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Congress Higher Ed News Top Story

Student loan repayment pause extended by White House amid legal battles over relief plan

WASHINGTON — The Department of Education announced on Tuesday it is extending the pandemic-era pause on federal student loan repayments until June 30 while legal challenges to the administration’s student debt relief program are fought over in the courts. The agency said if the student debt relief program has not been put in place by June 30, and if litigation is still tied up in the courts, student loan payments will begin 60 days after that.

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Chancellors discuss challenges of their roles as UNC Board of Governors eyes searches

As the UNC System’s Board of Governors mulls further changes to its chancellor search process, the board heard this week from some of the longest serving chancellors in the 17 campus system. During a day of committee meetings at East Carolina University, board members hosted a panel discussion with N.C. A&T University Chancellor Harold Martin, N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson, Appalachian State Chancellor Sheri Everts and UNC Pembroke Chancellor Robin Cummings.

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Higher Ed Top Story

Gov. Cooper’s new commission will study how the UNC System is governed, but change is unlikely

After years of conflict and controversy within the UNC System, a bipartisan commission will study its governance, but without the power to implement changes, it’s unclear what impact the commission’s work will have. On Tuesday Gov. Roy Cooper announced the Governor’s Commission on the Governance of Public Universities in North Carolina, created by executive order. It will be headed by former UNC System presidents Tom Ross and Margaret Spellings, a prominent Democrat and Republican, respectively.

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Monday numbers: Alarming levels of lead in drinking water at UNC-Chapel Hill

Last month, UNC-Chapel Hill detected lead in the water coming from the drinking fountains in the campus’ Wilson Library. After removing the fountains and expanding testing, this month the university has documented lead in fountains and sinks from a half-dozen campus buildings.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the success of one of NC’s HBCUs

Despite being historically underfunded and cheated out of proper allocations as land grant universities, North Carolina’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have announced record-breaking enrollment, donations, expanding programs and campuses in the last two years. Elizabeth City State University - the smallest of the UNC System’s HBCUs -  - has seen a recent series of big announcements as it continues to recover from an enrollment slump, grow its programs and offerings and attract new students from North Carolina and beyond.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

UNC-Chapel Hill faculty members pass resolution as tensions continue over free speech

Faculty members at UNC Chapel Hill have often spoken their minds – but in some cases, they have done so at their own peril. Political appointees on the UNC Board of Governors have targeted academic centers whose work they oppose. They have allegedly meddled in faculty hiring decisions for political reasons.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

Panel to examine free speech, self-censorship at UNC

Like many colleges and university systems across the country, UNC has long been embroiled in a debate about free speech on campuses. In a politically volatile era in which extremist views have gone mainstream, the extent of free speech disagreements at UNC campuses is unclear, as are potential solutions. On Sept 13, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Program for Public Discourse will hold the university’s first student-centered discussion on the issue. ”Can We Talk? Student Thoughts on Free Expression at UNC,” was sparked by a series of surveys about free speech — surveys that themselves have become controversial.

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Congress Higher Ed News Top Story

Biden to wipe out $10,000 in student loan debt for many borrowers

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he will cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for Pell Grant borrowers ...
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Weathering political controversies, UNC System president reaps incentive bonus

The UNC Board of Governors approved a bonus of $451,200 for UNC System President Peter Hans Wednesday, which board members said reflects the “exceptional job” Hans continues to do for the UNC System. The one-time payment to Hans’s Senior Administrative Officer Retirement Account is in line with an incentive scheme under which he was hired in June of 2020.

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UNC Board of Governors undermined in UNC System move to Raleigh, conservative members say

After six years on the UNC Board of Governors, Leo Daughtry is being moved to the North Carolina State Board of Transportation. It wasn’t a move he requested, Daughtry told Policy Watch last week. But the change, part of a political appointments bill passed at the end of the legislative session, was probably inevitable after Daughtry said aloud something a number of board members privately say they also believe: the plan to move the UNC System offices to downtown Raleigh is expensive, ill-considered and motivated primarily by politics.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

Report on UNC System campus free speech provides insights into climate, student experiences

Some conservative students say they feel stifled, but generally not by faculty members When Policy Watch reported on conservative writer and podcaster Ben Shapiro’s visit to UNCG in April, it had all the hallmarks of the current debate over free speech on campuses. A highly partisan figure drawing huge crowds with divisive -- in this case, transphobic and homophobic -- language. Students protesting, holding a competing event and verbally sparring with the speaker.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW special report: Low pay, high cost of living are sending UNC System grad students to food pantries

Folasewa Olatunde didn’t want to go to the dentist. But sharp pain and inflammation in her mouth told her she should. The dentist told her she needed to have a molar removed and some cavities filled. The cost: more than $3,000.

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Education Higher Ed News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the impact of North Carolina’s community college system

While North Carolina's economy has fully returned to pre-pandemic employment levels, concerns remain over resignations and unfilled job openings. “Our significant success increasing jobs during the pandemic shows North Carolinians are resilient," Gov. Roy Cooper said last month. "We need to focus on training workers and educating children to continue to grow our workforce.”

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW exclusive: A conversation with former UNC journalism school dean Susan King

Despite the frustrations of her stormy final year in office, King remains optimistic about the future of the 'J School' and the profession it supports Last week Susan King was inducted into the NC Media & Journalism Hall of Fame, a career curtain call after completing a decade as dean of the UNC-Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

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Higher Ed Law and the Courts News Top Story

Upcoming U.S. Supreme Court cases could curb colleges’ use of affirmative action

Conservative SCOTUS majority likely jeopardizes race-conscious admissions policies at UNC and Harvard WASHINGTON — A U.S. Supreme Court dominated by conservative justices could fundamentally reshape the college admissions process later this year when it takes up two landmark cases challenging affirmative action in higher education. The court recently agreed to hear two cases that challenge race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, the nation's oldest private and public universities.

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Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Email trove reveals new details of UNC Board of Governors’ refusal to reappoint popular UNC Press Board chair

More than nine months after a UNC Board of Governors committee refused to reappoint a widely respected UNC Law professor to the University of North Carolina Press Board of Governors, the UNC System has released hundreds of pages of email communications Policy Watch requested in connection with the conflict.

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