June 24, 2016


Higher Education News:

Supreme Court Upholds Consideration of Race

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the University of Texas at Austin's consideration of race and ethnicity in college admissions. Some parts of the decision in the case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin . . . will likely apply to admissions and financial aid policies in most of American higher education. The decision was written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, generally considered a swing vote on many issues, but who has consistently in the past been skeptical of education policies based on race. (Inside Higher Ed - June 24, 2016)

House Committee Approves Five Bills in Move Toward Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act

​The House Education and the Workforce Committee this morning voted to approve five higher education measures focused on improving the financial aid process, enhancing consumer information and strengthening federal programs that support the work of minority-serving institutions such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Together these bills represent a bipartisan step forward in the ongoing process of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA). ACE and 20 other higher education associations sent a letter to the committee in advance of the vote, writing that they "appreciate the sponsors' efforts to help students and their families and are eager to collaborate with them to improve these bills and strike the appropriate balance in meeting those goals." (American Council on Education - June 22, 2016)

Accreditor on Life Support

The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools got closer to being terminated Thursday after the federal panel that oversees accrediting agencies voted to de-recognize the council, the largest national accreditor that oversees many for-profit colleges. The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) soon will pass its decision back to the U.S. Department of Education . . . and will have 90 days to decide the accreditor's fate. Once the decision is finalized, and if a court doesn't block it, the 245 colleges ACICS accredits . . . would have 18 months to find a new accreditor. (Inside Higher Ed - June 24, 2016)

67 Colleges Will Take Part in Education Dept.'s Pell-for-Prisoners Program

Sixty-seven institutions of higher education will participate in the U.S. Education Department's pilot program to make Pell Grants available to prison inmates, the department announced on Friday. The department announced the program in July of last year. Its rollout comes more than 20 years after Congress prohibited inmates from receiving Pell Grants. Participating two- and four-year colleges and universities will team up with state and federal correctional institutions, according to the department, and will teach inmates in physical classrooms at those facilities, online, and a hybrid of the two. (Chronicle of Higher Education - June 24, 2016)

Research News:

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support U.S. Research and Education

The U.S. science community got a big pat on the back today from members of the Senate commerce and science committee. The senators delivered their encouraging message in the form of a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and tweak policies on science education and innovation across the federal government. Two years in the making, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act finally makes its appearance as the Senate's proposed replacement of the 2010 America COMPETES Act that expired in 2013. (ScienceInsider - June 23, 2016)

White House Threatens to Veto Zika Bill as Senate Barrels Toward Uncertain Vote

The White House says President Obama would veto the $1.1 billion Zika funding package the House passed in the early morning hours Thursday, making it all but certain that the four-month odyssey to try to fund an emergency response to the virus is far from over. The threat from deputy White House press secretary Eric Schultz came as the Senate prepared for a vote next week, likely Tuesday, even though there's no guarantee that the Senate can round up the 60 votes necessary to break a filibuster as Democrats call the bill partisan and inadequate. (Stat News - June 23, 2016)

NIH Releases Final Policy on Use of Single IRBS

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) on June 21 published its long-awaited final NIH Policy on the Use of a Single Institutional Review Board for Multi-Site Research. NIH has been signaling this policy change since December 2015. The measure, which is designed to streamline the Institutional Review Board (IRB) review process, will take effect May 25, 2017. The policy "establishes the expectation that all sites participating in multi-site studies involving non-exempt human subjects research funded by NIH will use a single Institutional Review Board to conduct the ethical review required by the Department of Health and Human Services regulations for the Protection of Human Subjects..." NIH has prepared a number of resources to assist the research community in preparing for implementation of the policy. A set of FAQs, as well as guidance on scenarios illustrating the use of direct and indirect costs for single IRB review under the policy, are now available on the NIH Office of Science Policy website. (Association of American Universities - June 22, 2016)

Latest Golden Goose Award Recipients Announced

Two scientists whose work on the sex life of the screwworm has saved the livestock industry billions of dollars are the latest 2016 recipients of the Golden Goose Award. The honor recognizes scientists whose federally funded research may have seemed odd or obscure when first conducted but has resulted in significant benefits to society. Edward F. Knipling and Raymond C. Bushland will be honored posthumously at the fifth annual Golden Goose Award ceremony at the Library of Congress on Sept. 22. Two other teams of researchers will also be honored at the ceremony, including a group of five researchers who created a landmark study of adolescent health and whose Golden Goose award was announced March 31. A third team of 2016 award recipients will be announced later this year. (Association of American Universities - June 22, 2016)

Other News:

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Obama's Immigration Plan — and to Hopes of 'Dreamers'

The U.S. Supreme Court's deadlock on Thursday in a key immigration case disappointed college students who had hoped for reassurance that their parents and siblings wouldn't be deported. The 4-to-4 decision upheld a lower court's ruling to halt President Obama's plans to extend protection from deportation to up to five million more people. The decision won't affect the status of students and others who were granted protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was enacted in 2012. (Chronicle of Higher Education - June 24, 2016)

2016 Presidential Campaign:

Fact-Checking Trump Assertion on Clinton For-Profit Ties

As Donald Trump and his supporters have sought to change the subject from Trump University, they have seized on reporting from Inside Higher Ed and other news outlets about Bill Clinton's ties to Laureate Education, which paid him $16.5 million in the honorary role of chancellor of Laureate International Universities from 2010 to 2014. But the Republican presidential candidate's backers have also suggested -- incorrectly, it seems -- that Hillary Clinton directed tens of millions of dollars in State Department funds to the for-profit higher education company. (Inside Higher Ed - June 23, 2016)


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