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Today in academia: defaulting on loans, meeting a dictator, bracing for rankings rejection, and one shocking question.

  • More students are defaulting on their loans. In more not-good news for for-profit colleges, the Department of Education finds that  grads of for-profit schools have higher loan default rates (15 percent) than those at public schools (7.2 percent), trade schools, and private schools (4.6 percent). Reuters reports that a group of for-profits has already pushed back against the numbers. "We believe that the default rates will go down when the economy improves and the unemployment rate drops," the group said in a statement that is hard to dispute. [Reuters]
  • Columbia students might get to hang out with the Iranian dictator for a bit.  Over the weekend, The Columbia Spectator noted the possibility when it reported that the school's International Relations Council and Association would have a private dinner with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on September 21st. As Ivygate noted, this could be like throwing fuel on a fire: everyone "went a little bit ballistic last time the guy was in town." [Columbia Spectator, Ivygate]
  • Duke Chronicle asks shocking question: "Was the library more crowded Saturday than Football Gameday?" the school's newspaper tweets, noting their article that found a lackluster response to the second Football Gameday. The article, however, notes: "Executive members of the four fraternities declined to comment." [The Duke Chronicle]
  • Colleges brace for rejection letters. On September 13th, the newsweekly that became the authoritative college guide--U.S. News and World Report--will release rankings for some "best" colleges. Blogging at the U.S. News website, author Peter Van Buskirk writes to students but just as easily could've been talking to the colleges themselves when he consoles: "Don't obsess on a ranking." [U.S. News and World Report]
  • University of Wisconsin at Madison will fine students for alcohol violations. To show that it's serious about alcohol citations (and maybe get revenue) the school will institute a new fine and classes system for underaged drinking. The school expects 800 to 1,000 students will be enrolled. [The Wisconsin State Journal via InsideHigherEd]

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