Thursday, June 22, 2017

Rounding error

Even on your income taxes, you round up. Not so with grants from the Department of Education. Betsy DeVos has said she would not reconsider West Virginia State University's Upward Bound application.  There may still be hope for West Virginia University's McNair Scholars. (Harsh, but the old English teacher in me still thinks you need to follow the directions...). From The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

$2 mistake costs WVU thousands of federal dollars
West Virginia State University was not the only college in West Virginia to recently lose federal funding for a program that benefits low-income first-generation college students. 
A $2 mistake on an application from West Virginia University means the school will lose more than $200,000 to fund its McNair Scholars program, which could mean the end of the 18-year program. 
“We have had really good success through the program, and it would really be a shame for it not to be renewed,” said John Bolt, a WVU spokesman. 
In years past, the school’s McNair program paired 25 students a year with professors in their respective fields with the goal of encouraging disadvantaged students to pursue graduate school and earn a doctoral degree. Students spent an intensive six weeks during the summer working on a research project and participated in seminars throughout the year. 
In 2012, WVU received $219,998 to fund the program for five years. When it came time to reapply, Bolt said schools were instructed by the federal government to request the same amount they had previously received. 
WVU rounded up by $2. 
The U.S. Department of Education, which awards the money, sent a letter to WVU saying it would not read the application. More than 200 students have gone through the McNair program at WVU since its inception, according to Bolt. 
Similarly, a $104 mistake on WVSU’s application for funding of another program lost the school about half a million dollars, ending the 50-year Upward Bound program. Like McNair Scholars, Upward Bound encourages low-income students to go to college. 
Most of Upward Bound’s participants go on to become the first in their family to earn a college degree.

Monday, June 19, 2017

What's going on with Tennessee

Community college presidents? Another resigns after an investigation, and troubles brew at Nashville State. From The Tennessean.

Motlow State president resigns amid scathing audit of his leadership
Motlow State Community College President Tony Kinkel resigned late Tuesday, a day before the completion of a blistering internal audit that accused him of using "fear, intimidation, hostility and condescension" as mainstays of his leadership. 
The audit, performed by the Tennessee Board of Regents and completed Wednesday, described a dismal work environment that pushed several longtime employees to leave the college because of Kinkel. 
Auditors said that, as their work neared completion, Kinkel pressured multiple employees to discredit the findings in an apparent attempt to save his job. 
"The manipulation of both people and information has created a sense of distrust among faculty and administrators that is deep," the audit read. "The pressure placed on employees to do things they consider inappropriate or to take on unreasonable workloads is attributable to employees' fear of retribution and of being labeled as not being a team player." 
Complaints logged throughout Kinkel's tenure of less than two years triggered the audit. Additional allegations "regarding the President’s management of the College, integrity, treatment of employees, and handling of personnel matters" were logged while the auditors worked on the project this year. 
The audit and Kinkel's resignation represent another controversy for the Board of Regents, which is already dealing with high-profile problems with presidents at two other campuses.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Meanwhile, over the mountains in North Carolina

A college is making its faculty and staff oppose gay marriage. Sigh. From NBC News.

Private College Mandates Staff Signs Document Opposing Gay Marriage
A private North Carolina Christian college is insisting that its faculty and staff sign a document that opposes same-sex marriage and abortion. One faculty member says she and eight of her colleagues have refused to sign it and are leaving the school. 
News media outlets report that part of Montreat College's "Community Life Covenant" expects those who work there to affirm "the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman" and the "worth of every human being from conception to death." 
Covenant opponents blame the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which contributed $100,000 to the college's scholarship fund last month. The fund is led by Franklin Graham, a Montreat College alumnus and an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage and abortion. The association has denied any role in the covenant, however.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Over ten years

Public university tuition has really, really increased as state support has dwindled. MSN Money lists the top 100 institutions with the largest increases. My alma mater is number 100. The University of Tennessee is number 14. Lots of Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida institutions on the list.

The 100 colleges with the biggest tuition hikes
State: Illinois
Percent in-state tuition increase (2005-2015): 61.5%
Percent out-of-state tuition increase (2005-2015): 57.26%
Tuition and fees (2015-2016): $12,889.00
Tuition and fees (2005-2006): $7,980.66
Total enrollment (2015): 11,094

Monday, June 12, 2017

Rhode Island looks to Tennessee

For advice about free community college tuition. It's a movement gaining momentum. From The Tennessean.

Why Rhode Island turned to Tennessee for college advice
Tennessee was the first state in the nation to adopt a statewide scholarship that allowed new high school graduates to attend college tuition-free. Since the program launched in 2014, tuition-free college became a rallying point for Democrats. Many Democratic states — including Rhode Island, New York and Oregon — have adopted or considered the model pioneered by Tennessee. 
"Quite frankly, this is a good idea," Raimondo said. "It’s a bipartisan issue. This is about jobs." 
Throughout the call, Rhode Island college leaders quizzed Haslam about Tennessee Promise. In his answers, the governor shared parts of the origin story behind the program and the philosophy that helped shape it. 
Haslam said the need for Tennessee Promise, and other college programs, stemmed from the fact that "we had too big of a culture here where people thought that school beyond high school wasn’t for them. Their parents and grandparents hadn’t gone to school beyond high school; they didn’t need to. 
"It came to me when I was in one of our rural, more economically disadvantaged areas. And one of the principals of the high school said, 'Our kids don’t go to school after high school. They’re not that kind of kids,'" Haslam said, recounting a conversation with a high school principal. 
Working with his team, Haslam said he decided they "needed to shock the system."