Higher Education In The News…

Education Sees Drop in Average Gift From Wealthy Donors

The average size of gifts from wealthy individuals to education at all levels was $12,759 in 2009, down from $28,329 in 2007 (with the 2007 figures adjusted for inflation), a drop of 55 percent, according to data released Tuesday by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. The center conducts biennial surveys of giving by “high net worth individuals,” those from households with an income greater than $200,000 and/or a net worth of at least $1,000,000, excluding the value of their primary residence. The size of all gifts from those studied fell by 34.9 percent.

Presidential Ambivalence on Tenure

A poll by The Atlantic of a select group of college presidents has found a roughly even split between those who favor continuing tenure and those who question it. Further, a majority said that “little would actually change” at their institutions if tenure disappeared entirely in higher education. However, most predicted that this would only happen in a circumstance where all institutions could act at the same time, and that academic criticism would be greater if just one institution abolished tenure. The 30 participants in the survey cannot be said to be representative of higher education. The group includes the leaders of 20 research universities (including three Ivies) and 10 liberal arts colleges.

Rand Paul Is OK With Earmarks (for His State)

Tea Party candidates such as Rand Paul were emphatic in their campaigns about the evils of earmarks and the need to eliminate them. But Paul, the senator-elect from Kentucky, has developed some flexibility on the subject. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he said that while earmarks are a bad “symbol,” he will push for earmarks for Kentucky, as long as the earmarks are sought and voted on in public. “I will advocate for Kentucky’s interests,” he said. That change of heart may comfort Kentucky colleges and universities that — in an Inside Higher Ed analysis of earmarks this year — did quite well with earmarks.

Kaplan’s Woes

An article in today’s New York Times explores the pressures on Kaplan University at a time that its parent company, The Washington Post Co., is increasingly relying on it for revenue and federal regulators and whistle-blowers are stepping up scrutiny of the for-profit education sector. While the article notes the toll that the attention has taken on the company, it remains lucrative. The Times said that Kaplan’s revenue in the last quarter was up 9 percent – to $743.3 million — and that revenue from higher education is four times greater than revenue from test-prep, the company’s original service.


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