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."

Thursday, June 8, 2017

I missed this story earlier

But there are morale troubles at another Tennessee community college. It would appear the president tried to hack into the faculty survey. So far, there doesn't appear to be a vote of no confidence. You have to feel sorry for the new Chancellor. From The Tennessean.

New report slams Nashville State for 'climate of fear and oppressiveness'
Professors at Nashville State Community College work in a "climate of fear and oppressiveness" fostered by top administrators, according to a blistering internal report commissioned by the college's governing board. 
Faculty described a senior leadership team at the state's second-largest community college that relied on "hostility, intimidation, and retaliation" to maintain order, according to the report. Among the evidence, the report's authors cited multiple attempts by top administrators to tamper with the ongoing assessment. 
The report, conducted by consultants at Middle Tennessee State University, includes an analysis of more than 50 interviews with current and former administrators and professors. A subsequent survey of 88 full-time faculty members exposed "dramatically negative" perceptions of the college's top leaders, particularly Nashville State President George Van Allen.
"Trust is low and fear is high," the report said. "Most view the trend for this negative climate as continuing to spiral downward."

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The hidden figures

Contained in pay gaps for college majors. Not the worst, but Math is right up there with an 18% pay gap between men and women. From MoneyWatch.

9 college majors with the biggest gender pay gap
2. Mathematics: -18 percent 
Women are underrepresented in college math programs, which counts as one of the majors with the highest pay after graduation. 
A degree in math doesn't mean a woman isn't getting shortchanged, however. Women earn just 82 cents for every $1 their male colleagues earn five years after graduation. On a dollar basis, that means women earn $49,182 annually compared with $60,000 for men.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Veterans don't do so well

At community colleges. Few graduate. From The Hechinger Report.

At some colleges that recruit veterans and their GI Bill money, none graduate
Among community colleges, a Hechinger Report review of the federal data suggests, an average of only 15 percent of full-time students receiving GI Bill money graduated with a two-year degree in 2014, the most recent period for which the figure is available. That includes those who took three years to do it — a particular problem for the other 85 percent, considering GI Bill benefits cover a maximum of 36 cumulative months in college, which should be enough for a bachelor’s degree but leaves little margin for error. The proportion attending part-time that graduated within three years was 7 percent. 
The national average three-year community college graduation rates for full-time and part-time students are 23 percent and 12 percent, respectively, the independent National Student Clearinghouse reports. 
At those 20 institutions with 100 or more GI Bill recipients eligible to finish in 2014, the government data disclose, even the ones with the highest veteran success rates managed to graduate only one in five. 
In all but one case — Trident Community College in Charleston — veterans graduated at much lower rates than other students.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

But a lot of successful people

Don't go to college! Not so many, it turns out. From

The myth of the college dropout
In a recent study, we investigated how many of the wealthiest and most influential people graduated college. We studied 11,745 U.S. leaders, including CEOs, federal judges, politicians, multi-millionaires and billionaires, business leaders and the most globally powerful men and women. 
We also examined how many people graduated from an “elite school.” (Our definition included the eight Ivy League schools, plus many of the top national universities and liberal arts colleges consistently high in the U.S. News rankings for both undergraduate and graduate education.) 
We found about 94 percent of these U.S. leaders attended college, and about 50 percent attended an elite school. Though almost everyone went to college, elite school attendance varied widely. For instance, only 20.6 percent of House members and 33.8 percent of 30-millionaires attended an elite school, but over 80 percent of Forbes’ most powerful people did. For whatever reason, about twice as many senators – 41 percent – as House members went to elite schools. 
For comparison, based on census and college data, we estimate that only about 2 to 5 percent of all U.S. undergraduates went to one of the elite schools in our study. The people from our study attended elite schools at rates well above typical expectations.