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The Philippines Senate has approved a landmark bill to provide free tuition for students in all state universities and colleges. The Free Higher Education for All Act was passed unanimously on Monday by a vote of 18-0.

The bill establishes an initial tuition subsidy fund of PHP15 billion (US$298 million) administered by the Commission on Higher Education or CHED, the country’s higher education governing body. It also provides financial assistance to students in private and vocational institutions. More than 1.6 million students currently enrolled in one of the 112 state institutions will be covered by the fund.

“This bill is for the Filipino youth who are struggling to finish their college education as well as their parents who are working hard to pay for the expenses of their schooling,” said Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino, the bill’s author.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, a co-sponsor of the bill, also lauded the move, the final stage in the bill’s passage through parliament. “This is a collective victory for those of us who believe that equitable access to education at all levels is the foundation upon which we may build a just and prosperous future for our country,” he said in a statement.

The passage of the bill comes nearly three months after Congress allocated PHP8.3 billion (US$165 million) under the 2017 national budget to provide free tuition for students in state universities and colleges for the upcoming academic year, and means that free tuition becomes law rather than depending on the yearly budget.

Gatchalian first tabled free tuition legislation in July 2015 when he was a member of the House of Representatives, or lower house, but the bill did not succeed in its passage through the Philippines parliament.

While acknowledging last year’s budgetary increase was “a promising start”, he continued to push for a bill to “make the free tuition policy in state universities and colleges a permanent reality”.

‘Unintended consequences’

The Kabataan Partylist, a youth party in the House of Repr

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The Uganda National Council of Higher Education says it is being frustrated by the tendency of some private universities to seek remedy from the courts rather than engage with the regulator in the interests of preserving quality.

The National Council of Higher Education, or NCHE, Executive Director Professor John Opuda-Asibo told University World News that some private universities seek to use "power plays", delaying tactics and tend to "politicise" matters instead of holding talks directly with the regulator to rectify faults.

He said with increased engagement between NCHE and universities, it would be possible to adhere to the rules agreed in order to maintain academic quality as well as separate the interests of management from the interests of private owners.

A recent example of institutions turning to the courts is that of Busoga University, a private institution founded by the Church of Uganda under the Busoga Diocese in eastern Uganda.

Fraudulent graduations

In December the NCHE revoked the provisional education licence held by Busoga University. Last month, the latter approached the Constitutional Court seeking orders to reverse the revocation.

The NCHE clamped down on the university after investigations into fraudulent graduations. According to media reports, the university fraudulently graduated 1,000 students after only five months of study. Some of these were Nigerians, while the majority were South Sudanese government officials and army generals.

It was claimed that some of the students did not meet entry requirements and were admitted under unclear circumstances and that some were enrolled in unaccredited courses.

The students, eager to keep their jobs backed by academic qualifications, allegedly each paid US$1,000 dollars to get their degrees after five months, instead of paying the usual US$300 per semester.

The students were transferred from Star University College in Juba, South Sudan, which is affiliated to Busoga University. Another 70 students from Nigeria who were stud

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Students who were scammed by a for-profit college back in the '80s could get their money back under the Trump administration.

The Wilfred American Education Corp. used to run beauty and secretarial schools that primarily attracted low-income students, usually women.

In 1988, Wilfred had 58 schools and more than 11,000 students, making it one of the largest for-profit college chains in the country.

Many of those students used federal loans to pay for their education. But in 1991, Wilfred was found guilty of fraud in two different federal court cases.

By law, the Department of Education should have canceled the student loans after the school was shut down. That didn't happen.

Seven former Wilfred students sued President Obama's Education Department, demanding their student debt be canceled and the loan payments they made over the years be reimbursed. They were among 60,000 people who took out government-backed loans to go to Wilfred.

That lawsuit was originally dismissed on a technicality. The decision was overturned when a judge said the Education Department was required to tell students if they're eligible to cancel a loan.

Now, four people familiar with the case told Bloomberg the federal government is considering a deal. It would allow students to petition to cancel their debt and get refunds on past payments.

The outlet notes a lawyer for the students said in a March 9 filing that they "have made substantial progress toward a final settlement," but no official agreement has been submitted to the court yet.

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Senate Democrats want Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to explain why she’s delaying the implementation of an Obama-era rule aimed at ensuring career-training programs, specifically those at for-profit colleges, actually prepare students for good-paying jobs.

In a letter to DeVos this week, Sens. Dick Durbin

(Ill.), Patty Murray

(Wash.) and Elizabeth Warren

(Mass.) called the department’s gainful employment rule a critical protection for both students and taxpayers.

On Jan. 9, the department released final debt-to-earning rates for career training programs required by the rule finalized under Obama in October 2014.

Under the rule, the estimated annual loan payment of a typical graduate would have to be at or below 20 percent of his or her discretionary income or 8 percent of his or her total earnings to be considered a program that leads to gainful employment.
Programs that exceed these levels would be at risk of losing their ability to participate in taxpayer-funded federal student aid programs.

Late last week the department gave schools more time to appeal their ratings, which are generated using earnings data from the Social Security Administration and debt information from the department’s records and the school.

Final appeals, originally due March 10, are now due July 1.

But Democrats argue the rule was generous to begin with, giving schools three opportunities to appeal their rates.

“According to a Department spokesperson, the delay was also due to ‘a question about whether schools can provide data to a third party,’” the senators wrote. “It is unclear how this question could not have been solved through follow-up guidance rather than a delay.”

DeVos is also giving Gainful Employment Programs until July 1 to switch to a new format in meeting the requirement to disclose information about their programs, including graduation rates, tuition and fee amounts, typical student debt upon graduation and what a graduate is likely to earn.

The senators asked DeVos how long

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RANCHI: The state higher and technical education department plans to provide aid to private engineering and polytechnic colleges to develop infrastructural facility and increase the gross enrolment ratio of the higher education institutes.

Sources in the higher education department said the government plans to provide up to Rs 6 crore to private engineering colleges and around Rs 3 crore to private polytechnic institutions to help them upgrade their laboratories and use smart technologies in their classrooms. There are 11 private engineering colleges and 16 private polytechnic colleges in the state.

Department secretary Ajay Kumar Singh said, "The funds will be given to the existing colleges in instalments. An amount of Rs 2 crore and Rs 1 crore will be given as first instalment to engineering and polytechnic colleges."

The department has laid down a host criteria for the institutes to be eligible for the aid: The institutes need to be recognised by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and have their financial statements of past five years audited. The colleges also need to be affiliated to state board of technical education.

The second instalment will be given to colleges only if it is accredited by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA).


Once the grant is provided to the colleges they will have to ensure that students from the state are enrolled in 60% of the total seats for a span of five years.

The department will also provide land to new colleges planning to set up their campuses in state if they get AICTE recognition.


"The national gross enrolment ratio is 23.6% while the state ratio is 13.4% only. We aim to increase this ratio to up to 30% by 2018, and for this we want more private colleges in the state," Singh said.

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The government has suffered further defeats in the House of Lords on plans in England for the teaching excellence framework and the opening up of the sector to new private providers.

Earlier in the week, peers defeated the government by passing an amendment that ensures the results of the TEF should not be used to determine the fees that an institution can charge.

On 8 March, the House of Lords – where the government does not have a majority – inflicted further defeats.

The government now has the choice of accepting the amendments, or bidding to force through its proposals with the backing of MPs.

An amendment, proposed by crossbencher Baroness Wolf, Labour peer Lord Stevenson and Liberal Democrat Lord Storey, was passed that would severely limit the government’s flagship plans to bring in new providers to compete with universities. Critics backing the amendment had warned of risks from for-profit providers gaining degree awarding powers and university status.

The amendment would ensure new providers either remain subject to the same requirement to pass through four years of validation before they can gain their own degree awarding powers, or had been granted permission to use such powers by a quality assessment committee.

The government had wanted private providers to be able to award degrees on a probationary basis from the start of their operation and for England’s new regulator, the Office for Students, to take over the granting of degree awarding powers.

The OfS would also have to be “assured that the provider operated in the public interest and in the interest of students” to gain degree powers, says the amendment, passed by 201 votes to 186.

On the TEF, peers also backed an amendment that would ensure the government still creates “a scheme to assess and provide consistent and reliable information about the quality of education and teaching”, but prevents such an exercise from being used “to create a single composite ranking of English higher education providers”, as well as ensuring that its data a

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Comeback of for-profit medical schools brings questions of reputation, quality of education

After nearly a century of dormancy, for-profit medical schools are making a return in the United States. A recent paper by University researchers analyzed the history, reappearance and possible effects that these schools could have on medical education.

Though at one time for-profit medical schools existed in the United States, this changed with the publishing of Abraham Flexner’s 1910 report on the state of these schools, according to the paper. There were numerous critiques of these schools in Flexner’s report, particularly of the standards, requirements, teaching and students’ clinical and research exposure. The report led to a renovation of medical teaching and the subsequent disappearance of for-profit institutions.

The medical education system accepted nearly all students who could afford to pay tuition prior to 1910, Gruppuso said. “There was no standardized set of requirements for medical schools, and it was creating a real crisis in terms of quality for medical care.”

In 1996, the court case United States v. American Bar Association made it possible for for-profit law schools to be established, according to the paper. Though the Liaison Committee on Medical Education had previously been opposed to for-profit medical schools, they slowly began to change their opinions after the court case and eventually allowed for for-profit medical schools to be established in 2013.

According to the paper, a number of investor-owned schools, such as the Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, have been accredited, and more have received preliminary and provisional accreditation.

Philip Gruppuso, professor of pediatrics and an author of the paper, said the main point of the article was to bring both the existence and establishment of these for-profit schools to public attention.

“(This article) sheds light on the fact that not all medical schools in the United States are nonprofit institutions, so I’m not

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President Donald Trump’s administration has begun relaxing restrictions on for-profit colleges, and traders in shares of companies like Strayer Education Inc. (STRA) and Capella Education Co. (CPLA) have taken note.

For-profit college stocks soared in the week after the Department of Education announced a delay in the implementation of a regulation finalized in October 2014 by former President Barack Obama.

Shares of Strayer Education, a holding company for Strayer University, climbed 2.5 percent in the week following the March 6 announcement, hitting a high of $81.40 shortly after Monday market open, while Capella Education, the parent of Capella University, grew 1.8 percent over the same period, surpassing $78 Monday morning. Grand Canyon Education Inc. (LOPE), the parent of Grand Canyon University, rose 3.5 percent over the past week to an all-time high of $67.49, and Laureate Education Inc. (LAUR), which counts Walden University as one of its for-profit institutions and was formerly known as Sylvan Learning Systems, saw its shares rise 0.6 percent to nearly $13 Monday. DeVry Education Group Inc. (DV), known for its DeVry University, saw a more modest 0.4 percent rise over the past week.

The Department of Education initially required for-profit colleges, along with some nonprofit and public schools, to report data on the success of their job training programs by April 3, but under new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the date was pushed to July 1. The rule, which was originally slated for implementation on July 1, 2015, would cut back on federal funding for institutions whose programs did not lead to "gainful employment"— meaning graduates’ annual loan payments exceeded 20 percent of their income.

For-profit colleges, whose attendees tend to be disproportionately female, minority and low-income, have long faced criticism for their role in the student debt crisis. Data released from the Department of Education in September linked more than 35 percent of student debt defaults in 2013 to the institutions, des

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I’m working with a client to help fill a management level position, and last week we interviewed an applicant with three degrees from a for-profit university.

As college degrees become more important for both hiring and advancement, these for-profit educational institutions are growing in number and presence. For-profit schools are just that — businesses. They are corporations, often with shareholders, that have the objective of making a profit. Education is their product. If you’re thinking about going back to school, here are some things to consider before you commit your time or your money to these businesses.

Consider your objective. If you want a technical skill, the for-profit route may be for you. Most of these schools do not have entrance requirements. Money and a high school diploma or its equivalent will get you a seat in the program.

If you want a college education, consider that the for-profit degrees come with limits. Credits for your work may not transfer to other programs. A bachelor of science degree may not qualify you to move into a graduate program with another school. Most employers will give preference to a candidate with a degree from a traditional university. And if you’re thinking about an advanced degree that will allow you to teach at the university level, don’t even consider the for-profit route. If your objective is flexibility, remember that many traditional universities are now offering online classes and flexible scheduling.

Pay attention to accreditation. Accreditation for the university AND for specific programs is a big deal. Learn what accreditation means. Know what the standard of excellence is. Lack of appropriate accreditation may mean your degree is worth very little.

Pay attention to cost. Congress is now involved in investigating the costs of for-profit schools. Many state schools are now offering online, evening and weekend programs for much less money. For example, the Georgia WebMBA program is a fully online 18-month master’s program offered through a consortium of

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Alums of a disgraced for-profit college chain have spent years trying to cancel their federal student loans. For three years in federal court, the Obama Department of Education told them to keep on paying. Improbably, the Trump administration is poised to say differently.

Under a preliminary accord, the federal government would invite tens of thousands of former students, who more than 20 years ago attended beauty and secretarial schools owned by defunct Wilfred American Education Corp., to petition the Education Department to cancel their unpaid debt and receive refunds on past payments, according to four people familiar with the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing confidential settlement negotiations. The applications are almost certain to be approved, these people said, and the government would foot the bill.

The deal-which is not complete and may change-would resolve a 2014 class-action lawsuit against the Education Department brought by seven former Wilfred students who claimed the feds for decades had been wrongfully collecting on debt that students needn't repay. Federal law allows borrowers to cancel their loans when their schools violate certain rules, and Wilfred routinely flouted the law by falsely certifying that its students were eligible for government loans, according to the complaint. The lawsuit claimed the department knew the loans were eligible to be forgiven, yet it made no effort to inform debtors of this right.

If finalized, the settlement would represent one of the largest debt-forgiveness schemes undertaken by the Education Department. That it didn't happen under Obama, who championed student debt relief measures, and instead could happen under Trump, who in November agreed to pay $25 million to settle several lawsuits tied to his own foray into for-profit education, could upend expectations that a Trump-overseen Education Department would favor the interests of for-profit schools over those of allegedly defrauded students.

Jim Margolin, a spokesman f

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