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Chronicle of Higher Education: Elite-College Admissions Has an Image Problem. Would Ending Legacy Admissions Help?

The Johns Hopkins University made waves recently by saying it had quietly ceased giving legacy preferences. But there’s reason to doubt such a move would help colleges diversify their enrollments.

U.S. Department of Education Blog | Recapping ED Games Expo Week 2020

The ED Games Expo is the Department of EducationÔÇÖs annual showcase and celebration of innovation in education for students of all ages and practitioners in education and special education.

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Chronicle of Higher Education: The Transformation of Adam Johnson

A shooting happened in his classroom. Could his expertise help him make sense of it?

Re-inspection policy for Tier 4 risking financial health of UK schools

The PIE News - jeu, 01/30/2020 - 10:00

UK boarding schools claim to have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds as a result of a Tier-4 visa rule that prevents them from admitting new international students while they await re-inspection for compliance issues.

Boarding schools in the UK are inspected every three years to make sure they are compliant with the Independent School Standards Regulations, with a failure to meet standards resulting in a warning notice by the DfE. 

“Sometimes the DfE will stretch it out to seven or eight months”

After a school is given a warning notice, its Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies allocation is set to zero, meaning it cannot admit any new students on Tier 4 visas.

The DfE usually requires the school to draw up an action plan to address any areas of non-compliance before being re-inspected, and as long as it is found to be compliant, the CAS allocation is returned.

However, the long waiting time between the issuing of the warning notice and re-inspection is causing serious financial problems for schools who are dependent on income from new international students.

“The schools have no ability to influence the timing of re-inspections,” Peter Woodroffe, deputy chief executive officer at Independent Schools Association told The PIE.┬á

“Sometimes the DfE will stretch it out to seven or eight months. I’ve got an international boarding school on the south coast that told me they had lost ┬ú400,000 which was about 20% of their income that year, and that was a big hit.

“I’ve got another boarding school over in the West of England that said that it probably cost them around half a million pounds.”

One of two organisations that are commissioned by the DfE to inspect schools is the Independent Schools Inspectorate.

Mike Oliver, principal of Brooke House College and an inspector for ISI told The PIE that the freezing or zeroing of the CAS allocation could mean business closures for some international schools based in the UK.

“I know one man who put his heart and soul into his prep school in the south of Yorkshire. It had about 160 pupils and he said, ‘I do not have the financial wherewithal to be on top of every policy and change and implementation- itÔÇÖs just going to kill the school’,” explained Oliver.

In the last 18 months, the DfE has been giving out six or seven enforcement notices every month

A spokesperson for ISI acknowledged the potential problems that a school might face as a result of the zeroing of a CAS allocation.

“ISIÔÇÖs purpose is to enable children to be safe, well-educated and to thrive,”┬á they told The PIE.

The spokesperson added that ISI understands that the withdrawal of Tier 4 licences “causes schools tremendous problems” and regularly speaks with the school associations about these.

“However, as a professional and independent inspectorate, we inspect a school to assess whether it is meeting the Independent Schools Standards.

“We do not, and should not, consider the commercial consequences on the school of our judgements,” they said, explaining┬áthat between 2018 and 2019, the compliance rate for ISI inspections was 88%.

A spokesperson for the DfE told The PIE that it is a schoolÔÇÖs responsibility to ensure they are meeting the necessary standards.

“Where they fail to do so, itÔÇÖs right that they should face action ÔÇô part of which is preventing the school from admitting new students who are on Tier 4 visas,” they explained.

“The timings of inspections are based on action plans submitted by the school in question, and enable adequate time for schools to make the improvements required.”

However, the incidents that result in a non-compliance verdict from inspectors have also been called into question. 

ISA’s Woodroffe┬ásaid that within the past two years, the DfE has changed its approach on how it gives out its enforcement notices.

“In the past, if it was a serious incident the DfE would send out an enforcement notice,” he said.

“However, in the last 18 months, the DfE has been giving out six or seven enforcement notices every month instead of maybe one every three months.

“Even if a school makes the smallest administrative error, that’s a failure in safeguarding and that’s a notice to improve from the DfE,” Woodroffe noted.

“Even if a school makes the smallest administrative error that’s a failure in safeguarding”

Chairman for The Council of Independent Education and Principal of Bath Academy, Tim Naylor, echoed this concern. 

“Of course schools need to put their house in order in whatever they are not compliant about, especially if it has anything to do with safeguarding,” he said.┬á

“But at the same time, is it really a safeguarding issue or is it more of a clerical issue that can be cleared up very quickly?”

On this point, a spokesperson from ISI said that their inspectors take into account the notion of ÔÇÿmaterialityÔÇÖ, which means that a small, correctable error in an otherwise effective system does not necessarily trigger a judgement of non-compliance.

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The mystery of quipusÔÇöIncan knot records

Economist, North America - jeu, 01/30/2020 - 09:29

SAN ANDR├®S DE TUPICOCHA starts every year by swearing in new leaders, like many small towns in Peru. Instead of giving the office-holders a sash or medal it gives them a quipu, a coloured skein of knotted cords.

Quipus, or khipu, which means knots or talking knots in Quechua, were used to administer the vast empire of the Incas, which lasted for about a century until 1533. No one alive knows just how. San Andr├®s, in the highlands near Lima, is the last place in Peru where quipus have an official role, and that is ceremonial. ÔÇ£They represent who we are,ÔÇØ says Tito Rojas, president of one of the townÔÇÖs ten communities. In December PeruÔÇÖs government declared its ritual of bestowing them on community leaders like Mr Rojas to be part of the countryÔÇÖs cultural heritage.

The townÔÇÖs quipus are thought to date from after PeruÔÇÖs independence from Spain in 1821. They were used until the mid-20th century to record attendance at meetings, says Roy Vilcayauri, a former mayor. But the last person who could read that set died in 1990.

Scholars have been trying to puzzle out what messages are encoded in the knotted tally cords, which are usually made from dyed alpaca wool (they can also contain fibres from llamas, vicu├▒as and cotton). The type of knot, their number and their spacing...

Bolsa Fam├¡lia, BrazilÔÇÖs admired anti-poverty programme, is flailing

Economist, North America - jeu, 01/30/2020 - 09:29

LAST YEAR Nat├ília Ribeiro sent her five-year-old daughter to live with relatives because she could not afford to feed her. She had tried to sign up for Bolsa Fam├¡lia (Family Fund), a conditional cash-transfer programme that supports millions of poor Brazilians. That includes 80% of families in Bel├ígua, a town of 7,000 people in Maranh├úo, the poorest state. Ms Ribeiro should have been a shoo-in. She has no income. Her three children get regular health check-ups and will go to school, she promises. That is a precondition for receiving the monthly benefits, which start at 89 reais ($21). She has been waiting since May. ÔÇ£I want a better life for my little ones,ÔÇØ says the 24-year-old, who has long eyelashes like the baby in her lap and the toddler playing with a piece of wood on the floor. 

In June last year BrazilÔÇÖs populist government, which had taken office five months before, slowed the acceptance of new beneficiaries and started cancelling payments to existing ones. The number of families admitted to Bolsa Fam├¡lia has dropped from 275,000 a month to fewer than 2,500. The number receiving benefits has fallen by 1m. The government says that 700,000 are on the waiting list, which may be an underestimate.

To critics of Jair Bolsonaro, BrazilÔÇÖs president, this is evidence of his indifference to poverty. Mr Bolsonaro...

The difficulty of reforming Peru

Economist, North America - jeu, 01/30/2020 - 09:29

IT WAS THE most popular thing any Peruvian president has done in a long time. Facing a serially obstructive congress widely seen as defending corrupt interests, in September Mart├¡n Vizcarra decreed its dissolution. This was constitutionally questionable and set a worrying precedent. But in political terms, the outcome of an election held on January 26th to replace the dissolved congress vindicated Mr Vizcarra. It also highlighted the weaknesses of PeruÔÇÖs political system, and has not made his project of institutional reform any easier.

Mr Vizcarra, who was elected as vice-president in 2016, took over the top job almost two years ago when Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned over conflicts of interest. He inherited a battle with congress, dominated by the opposition led by Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of a former president. When leaked phone calls revealed apparent collusion among some judges and opposition lawmakers, Mr Vizcarra successfully appealed for public support in a referendum on reforms of the judiciary and politics.

That gave him the initiative, but only for a while. To break the deadlock Mr Vizcarra proposed calling an early general election. Ignoring this, the fujimoristas went ahead with a rushed vote to appoint new justices to the constitutional tribunal. The president claimed that this...

U.S. Department of Education Blog | How to Deduct Student Loan Interest on your Taxes (1098-E)

Student loans, interest payments, and taxes: three things that have scared many people for years now. Read on to learn how these things can benefit you.

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New OrientalÔÇÖs financial results for second quarter

The PIE News - jeu, 01/30/2020 - 08:18

New Oriental, ChinaÔÇÖs largest private education provider, released its unaudited financial results for the second fiscal quarter of 2020, revealing a 31.5% increase in quarterly net revenue year-on-year.

With a 63.3% increase in quarterly student enrolments over 2019 – during which it also saw growth┬áattributed to its K-12 sector┬á– the number of students hit 3,789,200 across 1,304 schools and learning centres.

“During this quarter, we added a net of 41 learning centres in existing cities”

“We are very pleased to report a set of solid financial results in the second fiscal quarter of this year, delivering both accelerated top-line growth and continued operating margin expansion,ÔÇØ said New Oriental executive chairman, Michael Yu Minhong.

ÔÇ£The K-12 after-school tutoring business continued its strong momentum, and achieved a year-over-year revenue growth of approximately 46%, or 49% if measured in renminbi.”

The company also reported growth in after school tutoring for middle and high schools subjects and its POP Kids program.

It has also been expanding its existing presence in cities where it sees ÔÇ£potential for rapid growth and strong profitabilityÔÇØ.

ÔÇ£During this quarter, we added a net of 41 learning centres in existing cities, opened a new training school in the city of┬áHuizhou, and launched a dual-teacher model in a school in the city of Chengde,ÔÇØ Zhou Chenggang, New Oriental’s chief executive officer, said.

ÔÇ£We are very encouraged to have received positive feedback from our customers, and see sustained improvement in customer retention rate.

“We also continued to make strategic investments into our dual-teacher model classes as well as new initiatives in K-12 tutoring on our pure online education platform,, to leverage our advanced teaching resources in lower tiers cities and remote areas.ÔÇØ

For the third quarter, which ends on February 29, the company expects total net revenues between US$983.0 million and $1,006.4 million, a year-on-year growth of 23% to 26%.

New Oriental was established in 1993 in Beijing and has since developed to provide a range of services including language tutoring, study abroad consulting, test preparation and vocational training.

The post New Oriental’s financial results for second quarter appeared first on The PIE News.

US: IIE reveals Andrew Heiskell Award winners

The PIE News - jeu, 01/30/2020 - 06:23

The four winners of the 2020 Andrew Heiskell Awards have been announced by the Institute of International Education.

Recognising outstanding initiatives among┬áIIEÔÇÖs membership association of more than 1,300 higher education institutions, winners are at the┬áfrontier of developing new models to build international partnerships, internationalise campuses, and promote study abroad.

“These programs are building cultural and leadership skills that are essential to addressing global challenges”

Rice University was awarded the ‘Internationalising the Campus’ category for its┬áBrasil@Rice program, which has┬áserved as a hub for meaningful connections between Brazil and the university since 2012.

Harper College‘s┬áThe Global Region of Focus Initiative won the ‘Internationalising the Community College Campus’ prize for┬áprograms that provide cultural, economic, political, and historical foundations for understanding global issues.

The ‘Study Abroad’ award went to the University of Tulsa for a┬áone-week summer experiential experience for freshmen with local partners in Panama.

Lehigh University took the ‘Partnership’ award for its work with the United Nations for the second year running.

“What weÔÇÖve done with the UN is pursue a strategic evaluation of our strengths, and then align them with UN entities such as the International Labor Organization, Sustainable UN and the Environmental Program,” said┬áBill Hunter, LehighÔÇÖs director of Fellowship Advising and UN Programs.

“We have very strong support from a wide variety of academic departments on campus, enabling us to take a holistic approach to our UN-based affiliations.”

IIEÔÇÖs president and CEO, Allan E. Goodman noted that innovative thinking in the international education community will “prepare students for working in a complex, international world”.

“These programs are building cultural and leadership skills that are essential to addressing global challenges, both for students who are encouraged to study abroad and for those who benefit from campuses more connected to the world,” he said in a statement.

“We are very proud to recognise these programs with the IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards for their innovative work and hope that their successes spark new ideas in the years to come.”

Honourable mentions went to Kansas State University: The Australian Initiative and Oz-to-Oz Program, Texas A&M International University: Reading the Globe, Texas A&M International University and University of Otago: Tūrangawaewae, Pōkai Whenua (A Place to Stand, A World to Explore).

The four winning campuses will receive a cash award of US$1,000 and a certificate from IIEÔÇÖs president.

The post US: IIE reveals Andrew Heiskell Award winners appeared first on The PIE News.

Coventry U to open new campus in Morocco

The PIE News - jeu, 01/30/2020 - 03:23

The UK’s Coventry University and MoroccoÔÇÖs Superior Institution of Science & Technology┬áhave signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a partnership that will provide teacher training and other programs in areas such as business and science and technology.

SIST, a higher education institute which operates entirely in English in Morocco, will invest ┬ú14 million to develop a purpose-built campus in Casablanca to host Coventry UniversityÔÇÖs programs.

“We see Morocco as a gateway to Africa”

The agreement will also enable the partners to explore opportunities for joint research, teaching and mobility to and from CoventryÔÇÖs UK campuses for its Moroccan staff and students.

Thousands of Moroccan students are expected to benefit from the new partnership over several years by having access to additional and alternative educational experiences that are aligned with the needs of their society.

Vice-chancellor of Coventry University, John Latham, and president of SIST, Tariq Obaid, signed the MoU during a reception at the inaugural meeting of the UK-Morocco Higher Education Commission hosted by Coventry’s London campus on January 22.

Latham said he was pleased to have become the first UK university to sign an agreement to set up a campus in Morocco.

“Our partnership with SIST will give us our first strong relationship with a Moroccan institution, particularly around science and technology and teacher training,” he said.

“WeÔÇÖre also looking at partnerships in nurse training and nurse education and exploring links around research, especially water security and food security.

“We see Morocco as a gateway to Africa and a country where higher education in the UK overall could have more and further collaborations,”┬áLatham added.

Obaid said that the┬ápartnership has the potential to contribute immensely to MoroccoÔÇÖs human resources development.

“Moreover, staff and students in both Morocco and Coventry could benefit from the cross-cultural networks that will be developed and the joint activities that will grow once the partnership is established,” he added.

The post Coventry U to open new campus in Morocco appeared first on The PIE News.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Why Asking Students to Choose the Grade They Want Motivates Them to Learn

One professor shares the results of his experiment with ├ó┬Ç┬£specifications grading.├ó┬Ç┬Ø

MLK Day post turns public attention to Montana

Inside Higher Ed - jeu, 01/30/2020 - 01:00

The University of Montana was in the early stages of addressing complaints about the lack of racial diversity on campus when it decided to hold an essay contest marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The contest was seen as an opportunity to engage students of various backgrounds and spur dialogue across the campus about the life and work of the late civil rights leader. But the plans backfired when the university announced, and proudly promoted, the four winning essays -- all penned by white students.

The backlash on social media was swift and searing and, perhaps most interestingly, multiracial.

More than 1,100 commenters, many of them self-identifying as white, took to Facebook to call out university officials for being “tone-deaf” and “shameful” and criticizing the contest as a “colorblind mess.”

The critics questioned how the selection committee could think it appropriate to move forward with the contest after only getting six entries, all submitted by white students.

"Jesus Christ this is shameful and embarrassing, and I say that as a pasty ass white girl," said one commenter. "I’m cringing for you because clearly none of you who ran this contest were raised with the good grace to do the cringing yourselves. You should be ashamed of yourselves."

Another poster said he could "not understand how anyone would think remembering the legacy of MLK Jr. is achieved by giving four white girls a shout out. If the university does not have black voices to lift up on MLK Day, then find them."

Elizabeth Wipperman, a senior majoring in literature, said she was encouraged to write an essay but decided not to.

"I will never truly understand the experiences of African Americans and therefore decided this opportunity was not for me," Wipperman wrote on Facebook. "It’s great that my fellow white people are speaking out against racism, but this is an excellent example of speaking over black voices. It’s gonna be a 'yikes' from me."

The reaction was not quite the unifying exercise that university officials might have wished. Instead, it amplified students' awareness of the social and racial challenges playing out on the campus in Missoula and at other colleges and universities around the country.

"Why was there no curiosity from the panel, the head of the department, or others involved, about the absence of black participants?" a black commenter asked in a Facebook post. "Having grown up in all white spaces, I often avoided events such as this because I knew the purpose was a performative gesture from the administration....Rather than sellout/compromise myself, I would avoid the performance.”ÔÇï

Some of the fallout turned ugly and caused University of Montana officials to take down pictures it had posted of the four young women who won the contest, along with excerpts of their essays.People had started posting threats against them.

At the majority-white university, where less than 1 percent of undergraduate students enrolled in fall 2019 were black and about 1.3 percent were Asian and 5.4 percent Hispanic or Latino, the contest reflected a lack of representation that many students of color feel on campus, said Marcos Lopez, a member of the Nez Perce tribe and president of the Kyiyo Native American Student Association. (Native American or Pacific Islander students were 3.8 percent of undergraduates, according to the Office of Institutional Research.)

Lopez said students of color struggle to have their voices heard and needs met. He noted, for example, the understaffed American Indian Student Services office, which provides academic and financial aid advising but is often unable to schedule student appointments in a timely manner. The lack of diversity among faculty members and administrators -- the faculty is nearly 90 percent white, according to data provided by the university -- and the absence of a chief diversity officer or an office focused on diversity and inclusion has created a disconnect between students and university leaders who “can’t relate with us in a way that’s meaningful,” he said.

Failed Strategy to Connect

The purpose of the contest was in part to encourage participation across the entire campus, not just by students of color, and to challenge them to ask, "What can I do to fight racism?" said Tobin Miller Shearer, the MLK Jr. Day committee chairman and director of the African American studies programÔÇï.

Miller Shearer, who is white, said students of color have told him that the responsibility of addressing issues of racism too often falls to them.

"We were wanting to engage white people and students of color," Miller Shearer said. "It was students of color saying that they did not want to do the heavy lifting."

The deadline for the essay contest was on the final day of the fall semester. The winners were posted on the university's Facebook account on Jan. 20, the national holiday celebrating King.

Lopez, whose organization holds the annual Kyiyo Pow Wow on campus, one of the university’s largest cultural events, said he and others were not even aware of the contest until the winners were announced. Lopez did not see the purpose of a contest about fighting racism if it did not include people of color. He said the contest deadline should have been extended so more people could have entered and that the all-white roster of winners should not have been publicly announced.

“The meaning of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life work isn’t going to be as significant to somebody who is from a privileged background,” Lopez said. “It doesn’t affect the day-to-day lives of white people as much as it does people of color, who historically have faced oppression in their daily life.”

Shaun Harper, executive director of the University of Southern California's Race and Equity Center, said it was a positive sign that white students participated in the contest.

“It is totally fine and appropriate and good for white people to write about the legacy and impact of Martin Luther King Jr. and their understanding of King’s contributions to social justice,” Harper said. “I would go so far to say I wish we had more white students in college who would and could take the time to articulate King’s impact on social justice.”

The center's research includes campus climate studies in which white students report a lack of opportunities for them to develop an understanding of racial justice.

“We send millions of white college students into the world without the study of racial justice and equity topics,” Harper said.

Although the MLK Day committee's efforts were well intentioned, Miller Shearer said the group considered tossing out the contest when they saw the results. He said the decision to post the winners was a “judgment call” made by the committee, comprised of five people of color and four white people, including the presidents of the Black Student Union and the Latinx Student Union. They were disappointed with the pool of six white applicants and knew the ethnicity of the winners would be “problematic,” Miller Shearer said.

“Whether we made the right decision or not is certainly open to debate,” he said. “What we finally decided was that even though this would be uncomfortable, it is to a degree a reflection of the university and it would create a base to work from.”

The “unfortunate profile” that was created of the essay-writing contest on social media overshadowed many of the other ways students of color celebrated King, Miller Shearer said.

Reassessment and Repercussions

Lost in the debate over the contest is that it “was but one opportunity among many to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King” and “several students of color chose to direct their efforts in other quarters,” said Murray Pierce, a student affairs official who serves as adviser to the BSU and mentor to black students. He noted that some of those students participated in a youth rally in the Missoula, Mont., community or attended a discussion on King’s legacy led by Meshayla Cox, a Montana alumna and outreach coordinator for the Montana Racial Equity Project.

BSU members are also preparing for their third annual Black Solidarity Summit scheduled for Feb. 15, where they will host students from BSUs across the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere in the U.S. to discuss and plan how to “move the dial” on issues of diversity and inclusion on college campuses, Murray said. Natasha Kalonde, the BSU president, did not respond to requests for comment.

Judith Heilman, executive director of the Montana Racial Equity Project, said the University of Montana's failure to mention these other initiatives and events in its MLK Day Facebook post focused attention on the efforts of white students and excluded the activities of students of color.

"The post should’ve been about lifting the voices and the unity of the Black Student Union and black students on campus," said Heilman, who is African American. "The writing contest was a very small part of what UM was doing for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but the other parts of it weren’t shared."

Rosemary Lytle, president of the Colorado, Montana, Wyoming State Conference of the NAACP, criticized the decision to move forward with "a poorly advertised, poorly publicized" contest "with no targeted marketing of any kind to black students or students of color."

Lytle said the excuses committee members provided for the low participation in the contest did not "ring true" because there were many indicators that it would not be representative of the university.

"The university, which has a nonblack director of African American studies, decides that there must be an MLK essay contest despite the fact that students of color and black students specifically are overcommitted during this time, where observances and celebrations of black life, black achievement are plentiful," said Lytle.

The committee is examining how the essay question, which had separate entry categories for students, faculty members and staff and asked how they are “implementing Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy” on campus, may have contributed to the low participation by students of color, Miller Shearer said.

Mariah Omeasoo, a member of the Blackfeet tribe and vice president of Kyiyo, said she decided not to participate because she isn’t black.

"I felt like it wasn’t my place," she said, adding that she understands King would likely lift up the voices of other people of color, not just African Americans.

Lawrence Ross, who speaks widely about racial issues on college campuses and is author of Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America’s Campuses (St. Martin's Press, 2016) said the university erred by using a contest format to engage a diverse group of students with vastly different perspectives.

“Sometimes when people view contests like this, they’re thinking there’s a universality around writing an essay. Maybe there’s not,” Ross said. “How the black students express themselves is completely different from the Native American students and the Latinx folks. That should be the focus -- how do we come together from our various perspectives?”

Lopez, the president of the Native American student association, noted that the university did not make a direct effort to make students in Kyiyo aware of the essay contest. A university spokesperson said the contest details were sent to all students in a weekly email newsletter.

But if the intention is to engage a diverse group of students, a universitywide email is not good enough, Harper said.

“It would be a huge missed opportunity for this university to see this as an isolated incident and focus all its effort on getting more applicants next year,” Harper said. “It would shock me if this was the only space where there was woeful participation, or in this case no participation, of students of color in a space.”

Students of color have formed their own communities on campus through student organizations in which they feel listened to and understood, Lopez said.

“African American and Latinx students face the same issues,” Lopez said. “There’s something comforting about being around each other, so we certainly get together as much as we can. It’s a struggle when there’s not a lot of our identities reflected in the institution.”

Work in Progress

Seth Bodnar, the university's president, has heard suggestions from a Diversity Advisory Council to hold meetings with students and determine what resources a student-centered diversity and inclusion office or director would provide, Paula Short, director of communications, said in a university statement. Discussions about creating such a role or office are scheduled to begin this week between student affairs officials and organizations that represent students of color, Lopez said.

The university is also in the process of creating a new position for a diversity, equity and inclusion specialist in the human resources department to focus on recruiting more diverse faculty and staff and providing sensitivity training to current faculty members, Short said.

“We recognize that we have much more to do,” Short said. “In response to calls for institutional attention to issues related to diversity, President Bodnar is working to better understand the current diversity and inclusion landscape at Montana and to identify needs and gaps.”

Lopez said students will turn to activism if there is no progress on addressing these issues.

“Through those conversations, hopefully something comes about if we go in and present our feelings and what we’ve experienced,” he said. “But if we go in there and nothing happens, then yeah, we’re going to protest.”

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Endowment returns' 10-year average rises, but leaders see clouds on the horizon

Inside Higher Ed - jeu, 01/30/2020 - 01:00

College and university endowment returns averaged 5.3 percent, net of fees, in the 2019 fiscal year, according to an annual study released today by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

The 2019 average return dipped from an average 8.2 percent return in 2018 and 12.2 percent in 2017, reflecting generally lower equity market returns. But it was still enough to push the 10-year average return to 8.4 percent. That’s because 2009, when endowment returns cratered amid the financial crisis, dropped out of the 10-year average.

“That represents a very strong recovery period after an almost 19 percent drawdown that occurred in fiscal year 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis,” said Dimitri Stathopoulos, head of U.S. Institutional Sales at Nuveen, which is owned by the NACUBO study’s sponsor, TIAA, during a conference call to discuss the results.

An increase in the 10-year average is important to colleges and universities because institutions generally use returns over the previous decade to gauge whether their endowment spending levels are appropriate. Endowments are not designed to function like checking accounts to be drawn down over time -- they are structured to exist into perpetuity, with spending offset by growth in asset values. Experts often recommend managers look most closely at 10-year averages because year-to-year investment performance can vary significantly.

Endowment spending fell safely under rates of return. The average spending rate was 4.5 percent in 2019, according to the study, known as the NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments. That’s virtually identical to 4.4 percent in each of the previous two years. Average spending rates have ranged between 4.2 percent and 4.6 percent over the last decade.

Endowments must also offset the cost of inflation to keep their purchasing power from waning over time. Inflation came in at 2.5 percent in 2019, as measured by the Higher Education Price Index, meaning endowment spending plus that inflationary index was 7 percent. Over the last decade, endowment spending plus HEPI has not exceeded 7.8 percent, meaning the measure has consistently slotted in below the average 10-year return.

“I’m actually very happy to see the spending rates in the mid-4s,” said Kevin O’Leary, CEO of TIAA Endowment and Philanthropic Services. “Speaking with institutions, they have been looking to see how they can lower that spending rate even further, if possible. The reason for that is that 8.4 percent 10-year average is reflective of the incredible bull market that we’ve had coming out of the great financial recession. As we move forward, especially looking at where the industry is engaging capital returns, it is going to be harder and harder to continue to get those types of returns.”

Indeed, institutions have been lowering their long-term return objectives. They set spending objectives of 7.7 percent as of 2010 but have since slowly moved objectives down to just 7 percent in 2019.

“What this is telling you is that institutions -- their expectations and their budgeting for expected future returns -- has been moving lower since the great financial crisis,” Stathopoulos said.

Looking back further into the past to examine periods that include both up and down years reveals somewhat lower rates of return. The 15-year rate of return is 6.7 percent, and the 20-year rate of return is 6.2 percent.

Endowment spending is a major part of many college and university operating budgets, said Liz Clark, vice president for policy and research at NACUBO. Leaders need to take past results and the foreseeable future into account when setting spending rates.

“They have to budget and plan not just for the current year but for years out, and it can be difficult to manage an institution’s budget if endowment spending is constantly moving up and down,” she said.

None of this means institutions are spending less on average in dollars than in the past. Total endowment withdrawals rose by 8 percent, or $1.6 billion, to slightly less than $22.7 billion in 2019. The average endowment withdrawal increased by 6 percent, or about $1.7 million, to $30.4 million.

Nearly half of spending from endowments in the study, 49 percent, went to student financial aid. Another 17 percent went to academic programs, 11 percent went to endowed faculty positions and 7 percent was dedicated to the operation and maintenance of campus facilities. The remaining 16 percent of spending was categorized in a catch-all “other purposes” bucket.

That breakdown is in line with spending in last year’s study, the first in the series of annual studies to delve into how endowment dollars are spent.

Large Endowments Return More Over Time

Investment returns varied substantially over time between the largest and smallest endowments. This year’s study divided endowments into seven different segments based on size. The largest endowments, valued at more than $1 billion, outperformed endowments of all other sizes over one-year, three-year, five-year and 10-year time frames. In 2019, the smallest endowments, those valued at $25 million or less, came closest to matching the largest endowments’ performance with an average return of 5.8 percent.

Average One-, Three-, Five- and 10-Year Returns Net Annualized Return Total Institutions Over $1 Billion Over $500 Million-
$1 Billion Over $250 Million-
$500 Million Over $100 Million-
$250 Million Over $50 Million-
$100 Million Over $25 Million-
$50 Million $25 Million and Under One-year (FY19) 5.3% 5.9% 5.1% 5.0% 5.1% 4.9% 5.5% 5.8% Three-year 8.7% 9.6% 8.9% 8.9% 8.5% 8.3% 8.3% 8.3% Five-year 5.2% 6.1% 5.1% 5.3% 5.0% 4.9% 4.9% 5.5% 10-year 8.4% 9.0% 8.5% 8.4% 8.3% 8.2% 8.4% 7.7%

Source: 2019 NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments

Large endowments’ performance can be explained in part by the fact that they have greater access to buyout and venture capital investments than smaller endowments do. Such investments were among the highest performing in 2019.

Small endowments, on the other hand, tend to invest more heavily in U.S. bonds and equities than larger endowments do. That may have helped their performance in 2019, as those asset classes did well during colleges’ 2019 fiscal year.

Allocations to Asset Classes, 2019 Fiscal Year Net Annualized Return Total Institutions Over $1 Billion Over $500 Million-
$1 Billion Over $250 Million-
$500 Million Over $100 Million-
$250 Million Over $50 Million-
$100 Million Over $25 Million-
$50 Million $25 Million and Under U.S. Equities 14.1% 11.2% 20.7% 21.1% 28.4% 31.6% 37.8% 45.7% Non-U.S. Equities 14.5% 13.9% 17.1% 16.7% 15.7% 14.9% 14.6% 12.2% Global Equities 6.6% 6.2% 7.5% 9.1% 9.1% 8.1% 5.3% 2.7% Other Equities 39.0% 43.2% 30.3% 27.1% 18.1% 14.8% 10.1% 5.6% Fixed Income 11.7% 10.1% 14.4% 15.7% 19.5% 23.1% 26.5% 29.7% Real Assets 12.3% 13.5% 9.2% 8.4% 7.1% 6.0% 4.6% 3.2% Cash/Other 1.7% 1.8% 0.8% 1.8% 2.0% 1.5% 1.1% 0.9%

Source: 2019 NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments

Asset allocations over all were little changed from the 2018 fiscal year.

Size and Scale

A total of 774 U.S. colleges, universities and related foundations took part in the NACUBO study. Their endowment assets totaled $630 billion as of June 30, 2019. The median endowment size came in at $144.4 million.

About 38 percent of participants, 294 institutions, were public colleges, universities, systems or their foundations. Their assets totaled $202.6 billion, or 32.1 percent of all assets reported. Private colleges and universities were the remainder, meaning 62 percent of institutions held 67.9 percent of assets.

Looking at all institutions, public and private, assets were sharply concentrated in 107 endowments each valued at $1 billion or more. They held $493.8 billion, meaning 13.9 percent of institutions held a whopping 78.3 percent of endowment value.

The 10 institutions with the highest endowment values held just under $224 billion, about 35.6 percent of all assets in the study. For comparison’s sake, the pension fund for New York State, the third largest in the country, was valued at about $210.5 billion in March 2019.

Below are the 25 largest endowments in the country and their changes in size between the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years. Change in size is not the rate of return referenced throughout this article. It includes several additional factors that can affect endowment size in additional to investment gains and losses: withdrawals, gifts and contributions, and management and investment fees.

Top 25 Endowments by Value, 2019 Fiscal Year Institution 2019 Endowment Funds (in $1,000s) 2018 Endowment Funds (in $1,000s) Change in Market Value (percent) Harvard University 39,427,896 38,298,087 2.95 University of Texas System 30,958,239 30,886,018 0.23 Yale University 30,314,800 29,351,100 3.28 Stanford University 27,699,834 26,464,912 4.67 Trustees of Princeton University 26,116,022 25,917,199 0.77 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 17,569,328 16,529,432 6.29 University of Pennsylvania 14,649,762 13,777,441 6.33 Texas A&M University System 13,514,528 13,524,947 -0.08 University of Michigan 12,448,817 11,901,760 4.60 University of Notre Dame 11,268,365 10,727,653 5.04 Northwestern University 11,091,516 11,087,659 0.03 University of California 11,008,035 11,797,543 -6.69 Columbia University in the City of New York 10,950,738 10,869,245 0.75 DUMAC Inc. (Duke University) 8,609,004 8,524,846 0.99 University of Chicago 8,263,868 7,928,485 4.23 Washington University in St. Louis 7,953,986 7,594,159 4.74 Emory University 7,872,381 7,292,165 7.96 Cornell University 7,328,241 7,230,291 1.35 University of Virginia 7,058,235 6,856,309 2.95 Rice University 6,481,102 6,277,506 3.24 Johns Hopkins University 6,275,939 4,190,520 49.77 Vanderbilt University 6,270,877 4,608,461 36.07 University of Southern California 5,732,101 5,549,556 3.29 Dartmouth College 5,731,322 5,494,204 4.32 Ohio State University 5,256,759 5,211,434 0.87

Source: 2019 NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments

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Virginia governor looks to curb state aid for online courses

Inside Higher Ed - jeu, 01/30/2020 - 01:00

“The Democrats are anti-life, anti-Second Amendment, anti-liberty and even anti-business,” Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. said in a news conference Tuesday. “Now they’re doing even more damage by making it more difficult for the most needy college students in the state to finance their education.”

That speech ended with Falwell inviting the conservative counties of Virginia, where Liberty is located, to secede from the state and join West Virginia, which has more conservative leadership.

Falwell has gained attention before for his comments on more typical conservative fare -- President Trump's comments, guns, abortion and immigration -- but this part of his speech was focused on a more niche issue: the proposal by Ralph Northam, Virginia's Democratic governor, in his 2020 budget, to tighten eligibility requirements for the state’s Tuition Assistance Grant program to exclude Virginia students who take classes online.

The grant program typically gives tuition assistance to Virginia residents who choose to attend private, nonprofit universities within the Commonwealth, including Liberty. Students taking online classes have been eligible to receive the same amount of grant money as residential students.

Liberty’s enrollment includes about 100,000 students in online programs, though not all of those are students are Virginia residents. Falwell said the proposal would affect about 2,000 Liberty students.

In an interview earlier this month, Falwell said the issue was an example of Democrats in Richmond punishing Liberty for its openly conservative leadership.

Northam’s office said the issue is instead about the different costs for online and residential programs. For residential students, Northam wants to expand the program by increasing annual grant awards from $3,400 per student to $4,000.

“The purpose of the TAG program is to help address and offset the cost of college, notably brick-and-mortar costs associated with attending college,” a spokesperson for Northam's office said via email. “Online programs, by their very nature, do not incur the same myriad of brick-and-mortar costs.”

The governor’s office stressed that the budget proposal invests in other programs to help underrepresented students finance college.

“Governor Northam has made it a top priority to expand access to affordable, high-quality education,” the spokesperson said. “That's why his budget includes significant investments in tuition-free community college, need-based financial aid for college students and support for Virginia's historically black universities and colleges.”

Stephanie Hall, a fellow at the Century Foundation, a think tank that has been critical of online learning in the past, said tuition assistance shouldn’t go toward subpar programs.

“Governor Northam’s proposal signals that his office wants to ensure state money is directed at quality, vetted programs,” she said via email. “Despite receiving the most TAG money of all private institutions in Virginia, Liberty University spends the least on instruction -- just 26 cents for every tuition dollar taken in. Other private colleges in the state, with smaller endowments, manage to spend more on instruction as a proportion of tuition revenue.”

If the proposed budget goes into effect as written and Liberty’s enrollment holds steady, the university still will be the largest recipient of state tuition assistance grants.

At Regent University, another Christian university located in Virginia, about 70 percent of credit hours earned by students are completed online.

Officials at Regent expressed gratitude for the expansion of the grant program for residential students but said the governor’s rationale for excluding online students doesn’t take into account the fact that online students often face greater economic challenges than their residential peers.

“The tuition pricing for online may be lower for a number of reasons,” said Gerson Moreno-Riaño, executive vice president for academic affairs at Regent. “But that does not mean that that population does not face significant economic challenges based on their demographic and social background.”

Liberty has said that 26 percent of its students are from minority groups, with 65 percent from low-income backgrounds.

The plan would hurt military, minority and lower-income students the most, Falwell said. “The Virginia students who the elitist Democrats are attacking are the people who need the help the most.”

Online and Blended LearningEditorial Tags: Financial aidState policyVirginiaImage Source: Getty Images/Win McNameeImage Caption: Virginia governor Ralph Northam in 2017Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: 

Bipartisan group calls for more financial aid spending

Inside Higher Ed - jeu, 01/30/2020 - 01:00

In the 12 years since Congress last managed to renew the Higher Education Act, colleges have grown unaffordable, more graduates face stifling student debt and many do not graduate. The 2008 law has grown obsolete and does not deal with today's problems, say two lawmakers who played a leading role in the last reauthorization.

In a series of recommendations released Wednesday, a panel of former lawmakers and education experts, chaired by the top Democrat and Republican on the House education committee that helped write the last reauthorization law, called for billions more in student aid. The group, assembled by the Bipartisan Policy Center, would pay for it by phasing out education tax credits.

In addition to spending $90 billion more over 10 years to increase the maximum Pell Grant award and make more middle-income students eligible for the program, the task force, led by former California Democratic congressman George Miller, who chaired the Education and Labor Committee in 2008, and Howard McKeon, also of California, who served as the panel’s top Republican, proposed the creation of a $5 billion annual federal matching fund to encourage states to increase their own spending on higher education.

Though different in its details, and containing about $25 billion less over 10 years, the concept, in which states could get the federal grant only if they increased their own higher education spending, is similar to the federal-state partnership called for in the College Affordability Act, approved by the Democratic majority on the House education committee last October.

Along with concerns about price and student debt, the task force, in a 139-page report after 18 months of discussions, also lamented a lack of accountability of institutions. It criticized “an institutional accountability and quality assurance system that is insufficient and largely disconnected from the challenges” the system faces. The report called for a number of changes including requiring institutions to pay a fee based on how much their graduates owe.

The wide-ranging set of 45 recommendations also called for restructuring aid programs to better target those who most need it, including barring the wealthiest students from getting Pell Grants. “A disproportionate share of overall federal investment in higher education -- including the cost of tax incentives and loan forgiveness -- ends up flowing to higher-income individuals,” the report said.

In a call with reporters, Miller and McKeon acknowledged the uncertainty over whether a partisan Congress, embroiled in the impeachment trial, will be able to update what they see as an obsolete law, much less agree to the package of changes the task force wants.

The group included university leaders like F. King Alexander, president-elect of Oregon State University, and former New Mexico State University chancellor Garrey Carruthers, as well as political leaders such as former Vermont governor James H. Douglas, a Republican, and former Washington governor Christine Gregoire, a Democrat, both former chairs of the National Governors Association.

“It’s difficult to navigate the Congress of the United States at this period of time,” Miller said. “Whether a bill is ready to go or not to go, this conversation has to be had because it’s critical to families.”

McKeon said during the call, “There’s lots of good people in Congress, and they’re on both sides of the aisle. And there are some jerks, and they’re on both sides of the aisle,” adding, “I’m just hoping some statesmen will step up.”

The maximum Pell Grant now only covers 28 percent of the average tuition, the report said. Meanwhile, state appropriations for higher education fell from $7,146 per student in 1992 to $6,991 in 2018.

The task force’s members, however, were divided over whether the federal government should spend even more, on top of the $100 billion it already spends annually on student aid. It instead sought to make its recommendations budget neutral, proposing phasing out federal tax credits for educational expenses and student loan interest, saying they primarily benefit people with higher incomes. The move would save the federal government $200 billion over the next decade, which would pay for increasing spending on Pell Grants and the new matching funds for states.

In addition, the task force recommended a number of changes aimed at better targeting student loans to lower- and middle-income students, including limiting Pell Grants to the neediest students.

It also proposed making it harder to get other forms of aid or reducing the amount available through those programs. The report said Parent PLUS borrowers in the bottom income quartile have an average loan balance of $16,824, about twice their average salary of $7,748. The task force recommended making it tougher for parents to get loans by beginning to examine their ability to repay them. The task force instead proposed allowing low-income students to borrow more, saying they have a better chance of repaying loans than their parents do. The task also recommended the U.S. Department of Education examine capping Grad PLUS loans.

Tiffany Jones, Education Trust’s senior director of higher education policy, praised the idea of increasing Pell Grant spending and the creation of the state matching fund. “But restricting federal borrowing at a time of ever-increasing college costs could bring about negative consequences for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds,” she said in an email.

She worried also about putting institutions on the hook for their graduates' unpaid loans, saying it “could lead to reduced enrollment of students viewed as financially risky: students from low-income backgrounds with greater financial need and students of color who face discrimination in the labor market.”

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Colleges start new programs

Inside Higher Ed - jeu, 01/30/2020 - 01:00
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Chronicle of Higher Education: DonÔÇÖt Send ACT/SAT Scores to Northern Illinois U. It Just Went ÔÇÿTest-Blind.ÔÇÖ

In an interview with The Chronicle, the university’s director of admissions described the bottom-line reason for the policy change: The tests weren’t helping predict student success.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Transitions: Nazareth College Names Next Chief; New Provost at Loyola U. New Orleans

Elizabeth Paul will leave her post as president of Capital University to lead Nazareth College. Loyola University New Orleans' new chief academic officer will start in July.