The Obama administration will begin emailing 3.5 million student loan borrowers in the next month in an attempt to bolster enrollment in government income-based repayment programs, Inside Higher Education reported. According to a sample email, one targeted group will be borrowers who owe $25,000 or more and are currently using a grace period, but department spokespeople declined to discuss other borrowers who would receive emails. The initiative is part of Obama’s higher education reform plan, launched in August. Despite previous attempts to promote registration in income-based programs, as of June enrollment remained at around 7 percent of borrowers whose loans were in repayment
The Obama administration argued colleges should be allowed “due regard” of their educational goals and how affirmative action meets them when courts consider affirmative action policies in a brief filed on Friday, Inside Higher Education reported. The brief follows the Supreme Court ruling in June that courts cannot approve race considerations in admission simply because colleges offer “good faith.” The brief said colleges should make the call if their level of diversity is sufficient, rather than relying solely on the percentage of minority students, and proposes that colleges survey students to determine campus opportunities, minority leadership and cross-racial interaction. While weighing the evidence, courts should take into account how universities analyze the data gathered as compared to their educational goals. The argument could sway the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in regards to a challenge to the University of Texas at Austin’s admissions policies.
Using its own open platform, Stanford is attempting to reclaim the massive open online course brand from private companies Coursera and Udacity, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on Monday. Coursera founders and former Stanford professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng left the university to start the company. Since then, and with the additional departure of former professor Sebastian Thrun to found Udacity, Stanford has struggled to compete with the companies, despite being the basis for their content. In response, the university has begun using Open edX, an open-source platform developed by East Coast MOOC nonprofit provider edX, for some of its course offerings. Despite revamping its platform, Stanford only lists four MOOCs being taught on Open edX this fall, compared with Coursera’s 10.