May 21, 2018
A decade after the last comprehensive overhaul of federal higher education law, Congress is again working on a rewrite of the nation’s higher education policy – with legislation that could come to the House floor this year. As our economy continues to produce outsized job growth for positions requiring a college education, it’s more important than ever that federal policy works to expand college access, foster college affordability, and strengthen workforce competitiveness.
May 17, 2018
University of Texas at San Antonio President Taylor Eighmy has announced numerous initiatives since taking the helm last September. Recently, a series of town hall meetings convened on campus to elicit feedback and elaborate on the long-term vision for one of those initiatives – the UTSA downtown campus. Key aspects of the vision and planning for Downtown UTSA include new buildings for classrooms, offices, dormitories and mixed-used development in order to offer a full curriculum, student housing and a truly robust campus experience. In addition to increasing the student population and ensuring a full-service university facility – in effect, an autonomous campus – Downtown UTSA will establish new schools and institutes. As a first step, a request for proposals addressing the repurposing of Cattleman’s Square should go out this summer.
May 17, 2018
When Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016, the scientific research community braced for the worst. Funding for science research had stalled in the past decade. And on the campaign trail, Trump talked about drastic cuts to federal spending. For scientists, his overall attitude caused concern, such as when he called climate change a "hoax." When he released his budget request in May 2017, it did nothing to alleviate concerns that he'd decimate federal funding for scientific research. Across the nation, universities and researchers cautioned against it. "It was not a positive budget for the future of our country," says Jennifer Poulakidas, vice president for congressional and governmental affairs at the Association of Public Land-grant Universities.
May 17, 2018
Students across the country are walking across the stage this month to accept college diplomas, marking one of the most consequential achievements of their lives. Yet far too many of their peers come agonizingly close to joining them on the podium, only to fall just short of the credits needed to graduate. For some of these students, financial strain has simply knocked them off course. We tend to view financial aid as something that seals the deal for students: with the door of opportunity open, the only thing standing between them and a degree is their drive to complete it. But while financial aid sets students on the path to graduation, even the most determined students can fail to reach the finish line when financial shortfalls arise late in their college career.
May 11, 2018
The first graduate of the University of Idaho’s computer science bachelor’s degree partnership with North Idaho College, Adrian Beehner, crossed the stage this week to a bright future in our increasingly tech-focused economy. Without leaving Coeur d’Alene, the newly minted Vandal graduate was able to seamlessly transfer from NIC to earn a four-year degree from U of I. For Adrian, his family, his future employers and the region, his story matters a great deal. Unfortunately, in one key way, Adrian’s success doesn’t count. Adrian’s accomplishments matter very much – he’s grown as a thinker and leader, acquired new skills and gained a necessary credential for a solid financial future. But the federal government doesn’t count his success. Federal graduation data does not count transfer, part-time or returning students in official graduation rates. Only full-time students, starting and finishing at the same institution, are counted in the data.
May 11, 2018
President Trump last year issued an executive order calling for an expansion of apprenticeship opportunities while also increasing federal funding for such programs by roughly $100 million. The U.S. Department of Labor subsequently pulled together a 20-member task force of experts, including the secretaries of education, labor and commerce, to develop recommendations to make that expansion a reality. Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and a senior White House adviser, was on the task force. Representing traditional higher education were Walter Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges, and Mark Rosenberg, president of Florida International University.
April 26, 2018
In President Donald Trump’s determination to dismantle all things Obama, his administration should spare the former president’s higher-education student loan reforms. They provide opportunities for more students to attend college and to repay loans at a rate that won’t put graduates on the road to ruin.
April 24, 2018
Eradicating health disparities for minority populations in urban areas has been a persistent struggle for healthcare researchers and organizations at both the local and national levels. While numerous causes have been identified as contributing to ongoing inequities — such as a lack of community providers and resources — these factors have been difficult to change. This was the challenge for the steering committee of the Urban Universities for HEALTH learning collaborative. Launched in 2013, the collaborative is a joint effort by the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU), Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), the NIH National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
April 18, 2018
If there’s anyone in Congress who would understand the challenges many students face in paying for a higher education – and the value it adds to our economy and society – it should be North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx. She holds a doctorate in teaching, she taught and was an administrator at a community college and university – including serving as president of Mayland Community College. Many of her innovative initiatives were focused helping students gain access to greater opportunities including on-campus child care and improved counseling and advising.
April 12, 2018
A congressional hearing Wednesday focused on the vulnerability of U.S. academic institutions to foreign espionage activities and intellectual property theft. The hearing, held by two subcommittees of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, suggests that higher education is likely to continue coming under scrutiny from lawmakers who argue that it should be doing more to protect against threats posed by foreign intelligence collectors -- including what one witness, the journalist Daniel Golden, described as the “small but significant percentage of international students and faculty [who] come to help their countries gain recruits for clandestine operations, insights into U.S. government plans and access to sensitive military and civilian research.”