News in brief

August 9, 2012

United States

For-profits lose California gold

Most for-profit institutions in California have lost their eligibility for the state's needs-based financial aid programme. In a measure that was expected to save an estimated $55 million (£35.2 million), the California Student Aid Commission will eliminate or reduce Cal Grants awards to 14,500 students, most of whom are enrolled in for-profit universities. While the state's public universities and most of its not-for-profit private colleges met the new standards for graduation rates and student loan defaults, 137 out of 170 for-profit institutions did not, The Sacramento Bee reported. These included Kaplan College and the University of Phoenix, whose spokesman Ryan Rauzon said the change would disproportionately affect mature students.


Harvard hopes for legal win-win

The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development will fund what it hopes will become a world-class graduate law school. The project, in conjunction with Harvard Law School's Institute for Global Law and Policy, is part of an initiative by Hamad Bin Khalifa University to create a Qatar-based law school with three integrated strands - a doctoral programme, a research institute and a faculty development programme. The foundation's support will aid Harvard's plans to extend its global reach for legal education, reported In return, the institute will assist in the development of the school's academic programme and admissions policy, and offer other academic and administrative expertise.


Fees: freer may not be easier

Australia's vice-chancellors should be careful what they wish for in terms of deregulating tuition fees, a UK mission group head has warned. At a Universities Australia policy workshop last week, Libby Hackett, director of the University Alliance group of British institutions, said that deregulation would probably lead to big fee hikes, similar to what has happened in the UK. This could force the government to abandon its demand-driven funding system and reinstate caps on funded student numbers. "If people are talking about increasing fees they need to understand some of the possible unintended consequences, and one of those is that you might lose your demand-driven system," Ms Hackett told The Australian. She added that the introduction of £9,000 fees had not led to significant price competition in the UK. Her comments came as the Australian Medical Association also warned against increasing student fees.


Agenda for unexpected change

The registrar of an Indian university has been suspended for "serious dereliction of duty". K.R. Jyothilal, vice-chancellor of Kerala Agricultural University, has suspended P.B. Pushpalatha pending an inquiry. The suspension order says agenda notes circulated among members of the general council by Ms Pushpalatha at a recent meeting had not been approved by the vice-chancellor or by the executive committee, The Hindu reported. Ms Pushpalatha claimed that the suspension order had violated university rules. P.K. Rajeevan, professor at the university's College of Horticulture, has been appointed interim registrar.


Scientist held on kickback charge

A Japanese academic has been arrested and charged with taking bribes from a medical equipment sales firm in return for equipment contracts. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor's Office arrested Gozo Tsujimoto, former professor in the department of pharmacogenomics at Kyoto University's Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, along with two senior managers of the company, Med Shirotori. The pharmaceutical scientist, who left the university in late June after the scandal was reported, allegedly received about ¥6.2 million (£50,745) in exchange for helping the company to sell medical equipment to the institution, The Japan Times reported. Prosecutors claim that he used a Med Shirotori credit card between September 2007 and June 2011 to pay for restaurant meals and shopping trips worth about ¥4.76 million, and had the company pay about ¥1.44 million in international travel costs for him and his family. Med Shirotori reportedly won at least five contracts at Kyoto worth a combined ¥246 million between 2007 and 2011.

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