Highlights in Higher Ed: Cyber Threats and False Information

Cyber threats toward colleges

A new report from Moody’s Investors Service shows that while colleges and universities tend to be “highly vulnerable” in the cyber world, those institutions with the highest risk also have more financial resources to ward off threats. Among the potential targets of hackers are student records, medical information and research data, which are usually housed online for easy access by students and faculty. State-sponsored groups, in particular, may continue to try to gain access to research and intellectual data. Some colleges are upping their security game by hiring chief privacy officers; five universities recently joined together to create a shared operations center, OmniSO, that helps detect and prevent threats.

Source: Education Dive

Incorrect reporting results in removal of ranking

The University of Oklahoma became the latest school to be removed from the U.S. News & World Report rankings after it was discovered the school had knowingly submitted incorrect data since 1999. The incorrect data concerned the two-year rate of alumni giving, which counts for 5% of the rankings. In the past few years, at least eight other schools have submitted incorrect data, some knowingly and some by mistake. All have been removed from the rankings list as well. For example, Boston University incorrectly reported research costs for 2018, Eastern Virginia Medical School overstated the percentage of its M.D. graduates who entered primary care and the University of Akron reported inaccurate GMAT scores and undergraduate GPA averages.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

A monopoly on textbooks?

Just as the Olympics are broadcast by NBC and the CrossFit Games are sponsored by Reebok, colleges and universities are open to similar types of commercial agreements. While some colleges have made deals to sell only Coca-Cola products, for example, others are making similar deals with textbook companies. In New Jersey, Union College and Cengage entered into a deal that results in a discount if the college buys in bulk. Faculty are encouraged to choose Cengage books but are not required to. Students can also opt out of purchasing Cengage books.

Source: EdSurge

US college debt is not the norm

Student debt in the United States recently reached $1.5 trillion, yet students in other countries are graduating with little or no debt. What accounts for the difference? In Denmark, tuition is financed by taxes, and students who do not live with their parents receive a stipend for living costs. If they study abroad, they bring that tax-paid-for tuition with them and apply for scholarships for plane tickets. Denmark also spends 1.6% of its GDP on college education, almost twice the 0.9% the U.S. spends. Brazil offsets private college education with government-funded scholarships. In Canada, only about half of undergraduate students graduate with debt.

Source: The New York Times