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Current News in Higher Ed

•With their huge databases, universities may rival financial institutions as attractive targets for crime, estimated to affect 9 million Americans a year at the total cost of more than $50 billion, experts said. Nearly half of the publicized incidents of data breach since January occurred at universities, according to the San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center. (The Washington Post/Reuters, 8/17/05)
•With their huge databases, universities may rival financial institutions as attractive targets for crime, estimated to affect 9 million Americans a year at the total cost of more than $50 billion, experts said. Nearly half of the publicized incidents of data breach since January occurred at universities, according to the San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center. (The Washington Post/Reuters, 8/17/05)

•A proposal to have the federal government compare schools by how much they increase tuition has administrators and higher-education groups objecting. Such a ranking, proposed as part of legislation to renew higher-education programs, would require public and private colleges to report their tuition and fees annually to the U.S. Department of Education. The federal agency then would assign each school a ''college affordability index" based on the rate of increase, and make the information public. If tuition rose at more than double the rate of inflation over a three-year period, schools would have to submit detailed reports justifying the increases, and could face the risk of a government audit. (The Boston Globe, 8/17/05)

•Only about half of this year's high school graduates have the reading skills they need to succeed in college, and even fewer are prepared for college-level science and math courses, according to a yearly report from ACT. The report, based on scores of the 2005 high school graduates who took the exam, also found that fewer than one in four met the college-readiness benchmarks in all four subjects tested: reading comprehension, English, math and science. (The New York Times, 8/17/05)

•Signs displaying Kaplan University's name and its flaming-torch logo adorn the top of its four-story building in Fort Lauderdale, but you won't find any classrooms, chalkboards, professors or backpack-toting students here. Save for its only campus in Davenport, Iowa, all of Kaplan University's classes are taught over the Internet. With 21,000 students —up from 264 in 2001, Kaplan has become one of the nation's larger online institutions in less than five years. (The Miami Herald, 8/16/05)

•A team of researchers will receive $1 million in funding annually from Harvard over the next few years to study the origins of life. The project begins with an admission that some mysteries about life's origins cannot be explained. (CNN.com/Associated Press, 8/16/05)

•The creation of gender-segregated classes at Virginia Tech for visiting faculty from Saudi Arabia is drawing complaints from professors, who say a state-supported school shouldn't promote discrimination. King Abdulaziz University paid Virginia Tech $246,000 to design and operate the faculty development program this summer. The courses include topics such as Web site development and online instruction, but in keeping with the preferences of the Saudi university, the university created separate classes for the approximately 30 male and 30 female faculty members. (USA Today, 8/12/05)

•Hackers and administrative errors have compromised personal information of more than 38,000 present, former and prospective University of North Texas students. A student who typed his wife's name and Social Security number into a search engine on the Web two weeks ago stumbled upon a file containing 4,571 Web-based financial aid inquiry records from the university, a school spokesman said. The discovery led to the revelation that hackers had breached the university's server. (Star-Telegram, 8/11/05)

•Hackers broke into Sonoma State University's computer system, where they had access to the names and Social Security numbers of 61,709 people who either attended, applied, graduated or worked at the school from 1995-2002. (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/9/05)

•The decline in full-time business school applicants is a three-year trend, as students opt for part-time, executive and non-U.S. programs. (BusinessWeek Online, 8/9/05)