UC Irvine is under fire for rescinding 500 admission offers two months before fall term begins

Many insist the rescission notices cited reasons either minor or bogus — or gave no reason at all. They speculated that the campus simply was coming up with excuses to solve a problem after more students than expected said they planned to attend… Brent Yunek, associate vice chancellor of enrollment services, confirmed that more students signed formal statements of intent to register than anticipated… about 7,100 of the 31,103 freshmen offered admission to UC Irvine for this fall accepted it as of May, according to the UC Office of the President. That amounts to 850 more students than UC Irvine’s planned freshman class of 6,250, though some are expected to decide to enroll elsewhere this fall in what is known as “summer melt.” Still, in the last two years, the summer drop-off has been only about 250 students.

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by Teresa Watanabe, The Los Angeles Times.

The Rose-Colored Glasses Come Off: A Survey of Business Officers

…The emerging picture is decidedly less optimistic than that of previous years. This year, 71 percent of chief business officers agreed with the statement that media reports saying higher education is in the midst of a financial crisis are accurate. That is up from 63 percent in 2016 and 56 percent in 2015. Chief business officers at public and private nonprofit institutions varied only slightly in their assessment. At public universities, 68 percent of chief business officers agreed reports of a financial crisis in higher education are accurate, compared to 74 percent of chief business officers at private nonprofit institutions. The portion of chief business officers who believe their own institutions will be financially stable in the coming decade also dropped significantly. Just 56 percent of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their institutions will be financially stable over the next five years, down from 64 percent a year ago. Less than half, 48 percent, agreed or strongly agreed their institutions will be financially stable over the next 10 years, down from 54 percent a year ago.

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by Doug Lederman and Rick Seltzer, Inside Higher Ed.

Republicans don’t trust higher ed. That’s a problem for liberal academics

Only 36% of Republicans, according to the Pew Research Center, believe colleges and universities have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country, versus 58% who say they have a negative effect. Among Democrats, those figures are 72% and 19%, respectively. That finding represents a crisis… Who’s to blame for the fact that so few Republicans see the value in universities? The conservative media must accept some responsibility for encouraging its audiences to doubt expertise; so must those in the mainstream media who amplify every leftist kerfuffle on campus and make it seem as though trigger warnings are now at the center of college life… Sociologists Neil Gross and Solon Simmons have found that about half of professors identify as liberal, versus only 14% who identify as Republican. (At the time of their study, in 2006, only a fifth of American adults described themselves as liberal.)

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by Fredrik deBoer, Los Angeles Times.

State Funding Cuts Matter

On one side, typically inhabited by left-wing thinkers, is the camp that believes tuition has gone up over time because colleges have been starved by state and local funding cuts to higher education. On the other side, right-wing analysts often argue that the long-term decline in state funding — so-called state disinvestment — has little to no effect on tuition. Instead, they say, college tuition has gone up for other reasons, like meeting rising labor costs or feeding spending urges… That’s changing. New research in the journal Economics of Education Review finds the appropriation-cut-to-tuition pass-through rate has averaged 25.7 percent since 1987. In other words, for every $1,000 cut from per-student state and local appropriations, the average student can be expected to pay $257 more per year in tuition and fees. The research also indicates students are taking on more of the cost of state funding cuts in recent years than they were three decades ago. Before 2000, a student could be expected to pay $103 more in tuition for every $1,000 cut from public funding. After 2000, the figure jumps to $318.

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by Rick Seltzer, Inside Higher Ed.

Editorial: UC makes right call on free speech

Indeed, the recent crop of speakers and their supporters have at times seemed more eager to be refused than to be accommodated — and to therefore have the opportunity to accuse UC Berkeley of being a liberal echo chamber that has drifted a long way from the days when the Free Speech Movement began there. The Berkeley Republicans’ habit of demanding a particular date, time and venue without consulting the administration makes the university’s job more difficult. So do left-wing protesters threatening and carrying out violence, necessitating heightened security measures. If all the student group and its guests are looking for is a cancellation and a headline, maintaining an open campus will only serve to call their bluff.

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by The Editorial Board, The San Francisco Chronicle.

Republicans now say higher education does more harm to America than good

Today, the majority of Republicans have turned against higher education … A couple of weeks ago, the Pew Research Center released a new study of how Republicans and Democrats view five major institutions: churches, banks, labor unions, the news media, and colleges and universities. The findings that most got my attention were the ones on higher education. According to the report, some 58 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents now say that colleges and universities have a negative impact on the nation. Only 36 percent think higher education’s effect is positive. The older and more conservative the Republican polled, the less he or she approves of colleges … Last year, 45 percent of Republicans overall thought institutions of higher education had a negative impact. By comparison, 72 percent of Democrats (twice as many as Republicans) approve of the influence of colleges and universities; 19 percent disapprove.

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by Paul Prather, Lexington Herald Leader.

Cal Needs A Bailout

As Redford reports, current annual debt service on the construction stands at $18 million. That increases to $26 million in 2023 when the principal starts getting paid down. In theory, Cal could be paying the debt until the year 2113, long after the lifespan of the actual structure. It was a bad plan; a foreseeable bad plan. For the time being, the athletics department is responsible for the debt, though like the vast majority of schools, Cal athletics gets millions of dollars in subsidies already.

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by John Warner, Inside Higher Ed.

The Culling of Higher Ed Begins

The most extreme predictions envision hundreds and even thousands of colleges and universities closing over a decade or so. But more even-keeled analysts also have foreseen increases in the number of failing institutions… New federal data suggest the increasing financial pressures may be starting to take a toll on institutions. An annual report from the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics shows that the number of colleges and universities eligible to award federal financial aid to their students fell by 5.6 percent from 2015-16 to 2016-17. That’s the fourth straight decline since a peak of 7,416 institutions in 2012-13. It is also by far the largest (the others were 0.3, 1.2 and 2.0 percent, in order)… That combination of factors contributed to a one-year drop of 11.2 percent (from 3,265 to 2,899) in the number of Title IV-eligible for-profit institutions, according to the federal data, and a sharp decline of 17.8 percent since the 2012-13 academic year.

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by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed.

Cal State trustees grapple with boosting graduation rates and enrollment

… Although Cal State has made room for an additional 30,000 students since 2013, administrators said, the number of eligible applications continues to outpace the amount of funding provided by the state. After months of lobbying by faculty, students and staff, Gov. Jerry Brown last month signed off on a $20-million boost dedicated to increasing enrollment by about 3,000 students across the 23-campus system… Officials are grappling with how to enroll every Californian who wants a shot at higher education — all while juggling efforts to double the Cal State system’s four-year graduation rate to 40% by 2025, faculty salary demands and a number of other priorities. The state’s 2017-18 budget gave Cal State an additional $177.2 million in recurring annual funds — $20 million more than earlier proposals. Brown also approved a one-time, $20-million expenditure for efforts to increase graduation rates, as well as to address student hunger and fund equal employment opportunity programs.

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by Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times.

The UC application process is changing — and some people don’t like it

Currently, the University of California makes the vast majority of admissions decisions by looking at grades, classes, test scores, extracurricular activities and essays. But under a new policy, the UCs will be able to ask some applicants for more information — for instance, an updated transcript that includes first semester grades the student earned after initially applying, or a questionnaire asking about special talents or home environments. Perhaps a student doesn’t have many extracurricular activities because she’s watching her younger siblings after school, for instance… Ultimately, the regents voted last week to let campuses ask no more than 15 percent of freshman applicants for letters, and only when they need more information to decide whether to admit the student.

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by Emily DeRuy, The Mercury News.