Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

May 10, 2018

Laureate Education, the large global college network that returned to publicly traded status this year, has largely concluded its shift toward emerging or large markets, Eilif-Serck Hanssen, the company's CEO, said in an interview.

In the last year, the Baltimore-based Laureate sold its colleges in China, Germany, Italy and Malaysia, among others. The company made those moves to leave "markets were we didn't have scale or potential to get to scale," Hanssen said.

With a total enrollment of more than one million students at 60 institutions in 20 countries, Laureate is focused on the U.S., Spain, Portugal and South and Central America.

Last month the company announced a $400 million deal to sell the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, a domestic institution, to the investment firm Altas Partners. Hanssen praised St. Augustine but said its U.S. focus impeded Laureate's ability to coordinate the university's offerings with the global network of institutions.

Laureate has been seeking to offload some of its long-term debt, which was down to about $2.9 billion from $3.2 billion last year. The for-profit college network also reported stronger quarterly numbers, with an 8 percent increase in new enrollments and a 3 percent -- or roughly $30 million -- increase in revenue.

May 10, 2018

Two Americans formerly affiliated with a private university in Pyongyang were among three people released from North Korean detention Tuesday.

The Washington Post reported that one of the released detainees, Tony Kim, who is also known as Kim Sang-duk, taught accounting at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. He was detained in April 2017 and accused of acts intended to overthrow the government.

Another of the newly released detainees, Kim Hak Song, worked on an experimental farm operated by PUST. He was detained last May and accused of anti-state activities.

Neither had been tried. The third released detainee, Kim Dong Chul, who owned a trade and hotel services company, had been convicted of espionage in April 2016 and sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labor.

PUST issued a statement regarding the detainees' release to Inside Higher Ed. "We appreciated the contributions that Tony and Hak-song made to the teaching and development work at PUST. All three men have been daily in our thoughts; and our hopes and prayers have been fulfilled by their release," the university said.

May 10, 2018

Single mothers who attend college full time spend an average of nine hours a day on care and housework. And on a weekly basis, single mothers spend an average of 15 hours in direct childcare activities. 

That time commitment leaves less time for coursework and threatens their academic success, the Institute for Women's Policy Research finds in a policy brief it released today. 

In the brief, the group analyzed data from the American Time Use Survey to illustrate the difference in time spent each day by single mother students versus female students without children on activities like active care work, sleep, homework, exercise, and attending class. 

The group makes several policy recommendations, among them: increasing funding at the federal, state, and local government levels for child care on college campuses; targeting of financial aid to students with parents; and expanding Early Head Start and Head Start programs to more college campuses. 



May 10, 2018

Today on the Academic Minute, Christopher Schmidt, professor in the department of anthropology at the University of Indianapolis, explores what we're learning about the people of the cities buried by Mount Vesuvius centuries ago -- from their teeth. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

May 9, 2018

Bacone College, in Oklahoma, may be on the verge of closing, according to local press reports. College officials say that virtually all employees will lose their jobs in the next week, after graduation. President Franklin Willis told News on 6 that the college is running out of money. “We’re scraping the bottom of the barrel right now to pay utility bills and property bills and health insurance, and we’ll just barely make paying the payroll." He said that the college needs $2 million to resume operations after commencement. The college was founded as a Christian institution to educate Native Americans. Almost one-third of the 800 students at the college are Native American.

May 9, 2018

St. Catherine University in Minnesota plans to cut about 50 faculty and staff members due to recent changes in enrollments and programs, the Star-Tribune reported. Details are expected next week, but the university has said the cuts are an attempt to “right-size” academic programs as part of a 10-year strategic plan and after comparisons to peer institutions. Overall enrollment at the institution, at about 4,724 (including 1,910 in its college for women), is reportedly stable.

May 9, 2018

The University of Florida has placed on leave the commencement marshal who set off a controversy by forcing about 30 graduates -- many of them black -- off the stage as they celebrated their graduations over the weekend, The Gainesville Sun reported. The news comes as the university again apologized for what happened and vowed to look for ways to improve the graduation experience for everyone.

May 9, 2018

Graduate assistants at the New School went on strike Tuesday, protesting the negotiating process for a first union contract. The strike is expected to last through the week’s end unless an agreement is reached. Graduate assistants on campus voted to form a union last May in affiliation with the United Auto Workers and have been bargaining since September. The union says it is working to secure tuition and fee waivers, better pay, and other goals. Health-care benefits have been a particular point of contention, with the union saying that what the administration has offered thus far doesn’t amount to meaningful coverage.

The New School said in a statement that while it is committed to continuing negotiations in good faith, the union's “current demands would result in a 129 percent increase in costs for this group of employees at a time when the New School has cut non-staff expenses by $4.2 million as part of its focus on retaining jobs and protecting teaching across the university.” Classes will continue as scheduled.

Graduate student assistants at Columbia University, who also voted to form a union affiliated with the UAW, in 2016, went on strike for a week last month over the university’s refusal to bargain with them at all. That institution, among others, has challenged a major 2016 decision from the National Labor Relations Board saying that graduate student teaching and research assistants are also employees entitled to collective bargaining.

May 9, 2018

A $15 billion package of proposed spending cuts released by the White House Tuesday would leave student aid and campus-based research untouched.

The proposed spending cuts, known as rescissions, would rescind $150 million in funds from the National Service Trust, which provides awards to eligible AmeriCorps volunteers. The Trump administration said those cuts would not affect the operations of the agency and that its current balance more than covers the amount needed for educational awards in fiscal year 2018.

The rescission package comes just over a month after President Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill to keep the government running through September. Unlike other spending bills, the proposed cuts can be pushed through both chambers of Congress without a potential filibuster in the Senate.

May 9, 2018

Inside Higher Ed is pleased to release today our latest print-on-demand compilation, "Promoting Student Success." You may download a copy free, here. And you may sign up here for a free webcast on the themes of the booklet, on Tuesday, June 5, at 2 p.m. Eastern.


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