’s decision to focus more oversight on the industry. It’s also become a consensus priority for government action in the Democratic caucus as voices like Durbin and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren have become more influential. Progressive activists who helped put higher education policies at the forefront of the party’s priorities in recent years have also driven the focus on for-profits.

“The dynamic and the debate on for-profits are in a different place now than they were a few years ago,” said Ben Miller, a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress. “You’ve got way more people weighing in on it, generating evidence and raising concerns. I think that has made it harder to push back on criticisms and defend the sector.”

At the same time, Miller said, Republicans have a conflict between separate commitments to advocate for the private sector and keep government spending low.

“You sometimes get weird results from those two things meshing in the education space,” he said. “It’s hard to figure out how to chart that path from a conservative standpoint.”

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Union announces end of faculty lockout at Long Island U

The faculty union at Long Island University Wednesday night announced an agreement to end a 12-day lockout of professors at the university’s Brooklyn campus.

A statement from the Long Island Faculty Federation, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, said the lockout is over and a mediator will be used to resolve disputes over a new contract. While that process plays out, the expired contract will be in effect, until the end of May, if necessary. The agreement is similar to one proposed earlier by the union and rejected by the administration. The difference is that the contract extension is for a longer period of time and covers the academic year that just started.

Union leaders said they were happy with the deal — and confident a new contract could be reached.

The university issued a statement from Gale Haynes, vice president, chief operating officer and university counsel, that said the longer time period of the contract extension enabled the administration to support the deal. “The union’s commitment not to strike during this academic year provides us enough runway to reach a reasonable and fair agreement, while providing our students the ability to continue their studies uninterrupted. That has always been our intention. Mediation is a positive step to that end,” Haynes said.

The lockout ended after a day on which students held a mass walkout to protest the lockout of 400 regular faculty members. Students have used social media to share dissatisfaction with last-minute instructor replacements and class cancellations since the lockout began earlier this month over stalled contract negotiations between the university and its faculty union. They shared similar complaints during the walkout. Video footage of the protest shows students exiting the campus via a gate to join their picketing professors on the other side. Long Island University students were joined by student supporters from nearby City University of New York campuses.

The central dispute in the contract negotiations is over how quickly to close a pay gap for faculty members at the two main LIU campuses. The union says the gap is unfair to those who teach in Brooklyn, and the administration says that it can’t afford to close the gap at the speed the union is proposing.

But the dispute has attracted attention because of the tactic used by the administration more than the disagreement itself. Plenty of negotiations between faculty unions and administrators are tense, and some (including several in the past at LIU) have led to strikes. But it is unprecedented in the history of academic labor unions in the United States for an administration to effectively dismiss all faculty members and replace them with temporary workers (and have administrators teach).

On social media, union members voiced joy Wednesday night.

I am seriously crying, loudly! Is it true? WE ARE GOING BACK TO CLASS??? #liulockout

— Magz (@Prof_Magz) September 15, 2016

We will see you in the morning!!!!!! #UnionStrong #OurLIU https://t.co/03ADnLX3gu

— Emily Drabinski (@edrabinski) September 15, 2016

Jessica Rosenberg, president of the faculty union, issued this statement: “The whole LIU Brooklyn community, and the larger labor community of New York City, the state and the nation, came together to tell the administration to end this lockout. After 12 days of intransigence, the LIU administration discovered that denying students the education they deserve is never a successful strategy. The LIU faculty is relieved this is over and is looking forward to immediately returning to the classroom to get started with the semester. We look forward to a productive outcome as bargaining progresses in the coming weeks.”

Faculty advocates far beyond LIU said the lockout represented an attack on a system of higher education in which the role of professors is respected. Writing on the “Academe” blog, Gail Stygall, a professor of English at the University of Washington, said, “If the administration of this university is able to overturn the fundamental structure of faculty shared governance, then we are all in danger of seeing the destruction of the colleges and universities into customers and faculty-free curriculum.”

John Warner, a blogger for Inside Higher Ed, linked the replacement of LIU’s faculty members with temporary instructors with the way much of higher education uses adjuncts.

“LIU Brooklyn is the ultimate expression of a much broader trend that has established the labor of teaching as essentially fungible. As long as someone is available to stand in front of the room in the role of ‘professor,’ LIU Brooklyn administration seems to believe that education is happening,” Warner wrote. “The same trend is evident in the adjunctification of faculty, where little concern is given to whether or not an instructor will be part of the institution for longer than a semester, or in some cases have the bare minimum of support necessary to teach their courses.”

Classes at LIU Brooklyn will resume Thursday.

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Image Source: 
Photo by Andrew Dixon
Image Caption: 
A protest at Long Island U
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The faculty union at Long Island University Wednesday night announced an agreement to end a 12-day lockout of professors at the university's Brooklyn campus.

A statement from the Long Island Faculty Federation, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, said the lockout is over and a mediator will be used to resolve disputes over a new contract. While that process plays out, the expired contract will be in effect, until the end of May, if necessary. The agreement is similar to one proposed earlier by the union and rejected by the administration. The difference is that the contract extension is for a longer period of time and covers the academic year that just started.

Union leaders said they were happy with the deal -- and confident a new contract could be reached.

The university issued a statement from Gale Haynes, vice president, chief operating officer and university counsel, that said the longer time period of the contract extension enabled the administration to support the deal. "The union’s commitment not to strike during this academic year provides us enough runway to reach a reasonable and fair agreement, while providing our students the ability to continue their studies uninterrupted. That has always been our intention. Mediation is a positive step to that end," Haynes said.

The lockout ended after a day on which students held a mass walkout to protest the lockout of 400 regular faculty members. Students have used social media to share dissatisfaction with last-minute instructor replacements and class cancellations since the lockout began earlier this month over stalled contract negotiations between the university and its faculty union. They shared similar complaints during the walkout. Video footage of the protest shows students exiting the campus via a gate to join their picketing professors on the other side. Long Island University students were joined by student supporters from nearby City University of New York campuses.

The central dispute in the contract negotiations is over how quickly to close a pay gap for faculty members at the two main LIU campuses. The union says the gap is unfair to those who teach in Brooklyn, and the administration says that it can't afford to close the gap at the speed the union is proposing.

But the dispute has attracted attention because of the tactic used by the administration more than the disagreement itself. Plenty of negotiations between faculty unions and administrators are tense, and some (including several in the past at LIU) have led to strikes. But it is unprecedented in the history of academic labor unions in the United States for an administration to effectively dismiss all faculty members and replace them with temporary workers (and have administrators teach).

On social media, union members voiced joy Wednesday night.

Jessica Rosenberg, president of the faculty union, issued this statement: “The whole LIU Brooklyn community, and the larger labor community of New York City, the state and the nation, came together to tell the administration to end this lockout. After 12 days of intransigence, the LIU administration discovered that denying students the education they deserve is never a successful strategy. The LIU faculty is relieved this is over and is looking forward to immediately returning to the classroom to get started with the semester. We look forward to a productive outcome as bargaining progresses in the coming weeks.”

Faculty advocates far beyond LIU said the lockout represented an attack on a system of higher education in which the role of professors is respected. Writing on the "Academe" blog, Gail Stygall, a professor of English at the University of Washington, said, "If the administration of this university is able to overturn the fundamental structure of faculty shared governance, then we are all in danger of seeing the destruction of the colleges and universities into customers and faculty-free curriculum."

John Warner, a blogger for Inside Higher Ed, linked the replacement of LIU's faculty members with temporary instructors with the way much of higher education uses adjuncts.

"LIU Brooklyn is the ultimate expression of a much broader trend that has established the labor of teaching as essentially fungible. As long as someone is available to stand in front of the room in the role of 'professor,' LIU Brooklyn administration seems to believe that education is happening," Warner wrote. "The same trend is evident in the adjunctification of faculty, where little concern is given to whether or not an instructor will be part of the institution for longer than a semester, or in some cases have the bare minimum of support necessary to teach their courses."

Classes at LIU Brooklyn will resume Thursday.

Editorial Tags: 
Image Source: 
Photo by Andrew Dixon
Image Caption: 
A protest at Long Island U
Is this breaking news?: