An ongoing struggle between the University of California school system and Elsevier — the world's largest publisher of academic journals — escalated when Elsevier cut off UC's access to articles published after January 1, 2019. After their contract expired last year, UC demanded that future contracts require Elsevier to release published articles produced on UC campuses to the general public for free.

A more detailed breakdown of the conflict between UC and Elsevier comes from MacKenzie Smith, the head librarian and vice provost for digital scholarship at UC-Davis. She explores the history of academic publishing and how the internet's open-access philosophy is changing the status quo.

On the subject of public information, the University of Washington announced plans to use a $5 million investment from the Knight Foundation to start the UW Center for an Informed Public. The center's stated goal is to study "fake news" and promote democracy through informed discourse.


Student Finances

Alaska Defunds Scholarships for Thousands of University Students Ahead of Fall Semester

After a 41% cut to state funding for the University of Alaska (UA), the state has also ceased funding the Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS). The scholarship was founded in 2012 to encourage high-performing Alaskan students to attend school locally. Scholarships ranged from $2,378-$4,755 per year, and about 2,500 students are enrolled in the program. UA also declared financial exigency in light of the budget cut, meaning they may begin cutting programs and laying off tenured faculty.


Why Doctors Are Drowning in Medical School Debt

In an article for Scientific American, Dr. Daniel Barron explored the reasons behind the hefty price tag for medical school in the United States — and the hefty medical school debts. He interviewed Robert Grossman, dean and CEO of New York University Langone Health, who built a $650 million endowment to replace medical student tuition at NYU.


How Young Troops Could Be Getting Hosed on Their Military Education Benefits

The Montgomery GI Bill®️, which pays for college for troops and veterans to pursue higher education, has been outpaced by the newer Post-9/11 GI Bill®️ program. Now, some lawmakers are advocating for an overhaul of the dual system. Fewer than 6% of all military members eligible for both programs choose the Montgomery GI Bill®️, though many still pay into it.


Applying for College Can Be Expensive. Here’s How to Save

In a piece for CNBC, Annie Nova explored the rising costs of college applications and the burden it places on low-income families. The average college application fee is $50, and some schools charge as much as $90. Nova offers some advice on keeping costs down when applying to universities.


Will a Summer Job Burn Your Financial Aid for College?

You might be surprised to learn that income from a summer gig could affect your FAFSA status. Ryan Lane of NerdWallet, writing for the Star Tribune, detailed what to watch out for if you're a low-income student pursuing a summer job. To learn more about how to make the most of your summer break, check out Melissa Venable's Best Colleges blog post.

Legal News

A (Rare) Bipartisan Bill Takes On Student Debt

Amid the student loan debt controversy, Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have co-sponsored the income share agreement (ISA) Student Protection Act, designed to protect students taking out loans for college. ISAs have gained popularity as a potential solution to the student loan crisis, but the lack of regulation is a major concern for detractors.


For-Profit College Students Are Waiting 958 Days for Loan Relief

The Project on Predatory Student Lending has filed suit on behalf of seven student loan borrowers seeking debt relief under the Obama-era Borrower Defense to Repayment rule, which allows defrauded students to request federal student loan forgiveness. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos froze the rule in 2017, but a federal judge overruled the freeze last October. However, no new claims have since been processed. For more, check out Reece Johnson's exploration of student loan forgiveness and free college plans.


The Financial Calamity That Is the Teaching Profession

The American Federation of Teachers — one of the largest teacher's unions in the United States — has also filed suit against the Department of Education for its mismanagement of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The program promises debt forgiveness to public service workers, like teachers, but misinformation from the student loan services that manage the program have left students ineligible.


Emails Show DeVos Aides Pulled Strings for Failing For-Profit Colleges

Representative Robert C. Scott (D-Va.), chairman of the House Education Committee, revealed in a letter to Secretary DeVos that the House had uncovered emails demonstrating that Diane Auer Jones, the Department of Education's head of higher education policy, pulled strings to protect for-profit schools run by the Dream Center and may have lied to Congress. Dream Center is named in a lawsuit filed by the National Student Legal Defense Network alleging that the center issued "false and misleading" accreditation statements to defraud students.

In Other News

U.S. Universities Offering Cannabis-Focused Graduate Programs and Master's Degrees

With the increasing legality of cannabis products and a billion-dollar industry springing up around them, U.S. universities are beginning to follow suit. For example, students at UC-Davis can take "physiology of cannabis" and University of Denver business majors can now take "business of marijuana."


Inside Liberty University's 'Culture of Fear'

In an op-ed for the Washington Post, the former EIC of Liberty University's student newspaper Will E. Young details his experiences with pro-Trump censorship at the school under the stewardship of the Liberty's President, Jerry Falwell, Jr.


Executive Compensation at Public and Private Colleges

The Chronicle of Higher Education has released its latest report on the salaries of chief executives at private and public universities in the United States. The University of Texas' William H. McRaven tops the list for public colleges with $2.6 million, and Baylor University's Kenneth W. Starr heads the private list at $4.9 million.


Hackers Demand $2 Million From Monroe

Monroe College, a for-profit school in NYC, fell victim to a cyberattack on July 11th that crashed the college's online learning platforms and email servers. The hackers demanded $2 million in Bitcoin in order to get the servers back online. This is the latest in a series of cyberattacks on universities: Grinnell, Oberlin, and Hamilton Colleges all endured attacks on their admissions systems earlier this year.